4 Mindfulness Tips: Navigating New Beginnings in Canada
This blog was written by YMCA Newcomer Information Centre Information and Referral Specialist, Alicia Rasul.
As a newcomer who has just arrived in a new country, the settlement process may be difficult at first as you are still trying to learn the Canadian culture, the environment and settling in. Oftentimes, this process can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, overwhelm and disconnect. Mindfulness provides an outlet for these feelings and allows you to feel and process these emotions without affecting your day-to-day living. The goal of mindfulness meditation is to bring you back to the present.
What is Mindfulness? Why is it important?
There is an easy and simple way to define mindfulness and that is “A way of being.” It is a tactic that is used to focus on the present and on what we are doing, thinking and feeling in the moment. Mindfulness is a state of being, and the reason it is important to incorporate into our daily lives is because it can improve our overall well-being and quality of life. It helps us learn how to process our emotions and start letting go.
Here are four tips to maintain mindfulness as we navigate our new beginnings in a new country.
Observe your thoughts
Many of us lead busy lives. We are busy thinking about yesterday and busy planning for tomorrow. When we focus on the past and future, we aren’t paying a lot of attention to the present—where we are right now. We tend to forget that our present will become our past and is also responsible for a better future. Mindfulness is simply an invitation to focus on what we are doing, thinking, and feeling in this moment.
Check-in with yourself
Start journaling and taking note of how you are feeling in the present moment. If you are feeling stressed or a sense of dissatisfaction, it’s important to figure out where these emotions are coming from. Try to understand what your emotions are telling you. During this time, you can think about what’s going on in your life and how you feel about it. Documenting these emotions and your journey can allow you to review your goals and see how you’re progressing towards them. Don’t worry if you haven’t started your journey yet. You don’t need to have all the answers. Relax and take some time to be with your thoughts. Once you get into the routine of doing this, you can find that it makes a big difference in your life.
Notice the things that are going right
As humans, it can become easy to focus on the negatives rather than the positives that are happening in our lives. If you find yourself stuck in a situation where your thoughts are filled with doubts and uncertainty, take a moment just to step back. Focus on what has gone right with the day, express gratitude, and you will slowly notice a shift in your perspective. Appreciate the present moments. Example: while you are out for a walk, focus your attention on the wind blowing against your skin, the colors and sounds that surround you and your breathing. This has the ability to bring you out of your thoughts and back to reality.
Feelings are part of life.
Understand that it is completely okay to feel emotions. Whether it is feelings of happiness, stress, anxiety, sadness, overwhelm or others. Moving to a new country is never easy. If you find you are having trouble adjusting to the country or settling here, it is recommended to seek out settlement workers or settlement services that can provide you with the right information on how to achieve your goals and settle here as seamlessly as possible.
The key takeaway from this post is that you are stronger than you think you are. All the tools for maintaining mindfulness are within you. Through self-reflection, journaling, gratitude and allowing yourself to feel these emotions, you are allowing clarity to enter your body and allow for ease to meet your worries. Practice these tips and give yourself patience, change doesn’t happen overnight but slowly after incorporating these tips into your daily life, you might find yourself more grateful and mindful of what is going on around you and within you.
Are you new to Canada and need resources on mental health support or settlement information? Click the button below to speak with the Information and Referral Specialist at the YMCA Newcomer Information Centre.
- Mindfulness – CMHA National
- Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing The Way You Think – Dennis Greenberger, PhD and Christine A. Padesky, PhD