Fall is a time for reflection. As the year comes to a close, take the time to do a personal inventory and create some new personal goals that you’d like to accomplish before the end of the year. Fall is the perfect time to form new, healthy habits that can take into a celebratory, stress-free holiday season. When creating goals for yourself, consider using mindfulness as a tool to focus your intentions and reconnect with yourself and the world around you.
Mindfulness is a mental state characterized by a clear and calm awareness of the present moment. One of the best ways to harness the power of mindfulness is through the practice of meditation. During our busy lives, it’s sometimes hard to carve out time in the day for a moment of solitude on a cushion. Fortunately, there are many other ways to actively participate in mindful behaviors, especially during this time of year.
Mindfulness During the Fall Season
Begin your fall mindfulness journey through self-reflection. Make a list of goals that you’d like to accomplish, thinking both short-term and long-term. These goals can pertain to your recovery journey but can also extend to putting effort into relationships, fostering career goals, acquiring a new skill, or learning about a passion project. Here’s a list of five suggestions to help get you started.
#1 Plan Mindful Interactions with Friends and/or Family
The fall season serves as a metaphor to let go of what may no longer serve you and reminds us to fully take in the things and people that add to your quality of life. Planning mindful interactions may be as simple as scheduling a coffee date with a friend or as extensive as attending Thanksgiving dinner.
Throughout fall, there are many opportunities to engage in activities that may not be around all year. Apple orchards are a festive place to pick pumpkins, enjoy apple cider and donuts, and engage in quality conversations with friends. If you consider yourself a homebody, consider inviting a friend to carve pumpkins or watch a scary movie. Mindful interactions do not have to consist of anything out of the ordinary; simply set your intention to stay present during the time you spend with loved ones. Pause about worrying what might happen later on or what went wrong in the past and stay in the here and now, connecting with those around you.
#2 Connect with Nature
Another excellent opportunity to practice mindfulness is in connecting with nature. Depending on your local ecosystem, leaves changing colors and falling from trees might be the first sign of this season’s arrival. Just taking a moment to watch these leaves fall can bring a sense of calm and peace. Bring awareness to the various colors you see and pick up a few leaves to examine them closely. You can use focused-attention meditation to bring full awareness to a leaf by analyzing its rigid border, shape, color, size, and even the veins that run within it. Breathe in the fall air, and soak in the warmth of the sun. Any connection with nature is mindful because you are focusing on the present moment, filled with Earth’s beauty.
#3 Try Mindful Eating
Fall is a wonderful time to make a new recipe or to enjoy traditional meals. Try mindful eating by slowly enjoying each bite as you take it. Breathe in the smell and feel the texture of the food as it touches your tongue. As you chew, notice the complexity of each flavor. Swallow fully and consider taking another breath before you take another bite. This act of mindful eating does not only help with potential overeating but also allows you to appreciate your meal in a whole new way. Although food is a necessity, it should be something we can mindfully enjoy as we refuel our bodies.
#4 Become Organized
Mindfully organizing your space can be refreshing and rewarding. Consider taking a moment to let go of the items that you no longer wear or use, and clear your space to allow for new, better things to arrive. This is a great chance to become organized before the holidays as well. Organizing does not have to be merely physical, as organizing your schedule can be just as beneficial. Consider getting a planner or calendar to help keep track of everything that is going on.
#5 Be Mindful In Your Recovery
Becoming more mindful in your recovery can make your journey feel fresh and engaging, refocusing your efforts and filling you with a sense of purpose in life. Pause to ask yourself “Why?” when unpleasant feelings or emotions arise and try your best to accept them without judgment. You are on the path to becoming your best self, and it is vital to keep that at the front of your mind. Dive into self-reflection and be present when you face challenges during your recovery. Choose mindfulness as a healthy coping skill to accept life on life’s terms.
As we move into the latter half of the year, take a moment to reflect on where you are in life. The fall season reminds us to tune in and focus on what’s happening in the present because, like the leaves on the trees, the present moment will soon change. Mindfulness encourages us to take responsibility for our relationship with ourselves and create connections with those around us. West Coast Recovery Centers uses mindfulness techniques to treat substance use disorders, as it fosters awareness, acceptance, and overall positive thinking. At West Coast, individuals are offered unique treatment experiences that aim to uncover and meet their personal needs. Mindfulness can be a vital facet of that experience and can help set you on the road to recovery. To find out more about how we incorporate mindfulness into our treatment experience or to hear more about the services we offer, please give us a call at (760) 492-6509.