3 Ways To Practice Mindfulness
How often do you rush out the door and into your day without even thinking about how you’d like things to go? Do you find yourself going through your life embracing anything that ends up coming your way? How often do you pace yourself, staying present in a given moment in your life? Do you give yourself opportunities to savor all the juices from a given experience or you’re constantly moving fast pace with the rest of the world? Practicing mindfulness can help you stay present and connect with the very things that matter to you.
I still remember the day I started journaling. It wasn’t even a premeditated decision. A boot camp I signed up for had just commenced and journaling was enlisted as a tool to get the most out of our journey throughout the boot camp. I remember how weird it felt journaling that first day was. It felt like I was revealing too much of myself but over time, the release I began to feel was immeasurable and I found myself embracing the concept of journaling effortlessly.
The interesting thing about journaling is how it influenced other aspects of my life. As I later got to learn, journaling is one effective way to practice mindfulness. I became very aware of not only my own emotions but also the otherwise insignificant things happening around me. In other words, I became present, aware of the things happening (both in me and in my environment) in a given moment.
Mindful or Autopilot?
Autopilot mode is a very easy state to get caught up in. It’s almost like living your life without even being aware of the things that are happening in and around it. And this fast pace world makes it even more difficult to drown out the noise and stay aware.
Practicing mindfulness helps you to stay in control of your responses to your environment, especially the people in it. This could be as simple as focusing on the warmth of the sunshine beating down on your shoulders as you are walking outside or even focusing on the food you are eating and all of its flavors and textures. It could also be in the form of recognizing how your body feels like when you are sitting in your chair, if you feel any discomforts, any pain, or if you simply feel comfortable in your chair.
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When we practice mindfulness, we give ourselves the power to be objective. Most of our thoughts are self-focused. Mindfulness is the non-judgmental awareness of whatever is happening around you. It helps you be a better listener and understand the relationships in your life, both personal and professional. When you’re not always thinking about yourself, you give yourself the opportunity to develop empathy and the chance to show that you truly care about others. An additional consequence of this is that it makes you feel good about yourself and it improves your confidence, too!
3 Ways To Practice Mindfulness
Spend some quiet mindful time every day
Having some quiet time every day is the most important way to practicing mindfulness. You could decide to take quiet walks in nature or simply staring at the trees and birds with a warm drink, or you could sit still, and drown out the noise, feeling the sensation of your breathing, or practicing some yoga.
Whichever time of the day you choose to observe your quiet mindful time (before, during, or after your day’s work), what matters is this activity helps you become calmer and strengthens your mind’s ability to be more aware and awake.
During your quiet mindful moment, it’s gonna be just you and your thoughts. You might want to incorporate journaling here so that you can conveniently document those rare unfiltered thoughts as they come.
Activate Your Mind and Muscles Through Workouts
You might have gotten so used to your workout routine that you can now go through them without actively thinking. This is, even more, an advantage to practicing mindfulness. Whatever the physical activity – riding a bike, lifting weights, dancing the tango, taking a swim – instead of simply working out to burn calories, you can harness these to practicing mindfulness.
You can activate your mind while working out such that, you begin to literally feel your blood pumping and the cells in your body invigorating. This then shifts your mind from feeling busy and distracted to feeling strong and capable.
Listen to Your Unpleasant Emotions
Most of the time, we get tempted to suppress depressing or unpleasant emotions because we want to only feel the wonder of the present moment. But really, this only produces a counter-effect. Because how do you see the wonder of the present moment if you feel down, upset or annoyed?
It would interest you to know that these depressing emotions are, ironically, part of the wonders of that moment that you ought to feel, not suppress. Trying to impose a different emotion on what you’re experiencing is like being in denial.
Be in the present moment and open up the emotion as best you can. Additionally, see yourself as separate from the emotion. The emotion rises and falls but you maintain a sense of stability and greater emotional balance.
Mindfulness is not about forcing yourself to feel better – it’s more about bringing a sense of curiosity to your feelings and thoughts and gaining information from them.
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