2016 is right around the corner.
The best part about the New Year is that it’s a time for fresh beginnings and hope. We hope for better work, more fulfilling relationships and happier times.
Yet we fail to realize that all these things are ours if only we get in touch with our true selves. But how often do we make being more connected to ourselves a goal to work on? Very rarely.
Here are five spiritual practices that will help you become more connected to your true self in 2016.
When you meditate, you get distraction free time with yourself. Time to reflect on what you want from life and find answers to the life questions you’re struggling with.
How to do it? Most of us have tried meditation at some point in our lives and failed. The key to not giving up this time is two-fold. First, start very small. Tiny, in fact. Meditate for a minute a day. Second, accept your imperfect meditation practice and be consistent. This means doing your daily 1 minute practice even if it falls on a Sunday or Christmas. Another important point to remember is not to make being busy an excuse for not meditating.
2. SMILE AND LAUGH
Smiling has a positive impact on your day.
When you smile, you send a signal to yourself that you are happy. Your brain takes the cue and you actually do become happy. Think of smiling as an automatic hack for happiness.
When talking to others, smiling helps you establish a better rapport with them. Your friends and family are pleased to talk to you if you begin with a smile. Smiling signals to the world (and yourself) that you are delighted with people, the situation, as well as life in general.
How to do it? Make a conscious decision to smile more. Smile whenever you catch yourself frowning. Smile when saying “hi” or “hello” – in face to face interactions as well as over the phone.
In this age of distraction, walking helps you connect with nature. Walking increases your creativity and helps you rejuvenate yourself. You can go for walks with your spouse and children. You can go for a quick brisk walk. Or you can discuss spirituality with your friends over a leisurely walk. The ideas are innumerable.
How to do it? Once a week get up a little earlier and go to the nearest park to walk for fifteen minutes. Make it a point to not use your phone during that time.
4. EXPRESS GRATITUDE
It is age old wisdom that we must be thankful for what we have. But it’s all too easy to forget that. Especially with our tendency to measure ourselves up against others and feel like we’re falling short.
Often it takes extraordinary circumstances and incidents in life to remind us that we indeed are blessed. Half the world is living on less than $2.50 a day. A quarter of the population can’t read. Many people do not have homes to live in.
Don’t wait for the reminder. Start now.
How to do it? Make gratitude a daily practice. Every evening speak aloud three things you are really grateful for. Brownie points if done with family.
When you realize that you are blessed, you realize that you have the power as well as the wonderful honor to give. You don’t necessarily have to give money, your time will also do.
Giving helps you be happier and more connected to the collective.
How to do it? Make giving a daily practice as well. Give to your friends, family and others. Teach children. Visit an orphanage. Do what feels right to you.
How are you going to connect to your true self this year?