The combination of a new month along with the novelty of a beautiful spring season is exciting. Make the most out of this upcoming month by pledging to have a “Mindful May.”
- Mission Statement. Creating a personal mission statement is included in Habit 2 of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Author Stephen R. Covey says that writing a personal mission statement is one of the most important activities an individual can do to help them lead a meaningful life. Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Company, says her mission statement is, “to serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.”
- Dedicate time in the morning to be quiet. Largely successful CEO of The Energy Project, Tony Shwartz, says that meditating has freed him from migraines and helped him develop patience. He also advocates mindfulness as a way to improve work performance, “Maintaining a steady reservoir of energy- physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually- requires refueling it intermittently.”
- Meaningful gratitudes. Commit to writing down three things that you are thankful for each morning. Why? Intriguing new research reveals that feeling grateful physically changes your brain- not only in the present moment, but long-term. Neurologists took brain scans of 43 subjects who were suffering from anxiety or depression during the study and three months later. Half of the group was assigned a simple gratitude exercise- the other half (the control group) was not. “The participants who’d completed the gratitude task months earlier not only reported feeling more gratefulness two weeks after the task than members of the control group, but also, months later, showed more gratitude-related brain activity in the scanner. The researchers described these ‘profound’ and ‘long-lasting’ neural effects as ‘particularly noteworthy,” explains psychology writer Christian Jarrett.
- “Make it happen” Mantra. A mantra is a short sentence, or just one word, that has the power to change your mindset. An example of a mantra: “I am compassionate.” Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company, is a big proponent of meditation and mindfulness in the business world. Ford says that during difficult times at the company, he set an intention every morning to go through his day with compassion. Ford acknowledges that for him to lead with compassion, he first had to learn to develop compassion for himself through a loving-kindness meditation practice.
- Movement. It doesn’t have to be high intensity exercise, any movement is positive, just commit to doing it. Begin your morning by stretching, doing a couple yoga poses, or taking a walk outside. Morning physical activity will increase your mood and energy throughout the day.
- Mindful Eating. Choose to be mindful with nutrition this month. “Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention. Eating is a natural, healthy, and pleasurable activity for satisfying hunger. However, in our food-abundant, diet-obsessed culture, eating is often mindless, consuming, and guilt-inducing instead,” says Michelle May, M.D., author and founder of “Am I Hungry? Eat Mindfully, Live Vibrantly.” Examples of being more mindful while eating include putting your fork down in between bites, not watching TV, eating while sitting down, paying attention to flavors and noticing how different foods make you feel after eating.
- Muster a “Yes!” in May. Say “no” to the things that take away your energy so you have time to say “yes” to the things that give you energy. Be creative with your “yes!” It could be taking a pottery class, attending a music event, signing up for dance lessons, gathering a team for softball or sand volleyball league or inviting your friends to go for a walk or bike ride instead of getting drinks after work.