It’s that time of year where the gyms are crowded AF and runners are out zipping along our palm tree-lined, oceanside promenades in masses. A lot of those New Year’s resolutions have a visibly physical health flair, huh? Perhaps less visible are those resolutions to strengthen our minds and poise ourselves for a mentally strong ’24.
Enter Case Kenny. You’ve likely seen his handwritten pump-up quotes on whiteboards floating around Instagram proclaiming the likes of “Sometimes ‘I deserve better’ is all the reason you need” or “Life gets better when you start seeing redirection as an upgrade.” Beyond the simple yet powerful nuggets that his over 800,000 fans eat up on the ‘Gram, the Miami Beach resident is also the host of the popular podcast New Mindset, Who Dis? He has authored a handful of mindfulness-centric books (including a new relationship-focused one set to drop in mid to late-2024) and recently headlined The Wellness Oasis event at the Standard Spa during Art Basel alongside other wellbeing luminaries like Dr. Deepak Chopra and Melissa Wood-Tepperberg.
Kenny recently sat down with Time Out Miami to share his top seven mindfulness practices to kick off the New Year. Here are his nuggets verbatim, so prepare to have your mind blown (in the best way possible).
1. Embrace mindfulness – it’s truly for everyone
January is a great month where we’re all pumped, but we need longevity of practice. Wrapping our heads around the fact that mindfulness truly is for everyone can help us get to that point. It’s the building block of all tips hereafter. Personally, I used to think mindfulness was for other people – it was for people who used words like ‘vibrations and chakras and energies’ and things like that.
While it’s for those people as well, mindfulness is so incredibly practical. It is a very simple thing to do. And if you need an incentive around mindfulness, it helps your inner life and connects who you are on the inside with the outside. There’s a lot of science, too, and research has shown that mindfulness helps reduce blood pressure, reduces risk factors for heart disease, aids in brain health and more. It’s for everyone and it has mind, body and soul benefits.
2. Pick up journaling as a habit
Journaling allows us to reflect on our experiences. That’s so big because we don’t learn or grow in life because we go through things – we learn and we grow because we reflect on those things. Journaling is the simplest way to reflect on life experiences in a low-pressure environment.
With journaling, there’s no need to write poetry. There’s no need to have to bite your tongue or say certain things. There’s no one listening. There’s no judgment. It’s just you connecting your mind and your body on paper. It’s something you could do with 10 minutes a day and can get immense benefit from because you’re connecting your past and your present. That is how you grow… by reflecting.
3. Take back your power with stillness
I think stillness is power, particularly in a day and age where it’s so easy to allow your life to be defined by rushing. It’s easy to feel impatience, pressure and the need to conform. Taking a moment of literal stillness is a way to take back your power. For me, I actually have a habit, every day at 2:16 PM, a time that has become really special for me through the years. At that time, I take a moment just to slow down and breathe. It is a way for me to take a step back from expectations and pressure and to just show myself that I’m in control of the moment that I’m in and I’m grateful for it.
4. Listen to more music
Music helps you get in a vulnerable headspace. Music is literally vulnerability in artistic form. And vulnerability is a requirement to practice mindfulness. Vulnerability is a requirement to make the right decisions for yourself this year. So, for me, I love dance music – with the breaks, builds and drops, it allows me to be like, ‘oh man, I’m feeling something.’ And from that, I find myself being more honest with myself and I can journal to it, reflect to it and have a moment of stillness to it.
5. Consume and create mantras
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m a big fan of consuming and creating mantras. Get into those short, one- or two-sentence affirmations. These talk about taking your power back in a world that is always rushing and noisy, Mantras have the power to give you a sense of centeredness amidst stress or anxiousness.
They are out there waiting for you – whether it’s one of mine, someone else’s or you create your own. They can speak to your work and your confidence. Repeat them out loud, write them down, have them handy. They can have such a calming effect on your body and your mind. Moreso, they can help you challenge your human nature in moments where you’re very apt to jump to the worst conclusion. One that I wrote down that I’m really into lately that maybe people can borrow is ‘I prioritize how my life feels instead of how it looks.’
6. Don’t compare yourselves to others
Comparison truly is the thief of joy and I think we have an infinite supply of comparison with social media. It’s very easy to unfairly judge ourselves. So, the habit that I’m suggesting is to stop comparing yourself so much. Sure, it’s not possible to completely not compare yourself, but be cognizant of the habit and hold yourself accountable. Don’t mindlessly scroll. Use social media to stay connected, to be inspired by other people, and look to the examples that you see online as proof of what is possible instead of feeling guilty for what you might not have in a singular moment.
7. Be grateful for the non-toothaches
Forced gratitude is pretty performative and isn’t really beneficial, but genuine gratitude is where it’s at. How do you practice genuine gratitude? I come back to a quote from Tik Han, who is a well-known Vietnamese monk and peace activist. He has a phrase where he says that when we’re having a toothache, we know that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing. Yet when we don’t have a toothache, we’re still not happy.
Basically, he’s saying that in life when we’re amidst things, all we want to do is not have that bad thing or things happening. Whether it’s when we’re sick, in an on-again off-again toxic relationship, breakup or we’re having a bad week, all we want to do is not have that bad feeling. But, when we’re on the other side of that, we’re healed yet not always feeling grateful for it. He calls those moments the ‘non-toothaches.’ So, what are the non-toothaches in your life? I really encourage people to sit down and think about something that previously pulled them down. Weight, discomfort, illness, whatever it is. And, in the present, just celebrate the fact that you don’t have it.
That is genuine, right? Because you’re taking a former experience that you evolved through and, in the present, you’re not burdened by it. And you can truly say, ‘I am grateful to not be pulled down by that thing.’ So as an entry point into gratitude, I find an exercise like that to be really helpful.
Jesse Scott Contributor
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