Start the 100 Mindful Days Journey
As the New Year gets underway, it's a perfect time to reflect on your past and plan for the future. The start of the year often brings New Year's resolutions and hopes that aspects of your life can improve. However, we all know that change doesn't happen without a renewed focus and effort to improve. Our 100 Mindful Days program is a powerful way to create balance and harmony in your life moving forward.
What Is 100 Mindful Days?
100 Mindful Days is a project that challenges us to be mindful every day for 100 days. Its goal is to inspire and encourage you to find moments of mindfulness in your everyday life. Along the way, you can feel the change, share your experience, and inspire others with your journey.
The key to a successful journey is mindfulness. Mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment in a particular way, intending to be compassionate, using judgment, and accepting the present moment for what it is.
The 100 Mindful Days project was created by Mindful Living Group's founder, Jessica Brazil, LCSW, RYT. Jessica sees healing and evolutionary journeys as many paths to better health. With a special connection to our native Hawaiian culture and a deep inspiration for every being it touches, directly or indirectly, it ultimately results in wellness and embodies the Aloha spirit.
She attributes her success to her disciplined mindfulness practice, 40-100 day challenges to change habits and beliefs, and taming fear with a bold mindset. Her mindfulness practice today includes surfing, yoga, music, breathing, journaling mushroom coffee mornings, spending time with her husband, immersing herself in nature, and spending comfort time with her beloved therapy dog.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness practice is becoming aware of the mind, body, and spirit. The word mindfulness is derived from the Pali term "Satl," an essential element of Buddhist practice popularized in the United States by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. The core concepts of mindfulness include becoming an observer of thoughts, feelings, and sensations rather than being consumed by them.
The benefits of mindfulness practice are scientifically proven to reduce stress, improve memory, reduce anxiety and depression, enhance emotion regulation, and increase empathy. Regular mindfulness practice ultimately develops the ability to live in awareness and witness one's stream of consciousness moment by moment.
Evidence suggests that employing mindfulness practices has multiple benefits. You can practice mindfulness to:
- Manage Stress
- Increase Self-Compassion
- Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships
- Boost Your Overall Well-Being
- Alleviate Physical and Psychological Symptoms
- Improve your Ability to Cope with Difficult Life Transitions
- Manage Illness and Chronic Pain
- Increase Your Joy for Life
Mindful Living Group's mission is to make mindfulness programs and services more accessible so people, families, and groups can experience their proven benefits. Each professional on the MLG team has developed a robust and compassionate mindfulness practice to help our clients achieve optimal well-being.
Starting 100 Mindful Days
The New Year is a wonderful time to begin your mindfulness journey. However, you can start your journey at any point throughout the year. Day 1 of 100 Mindful Days concentrates on presence. Living in the moment is the first step.
Day 1: Presence
Mindfulness means paying attention to the present moment in a certain way — in a compassionate, neutral manner, accepting the present moment for what it is or even for what it is. The essence of the mind is a tool. How much time do you spend looking back or looking ahead? The past is in the past; tomorrow may not be. Did you miss that moment? Practicing being in the moment is practice, and it can be incredibly nourishing.
Day 2: Motivation
Motivation is the focus of Day 2. Motivation and habits keep you going. Research shows it takes an average of 66 days to change a habit. Every day you walk the mindfulness path, you're one day closer to your goal of 100 mindfulness days and a whole new being.
Day 3: Gratitude
Day 3 centers on gratitude. At some point in our lives, when we need it most, we have all received help, support, or guidance from others. Sometimes these people change our lives through their extraordinary kindness, encouragement, a message of truth, or well-timed presence. Many of us don't realize how much influence they have until later in life. For others, it happens during a quiet moment of reflection. Realizing that a particular person is key to changing the direction of their life. Paying attention to others and expressing genuine gratitude are vital elements in appearing healthy and happy.
Sharing gratitude is a powerful and proven way to generate happiness. Grateful people often have:
- Higher Levels of Positive Emotions
- More Joy, Happiness, and Optimism
- Having More Generosity and Compassion
- Feeling Less Isolated and Lonely
- A Stronger Immune System
- Lower Blood Pressure
Day 4: Dream!
On Day 4 of 100 Mindful Days, dare to dream! Did you know our dreams are a subconscious bridge between unconscious and conscious awareness? When we dream, we drop into a relaxed state, and other layers of consciousness can emerge.
Take note of your dreams without trying to judge or interpret them and see what you discover. Journaling upon waking is a great start. Before you go to sleep, keep a pen and paper handy. When you wake up, write down the first feeling connected to your dream and any details you think are significant. You can even buy a dream journal to track your thoughts and chronicle what you discover.
Day 5: Eating Mindfully
The fifth day focuses on intelligent eating. Explore a gentler experience with food and notice how your body responds. With practice, it may even transform in shape and size.
Taste and enjoy your food! Meals can be enjoyed alone or with others, but try not to sit in front of a screen or behind the wheel. Discover a meditative meal or dinner with loved ones. Chew every bite carefully for a whole sensory experience and feel your digestive enzymes work their magic. Allow yourself to explore the flavors and textures of each bite, and you'll be amazed at the tiny details.
You can start small. Take a bite of your first meal today and see if you can discover a new sensory experience. Some of the benefits of mindful eating include:
- A Healthier Relationship with Food
- A More Flavorful Sensory Experience
- Improved Portion Control
- Better Digestion
Day 6: Planting the Seeds
On Day 6, you sow the seeds of a better you. Built on a foundation of mindfulness, we aim to grow and expand. Like germinating plants, we need nutrient-rich soil to germinate. For humans, this "soil" includes good food, good friends, and time for meditation. Putting aside distractions and commitments for even 30 minutes to meditate can bring a sense of clarity and renewed energy.
On this day, your goals are to:
- Make time for your practice each day.
- Eat foods that nourish you.
- Set goals and intentions.
- Spend time with others.
- Get well rested (naps are also good).
Day 7: Acceptance
Wrap up your first week of 100 Mindful Days with acceptance. Acceptance is the neutral act of receiving an experience. Acceptance is the neutral allowing of "what is" and "is not." It is an experience of accepting a situation rather than trying to change, manipulate or negotiate.
Sometimes the heart takes longer to accept what the mind already knows. When our minds are not dwelling on the past or projecting into the future, the present moment becomes more accessible. A gentle force of peace and quiet emerges when you stop battling existence. This creates a whole new experience of acceptance.
Practice observing the experience of total acceptance today. As the mind begins to filter, "that's good, that's not good," try to watch the conversation like a breeze. Pull your shoulder blades back to open your heart. Take a deep breath, and feel your thoughts dissipate as you exhale.
Continue Your Mindfulness Journey
The first week of 100 Mindful Days will open your eyes to a new lifestyle and renewed confidence in yourself. One of the best things you can do is share your journey with others to help inspire them to change their lives. Posting your successes online through social media is a terrific way to motivate others!
Ready to change your life for the better? After the first week, you are well on your way. Our next blog post goes deeper into 100 Mindful Days and highlights more steps toward a healthier you. If you have any questions or want to schedule a one-on-one counseling session, contact us today!