Mindfulness is the ability to be fully aware of what is going on around you and what you are doing in that current moment; to be fully present. We all have this ability, but aren’t intentionally putting being mindful at the forefront of our daily interactions.
Being more mindful can help us cope with the stress of everyday life. It can build better relationships with yourself and with others. When we focus on the present moment and don’t let our minds drift too far, we are then able to take control of our feelings and emotions. We are able to control our thoughts. We aren’t constantly worried. We aren’t overwhelmed and obsessing over something that has happened or something that could happen. We can reign in and slam the door when anxiety come knocking.
Again, we are all able to live with this sense of mindfulness, but I truly believe it takes practice and serious self-awareness to grasp the importance of it (internally and externally) and live accordingly. Everyone is busy and we are constantly running and running from one thing to the next. It’s hard to stop and actually think that we are in control of everything we do, our thoughts, and our actions; it is all on US and we need to take ownership. We all need to remember this and use it as a mantra saying to ourselves I AM IN CONTROL. Take a second to stop and take a deep breath and say to yourself you got this.
Now, let’s dip deeper into why this is so important. How often do you find yourself in a situation where you overreact? How often are you overwhelmed? How many times does someone cross you when you just know you are right? How many times do you catch yourself thinking about something completely irrelevant to the current moment you are in? How often do you find yourself interrupting someone mid-sentence? How often do you hurt someone’s feelings? How about stressing over something that probably would never happen? SEE WHAT I MEAN. This can all happen less often or maybe even stop completely if we become more aware of being mindful.
I’m not perfect and being mindful is definitely something I struggle with. I never really paid attention to this until I started surrounding myself with people who aren’t afraid to point out my flaws. I believe this is the key. First it is on you; you need to want to be a better person and want to be the best version of yourself. Next, it comes down to your tribe. You must surrounding yourself with people who will help you and guide you on the right path. I can’t speak to this enough. You must have people in your life that aren’t afraid to say when you need to shape up, BUT you must also be willing to take the criticism and make that change – not for them, but for yourself.
Here are some tips on being more mindful:
- Focus on the present. We too often are worrying about the next thing and it drives us mad. We constantly feel a need to have everything figured out because we fear the unknown. Life does not work this way. We need to “just be” in the moment we are in. We need to soak up the present and be happy with our current status of life! We need to enjoy the season that we are in! Why worry and stress when no one knows what tomorrow brings? Each day is a gift and we have to start treating it that way.
- Don’t be selfish. Being mindful carries beyond an internal desire. We must seek to be mindful to others and of others as well. We must strive to bring mindfulness into our everyday lives and interactions. We need to think before we act, pay attention to the feelings of others, and be a guiding light. We need to live a life we are proud of. This will breed happiness, comfort, and love beyond measure.
- Do one thing at a time. If you are at dinner with your friend then BE AT DINNER WITH YOUR FRIEND. Don’t be checking your phone or worrying about your weekend plans. Be all there. Be present in the current moment. You will enjoy it more, I promise you that.
- Listen to understand, don’t listen to respond. (I am the worst at this and I work on it daily) If someone is talking to you, then you need to be listening and not just hearing what they’re saying. Let them talk and don’t interrupt. We get so caught up in the moment and we blurt out something without hesitation and without realizing how rude it is. Be mindful of that person’s feelings and time!! They are talking and you are listening to understand what they are saying to you. This makes for better relationships and connections with people.
- Do a body scan and take a deep breath. If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed one thing I recommend is to just take a second to calm down. In yoga, I learned the power of doing a full body scan. This simply means you stop what you’re doing and you bring your attention to your body and how it is feeling. You do a quick scan from head to toe to bring awareness to your body and then you send breath to the areas of tension. This helps to tune in to your feelings, thoughts, and emotions at that current time.
- Have the right attitude. In order to fully embrace mindfulness, we must have the right attitude. It’s impossible to be anxious and grateful at the same time, so have an attitude for gratitude! Be thankful for the life you have and the gifts you have to offer. We can’t jump the gun and judge; we must respond and not react. We need to have an open mind and be able to accept what is in front of us. We have to realize our potential. We are far more capable than we think we are! Remember this quote when you feel like you are slipping in your attitude, “you did not come this far to only come this far.”
Since I have been focusing on being mindful, I have had such a different outlook on life. It really comes down to acting on awareness; which in turn leads to kindness, thoughtfulness, and selflessness. Take responsibility for your actions and be cautious of your thoughts. Respond, don’t react. You will be happier, healthier, and more positive in return and the people around you will thank you for that and probably like you a lot more 😉