I’m not much of a “resolution” person, but since I was able to meet my resolution for 2013, I decided to try to find some things I could do “better” in 2014. I came across an article in Forbes magazine that actually touched on some things that I may focus on myself in 2014 (even though I’m not technically referring to them as “resolutions”). Here they are:
Meditate for a healthier brain: It’s all over the news these days, and with good reason – meditation has the scientific backing to warrant its growing popularity. Studies have shown that meditation can help us not only feel more centered and relaxed, but it can also literally change the setup of our brains, from increasing grey matter density to shifting how the neurons themselves are connected.
This is something I should be able to do more without a great deal of effort. Meditation can be done practically anywhere at any time… Of course, having a fishing pole with a bobber on the end of it helps…
Get Physical: You might not want to hear it, but moving your body is one of the single best things you can do for yourself, both body and brain. Until recently, the adult brain was thought to be relatively unchangeable, but evidence over the last decade shows that it can actually sprout new neurons, particularly in an area called the hippocampus, which is the seat of learning and memory.
I’m already working on this one, and am filling up my calendar with short outings that require both mental and physical effort on my part. Walking is a great, low-impact, healthy way to get started on a more physical lifestyle. You don’t have to do the killer workouts at the gym or the 10-mile death march hikes. Just walk for an hour or so… Walking gives you a slow work out that also forces you to actually look at where you’re going and what’s around you (rather than whizzing by everything at a jog or on a bike)… and that makes it easier for you to focus on your mind-body interface and meditate more effortlessly.
Get A Practice: Making a routine out of something – just about anything, provided that it’s healthy – can be life-changing, and for some people, life-saving. Having a ritual to come back to is one of the ways to give yourself a sense of security in rough times. It almost doesn’t matter what the practice is – run, walk, practice yoga, write, pray, meditate, chant, have a cup of tea at 6 a.m. while gazing out the window – just so long as it’s a practice. We’re creatures of habit, and giving yourself a healthy one to fall back on (rather than a destructive one) is a key to giving the brain what it wants – structure.
Routine already hogs up a lot of my day, but it’s a mindless disconnected kind of routine. Being more “mindful” can also be good for your brain (and your mood), so maybe adding a “mindful” routine to my day will help to jog some of those neurons around. I’ve notice on my way to work, for example, that there’s a great view of the Sacramento River that stays the same yet changes with the seasons. Maybe my new routine will be to stop and take a photo of that every morning…instead of just driving by in my “got-to-get-to-work” mindlessness.
These all sound like they’ll work for me in 2014. But I’m still not calling any of these things a New Year’s “resolution”…