Charree Rodriguez DCHS teacher, mental health advocate
Who doesn’t have a few of those infamous resolutions we try so hard to keep and give it our all? They can be so daunting and make you feel awful if you don’t obtain them all. Hopes of going to the gym every day, maybe writing that book you have been dreaming of for years, trying a healthier lifestyle, saving all the money you can, the list goes on and on. And then quickly they get pushed to the sidelines as life gets busy and we quickly forget about them.
However, it seems these lofty aspirations are quickly becoming a thing of the past. With a quick scroll of any social media platform, TikTok being my favorite, you will see so many people concentrating more on mindfulness and how to be present. More people are focusing on the ways they can be easy with themselves while still trying to reach their goals.
Mindfulness is a wonderful tool to have in the ever-growing toolbox that can get us not only through our toughest times but our everyday moments as well.
Mindfulness is simply defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique (Oxford Language Dictionary).
Being aware of the feeling and thoughts that are running through our bodies all day can be overwhelming and even scary at first but with practice and consistency using this process, it can be a saving grace some days. This is not something that has to take hours of your time throughout the day it can be done while shopping or in your car or at your desk, really wherever you are you can practice mindfulness.
Here are 3 easy ways to practice mindfulness every day that are great for all ages.
1) Breathing. Yes, we do this all day every day involuntarily. However, focusing on your breath can be something that brings us back to the present moment and can calm our thoughts. Even sitting for one minute and truly focusing on your breath can help. Once in a comfortable position begin to observe your breath on the inhalation and exhalation. If your mind starts to drift, acknowledge and pull it back to the breath. After a few times of doing this, it becomes incredibly easy and can immediately make a difference.
2) Body scanning. Sounds a little weird I know but go with me here. Body scanning is a simple meditation used to calm the mind and body.
This meditation involves slowly scanning the body from head to toe taking note of places that may feel achy or you may feel any tension in. Doing this can help with sleep, anxiety and stress relief, self-awareness, and may reduce pain. As you are moving through this simply acknowledge the area you are on during the scan and release the part as you breathe out. As with any meditation, this can help in the long run to keep you focused, increase your ability to cope with tough emotions, and increase positive emotions.
3) Walking meditation. This is just what it sounds like, focusing and meditating while walking can be done anywhere. A double bonus here because you are also getting outside, getting that fresh air and the sunlight, with sunscreen on, of course, all these combined are great. When I go for my walks, I find a soothing podcast or playlist that I can help keep me in tune as well, or maybe try leaving the sound off and just enjoy the sounds of nature and the environment.
For me, mindfulness has become something that I immediately go to when life gets especially tough, and I need to refocus my mind and energy. It has helped me through the loss of many loved ones and the days when I am just struggling to keep my head above water.
Mindfulness can help combat those ever-nagging voices of not being enough as well. So instead of a laundry list of resolutions that will more than likely fall by the wayside this year try implementing a little mindfulness in your everyday life and giving yourself some grace instead.
And remember, you are never alone, and you matter.
If you or someone you know is struggling don’t hesitate to reach out for help at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “Help” to 74174.
Charree Rodriguez is a Dodge City native and mother to 3 boys. She is a teacher at Dodge City High School and pursuing her Masters of Science in Education and dedicated mental health advocate.