5 Ways to Cultivate Mindfulness and Gratitude in the New Year

by HelloMD Staff

As the year comes to a close, it’s only natural to feel reflective. You may be satisfied with your experiences, or perhaps you may think you could have done things a little bit better. For this reason, New Year’s resolutions are popular around the globe as they offer the chance for a fresh start. 

Our yearly resolutions help us put a stake in the ground. You may make a list that includes some of the following:

  • Lose a few extra pounds
  • Commit to being more active
  • Call Mom every Saturday
  • Remember to look at the glass as half full
  • Hand in assignments on time

It’s only human to want a future that’s brighter than the past, yet when we spend too much time ruminating about what has been or what might come to be, we lose sight of what’s in front of us: the present.

Being in the moment, is an act of mindfulness. When you are present to what is happening now, it leads to a more profound sense of fulfillment and also makes you happier. According to Dr. Elyssa Barbash Ph.D., practicing mindfulness allows you to tune into your thoughts, emotions, and body sensations. In so doing, it allows you to work with these human factors and communicate how you are thinking and feeling to both yourself and others.” As a writer for Psychology Today, she also says to her patients that, “depression lives in the past while anxiety lives in the future.” 

Yet, it’s often hard to live in the present and not have fear for the future or regrets about the past. For this reason, the act of mindfulness is an intentional practice that needs consistent work. One way to cultivate mindfulness is through the attitude of gratitude. With gratitude, we take time to contemplate and express thankfulness for the people, things, and experiences that make life more meaningful. Being mindful while practicing gratitude creates a more positive mental outlook and a sense of fulfillment within your life.

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According to Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, people who practice gratitude regularly, “experience more joy, love, and enthusiasm, and they enjoy protection from destructive emotions like envy, greed, and bitterness.” Mindfulness and practicing gratitude are a shortcut to health and wellness for the body, mind, and soul.

Here are 5 ways to cultivate mindfulness and gratitude:

1. Meditate and repeat a mantra

 Take 5-10 minutes when you wake up to meditate. Meditation is known to reduce stress and anxiety but also helps to increase self-awareness and the ability to be more present. Repeating a mantra that reinforces positive thinking will help you stay focused and out of your head. Repeat the mantra “May all beings everywhere be happy and free” and breathe deeply in and out through your nose slowly.

2. Take a walk in nature

Similar to meditating, walking in nature helps to reduce depression and anxiety. It also improves overall immunity as well as memory. A 2013 British study found that merely walking in green spaces may put the brain into a state of meditation.

3. Look on the bright side: stop criticizing and complaining 

Having a positive outlook and positive-talk dialogue with yourself is a useful stress management tool, but can also be transformative. For people that tend to be pessimistic, this requires retraining your internal communication. Creating a positive perception of the world around you allows you to reframe even the most negative situation and may allow you to see the positive aspects, such as learning a new life lesson. A 2010 study indicated that people who view life with a half-glass-full perspective also tend to have a better quality of life.

4. Consume cannabis that invites reflection

Some people find consuming THC creates a sense of euphoria and deepens their ability for self-reflection. For others, it may create a container for deeper contemplation or an increased sense of focus. For many, cannabis can enhance self-introspection and may help lift feelings of depression or anxiety.

5. List all the people and things for which you are grateful

Creating a list is a straightforward act. Writing down the people and things you are grateful for, your list will be a reminder of the beautiful facets of your life that add value and meaning. Over time, your list will grow and it's like putting money in the bank. As time passes, you'll notice and appreciate the benefits of this practice.

If you're new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 post.