Salutations of peace and tranquility for the New Year!

Here we are again at the dawn of a brand new year. If you’re like most, you have already begun laying the groundwork for self-improvement in all its various forms.

Maybe it’s a commitment to your physical health with a gym membership, or perhaps improving your mental health with stress reduction techniques. Whatever your game plan for 2020, know that it all begins with mindfulness.

So, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present and aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is happening in the world around us.

Mindfulness is more than just an exercise. It brings caring and awareness into all that we do. Both science and experience are in favor of its positive attributes for our health, happiness and relationships.

While the concept of mindfulness might sound like a relatively innate task for the human psyche, mindfulness for most of us does not come without practice and purpose. In this day and age, we are constantly bombarded by distraction – some imposed, most self-imposed – and more often than not, it seems downright impossible to stay engaged in just one thing.

Multitasking is a necessity for both work and home life and for so many has now even spilled over into personal downtime – that is, of course, if you’re lucky enough to have any of that!

With all this multitasking, it is easy to veer off task. Our mind scatters and defensively switches to autopilot, obsessing over things that just happened or imagined possibilities of the future. All of these anxious thoughts inevitably lead us further down the rabbit hole of mindlessness.

But, fear not, there is a solution. By taking small steps towards mindfulness you can take back control of your mind, your life and your destiny.

One of the easiest ways to be mindful is to center your attention on only your breathing and allow all other thoughts to be pushed away for the time being.

Another technique is mindful observation. Focus all of your senses on one object, such as a flower, and channel all of your energy into that one item.

Last but not least, and my favorite technique, is mindful appreciation. During your day, focus on a specific number of things that normally go unnoticed throughout your day (choose 1 to 3 things to start). By doing this you are mindful and grateful of things you would normally overlook.

There are infinite resources available to you on the subject of mindfulness and we have included just a few strategies to get you started. We hope this encourages you to delve deeper on your journey to mindfulness. You only have your mindlessness to lose.

Holly Wright of Bluffton is a Reiki Master, reflexologist, NASM certified personal fitness trainer, and co-owner of Trinity TheraSpa in Moss Creek Village.