It's quite possible that you have heard of mindfulness before, but what is it really I hear you ask. Mindfulness comes from Buddhist belief and basically means living in the moment, being aware of your thoughts at each moment and enjoying each day. Whilst mindfulness seems like a simple idea it is amazing how much it can change your life by simply being mindful of each thing you do every day. However, in such a rushed and busy society as ours it is often difficult for people to truly appreciate the present, because they are always planning, looking into the future and constantly living for the future...
Not long ago I had a rather large epiphany, I wasn't living in the moment. Instead, I was always looking forward and had a motto of "I will be happy when..." This meant that I was never happy at the present moment, I would look forward to some milestone or goal and even when I reached that the elation was short-lived and then I would set my sights on the next goal in my life. I realised one day that I should enjoy each day, as each day only happens once and it will never come back. This was around the same time that I discovered positive affirmations, and so the combination of these two powerful states of mind made my life wonderful. We are often reminded to set goals and to have plans, to be organised and have direction in our life, but sometimes too much emphasis is put on the future and not enough is placed on living in the present. Of course without goals and plans your life may be aimless or pointless, but I don't believe that an aimless life is necessarily a bad one. By being mindful and enjoying each day you no longer have so much anxiety resting in the future, you can worry less and live more. Here are a few ways to be mindful each day:
- Meditate: meditation is one of the most powerful mindfulness tools, as it forces you to leave all your thoughts behind, focus solely on the present and let you mind become empty. Through meditating regularly you not only lower stress levels and increase the feeling of calm in your life, but you are being mindful of your actions for that period of time whilst meditating. And always remember, you are NEVER too busy to meditate. Just 5 or 10 minutes is hugely beneficial to anyone.
- Be thankful: being thankful and grateful for the things you do have is another way to be mindful. It allows you to focus on the good and the things you do have, rather than the bad or the things you don't have. Take note each day of your blessings and consciously give thanks for them.
- Spontaneity: every day try to be a little bit spontaneous, wander off the path or do something unusual.This way you're not living life like a mouse on a wheel, doing the same things every day which even for the most tolerant person can become boring. Take a risk and strike up a conversation with someone you don't know very well, take a new walking/running route, make yourself something new and exciting for lunch, or pack a picnic and just go for a drive with no place in mind (just don't get lost!).
- Positive affirmations: part of being mindful is being aware of the thoughts that enter your mind, so repeating positive affirmations is an amazing way to rid yourself of negative thoughts and boost your own positivity. You are the only person who has control of your thoughts, so choose to think the nice ones!
- Observation: mindfulness is noticing the little things that bring joy or a smile to your face. Take a moment to watch birds playing in a tree or the new buds of flowers in spring, notice the sunshine on a nice day or an old photo that you love. Taking a moment to appreciate the simple and small things in life is another way to increase your mindfulness.
How do you be mindful?
Keep happy :)