How To Be Mindful
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool that helps you cultivate peace in every moment and it is key to unlocking answers to your deepest inquiries.
How do I even know what I am talking about? I took up practicing Buddhism and I put in the work. I went through many life obstacles growing up and I have learned from them. Trial and error, hardship and success. Anyone can be mindful, and anyone can cultivate awareness if they follow some key steps.
BEING AWARE - We should practice being mindful at all times. If we only do it once in a while, we fall back into our same habits and we don’t really get a chance to make psychological change. Our brains are hard wired over time, and we will continue to our mental loop over and over again if we are not willing to make some changes. Every day, we should make sure that we are understanding how we feel, why we feel the way that we do, and what can we do to maintain mindfulness. We do this by keying into our senses. We pay attention to our body, our feeling and our thoughts.
INVESTIGATION - Sometimes we just jump into feelings. Someone looks at us the wrong way or says something hurtful to us and our immediate reaction is based on our feelings. We feel like we are being attacked so we defend ourselves. This is our limbic system at play, our bodies “fight or flight” response to defend. However, there is a different approach to responding to every day situations. Asking ourselves questions is very important. “Getting curious” as Brene Brown says, is about getting curious and diving into the real reason that we may feel a certain why. Why am I feeling so mad that this person cut me off? Well, the surface reason may be that it makes you mad that they went out of turn, but the real reason may be because you are scared of being hit by a car. Most reactions are fear based, and when you dive into why you feel a certain way, chances are you are scared of something.
CONCLUSION - Reasoning is a major talent that anyone can hold. Reasoning comes from asking questions, and if you can face your fears, you can do just about anything. We don’t really get answers if we don’t ask any questions, so we need to be willing to put in the work. I have learned a few effective strategies that can help you find answers and reasoning.
Mindfulness Pro Tips
MEDITATION - Meditation is a key factor to staying mindful. Our minds are constantly running, and this day in age, we are constantly checking our cell phones, looking for the next thing to do, the next problem to fix. Meditation is focusing your attention somewhere in particular, usually your body or sounds. Meditation is a great method for relaxation and is a great place to start being mindful. We slowly become mindful of our body, how we feel physically and mentally. I find that for me, meditation gives me lots of answers to questions that I am always trying to find through thinking. It gives me space to think and my thinking becomes clearer the more I meditate.
I practice every evening before bed for twenty to thirty minutes. I sit on my bed, I put my headphones in and I listen to some meditation music on Spotify(usually it is Tibetan singing bowls with some running water in the background, I will refer you to some great info at the end of this post).
Depending on how I am feeling, sometimes I need to be lead by a meditation teacher on a podcast, or sometimes I just like silence if I am already feeling pretty peaceful. There are many forms of meditation, however, and sometimes it can seem unreasonable to sit still for more than ten minutes.
Yoga - For the souls that want to dive deeper in to meditation, yoga is a wonderful approach. Stretching, holding poses and breathing deeply are great ways to meditate, and I find that when I am doing a more intense yoga sequence, my mind is in 100%.
Walking -Staying focused by being aware of every movement while you walk, hearings sounds around you, smelling scents, seeing colors.
Hiking - This is one of my favs and it goes along with walking, but can be more intense.
Eating - Yes, mindful eating!! Being aware of taste, chewing completely and taking your time eating can be meditative and also healthy for you! Sometimes we are in a rush, or we just love food so much that we shovel it in and before we know it, it’s gone. So sad. This is a good way to really appreciate what we have.
Hobbies - If you have been in my online shop, you know I love macrame. I am a sucker for fiber art and wire wrapping. Believe it or not, these things are meditative for me. If you have a craft or other hobby, this is a good way to be productive and meditative.
Anything that you love that puts your mind at ease - Anything you can think of that you like to do, you can make it meditative. Cooking, cleaning, you name it! Just be aware of it and make it a daily thing and before you know it, you will be on your way to feeling more at peace.
EXERCISE - Exercise releases endorphins which improves your mental health, which is a key ingredient to staying mindful. Mental health is important, and exercise doesn’t just improve us physically! When we are healthy, we are happy! Maintaining a daily routine for exercise is vital to unlocking our wellness.
What’s great about this is you can roll a lot of those ways to meditate into your exercise routine. I like to jog in the morning around the block and then do yoga right after. This is before I do anything else. I roll out of bed, get some clothes on, stretch and just do a quick jog. By the time I come home, my body is always wanting the yoga. I don’t even mentally bitch about it anymore, now it is just a normal thing that I do. It’s great!
BALANCE - Maintaining a balance between work, family, personal time… it can be really stressful. Finding a good balance between these things can be a good step towards staying mindful because it helps keep your mind at ease. We make up excuses to not do things, however, they are just excuses, and at the end of the day, the only person we have to blame is ourselves. Having some kind of routine can help balance your life out. I like to exercise in the morning, eat breakfast, work, do some stretching(I work from home so I need to get up and move around through out my day) and this usually sets me up for a good day. I am more motivated, positive, and I just feel great.
HEALTHY EATING - I am a water pusher and a health food pusher. I will say it to my friends/family and I will say it to you! Drinking lots of water, getting the electrolytes you need, taking vitamins when you need them and eating nutritional food is one of the most important things you can ever do for yourself. Eating appropriately is also important(having a decent breakfast, not over eating in the evening). Getting the right amount of protein, B vitamins, etc will make you feel good.
What You Need to Know
Relax and let go of what is holding you back - Life is short and who knows what happens when we die. I’m open to reincarnation, but on the off chance we don’t get that option, it’s best to appreciate what we have NOW. Enjoy today, because tomorrow is a completely new experience IF we are still here tomorrow. From my own experience, facing my fears has led me to things I would be living without if I had not faced them. I usually discover that it was just psychological thing.
Have fun and do the best you can - Enjoy your time on this planet and put your best foot forward. Be available for yourself and be available for others. Give a helping hand even when a hand isn’t necessarily needed. What you give, you get! If you don’t think you are doing the best you can, think about ways that you CAN do your best. Every day!
Stop thinking that things are supposed to be a certain way - Life is completely unpredictable, and this is an amazing realization! We can use this to our benefit. It takes the pressure off, and we see that we have endless opportunities. The universe is one giant mystery and it’s quite exciting!
You are a bad ass - We are human beings made of stars. I think that classifies as bad ass. It is within everyone, and it is existence. The world is wonderful and so are you. Some of us have just acquired the skills to unlock this bad assery. You can unlock yours too. Do your research, put in the work. If you want it, you can have it.
Be easy on yourself - We are always the toughest on OURSELVES. If we are being tough on others, internally we are being doubly tough on us. We all make mistakes and we all having valid feelings. If you’re struggling, work with yourself, not against.Instead of shutting yourself down, ask yourself why you feel the way you do and what can you do to make it better.
It Takes Time
Being “awake” doesn’t just happen overnight, and usually something has to happen for us to realize that we want something different. We live this life of chaos, something we were born into. We are conditioned to think a certain way and be a certain way, and that puts a lot of stress on us. We go through something traumatic, we have addictions, etc. We want to fix something or we feel that there is something that we are missing.
For me, being mindful has made me a more loving and compassionate person. I have had some very dark times in my life. I was in a terrible car accident which led to my neurological problems and all the pain that I have gone through. However, that experience in turn made me a better person because it led me to mindfulness. I appreciate the good AND the bad.
The Gift of Being Mindful
The reward of being mindful is more than most people can ever imagine. My belief from my own experience is this. The more time we make for ourselves, the more time we make for others. When we take care of ourselves, we are taking care of others. The world is simply a reflection of ourselves, so how do you want your life to be? These are some things that we cultivate over time from mindfulness.
Compassion - We look at the world and see it as ourselves. There is less “me” and more “us” attitude. We can be more available to people who need us, and we are less selfish.
Love - We open ourselves up to love and in turn, we love more.
Generosity - When we are willing to help ourselves, we in turn are more willing to help others.
Happiness - There is a sense of relief. A relaxation. We think less about stressful things and focus more on the good in our lives. Eventually, our life is filled with good things and the “bad” things are not such an obstacle.
When You’re in a Funk
MEDITATE - Meditate for at least ten minutes. Don’t push yourself, give yourself space and set judgement aside. Our feelings are valid.
EXERCISE - Go for a run or walk, get some fresh air. These are quick things that most people can do on any given day.
MUSIC - Listen to music that makes you happy or relaxed.
READ A BOOK - I like to read self help books. These help me get a foot in the door if I feel like I am struggling and they can be motivating.
PODCASTS - There are some really great podcasts out there for mindfulness and meditation. These can be helpful for learning new techniques and methods which can be a turning point for your mood.
TAKE NOTES - Sometimes I like to take notes when I am struggling. You can unload onto a piece of paper and take a step back and you would be surprised what you see.
DIVE INTO YOUR FEELINGS - This is a touchy one but it can also be very rewarding. When I say dive in, I mean examine and ask questions. Don’t dwell on the feelings, that could lead you in a direction that you don’t want to go.
Thank you for reading this post. Feel free to share or reference this when ever you need to! Share your techniques in the comments below!