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10 Ways to incorporate mindfulness in your life

Mindfulness is a skill that can be learned by anyone; you don’t need to be a specific type of person to be good at it and nor do you need to hold certain beliefs for it to be effective for you. As one of my teachers told me, “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it.” Mindfulness in simple terms is the art of paying attention and noticing what is occurring around you. Being distracted or busy often undermines your ability to pay attention or notice.

 

Mindfulness is a process of centering your thoughts to bring peace, equanimity, and calmness to your mind. Practicing mindfulness is a lifelong endeavor that allows you to live life more in the present by quieting your thoughts and tuning in to the desires of your heart. I was first introduced to this practice by a colleague nearly 15 years ago and I have been exploring and experimenting with mindfulness ever since.

 

What I have found from my own practice is that mindfulness is a journey best embarked on with curiosity and without expectations. Knowing that no two mindfulness experiences will be the same also helps!

 

The mental health world has been incorporating mindfulness into their therapeutic work for some time with great results. To help clients slowly turn towards that which they fear, or to slow down experiences so that they can listen to their heart’s desires. As the life gets busier, and the interest in mindfulness grows, so too will the benefits of mindfulness grow. It is no longer an optional skill, rather a necessary one for anyone who wants to do their best.

 

Here are 10 ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life starting now:

 

1. Meditate when you wake up. Experiencing and savoring peace first thing in the morning will set the tone for your day and prepare you to be less emotional when things come at you unexpectedly. Create a space of 5 minutes or more in the morning when you can be quiet and observe your thoughts.

2. Drinking your first drink of the day mindfully. Truly savoring your drinking experience through all of your senses. It is a lovely relaxing practice to have a cup of tea while enjoying it through your senses. Noticing the different tastes and sensations as your drink it through its various temperatures.

3. Observe your mind. Experience your present moment by observing what is happening and noticing your mind and your body’s reactions to events. Rather than needing to change our thoughts right away, we first need to recognize what thoughts we are thinking.

4. Interrupt your negative and destructive thoughts. Once we have identified negative and destructive thoughts, it is possible to stop them right in their tracks. You can simply interrupt them building, that way you can cut off that thought and choose to replace it with a more positive and kinder idea.

5. Replace your thought with a beneficial thought. Ask yourself if the thought is true and if it is possible that another idea or situation could exist that is more positive and could or would lead to a better and brighter outcome. If you are having a thought about failure, you may ask yourself if it is even a possibility to succeed. If it is, you can change the thought to support the idea that there is a chance you will succeed, and you can recognize that there are various outcomes for the situation, which depend on your mindset and your behaviors.

6. Reframe your thought into one that invites curiosity. Create a few scenarios in which the event or situation will turn out well and even better than you could imagine. Do not get stuck envisioning a singular scenario. Instead, be curious and engage with life to be open to the possibilities that you haven’t even thought of yet.

7. Know you are in control. You can remind yourself that you are in control of your mind and your actions, and that you are not in control of the behavior of others. You can control your mind and you can control your reactions to life. As a result, you have a choice about what thoughts you entertain in your mind with and whether they get to stay.

8. Stop judging yourself. When we make a judgement about things, we are also deciding whether they are good or bad. This is necessary thinking to keep you safe in life, but often times this thinking is overused, and it can be detrimental. Especially if you make up your mind a certain way and not leave space for other alternatives to arise. You could discredit others’ ideas or suggestions because you want to be right which then prevents you from improving on both of your ideas.

9. Focus on your body. One way to become mindful is to access your breath. By breathing deeply, you can calm the body and bring it back to a state of ease. This is done by slow diaphragmatic breathing. Focus on the rising and falling of your belly, the air in your nostrils, and sensations in your body. As your breathing slows your ability to be present with your body will increase.

10. Notice your wandering mind. When breathing, notice when your mind wanders to thoughts of things you need to do or other responsibilities. This is not unusual when you start to focus. Your mind will always have information for you, particularly as you start out practicing mindfulness. When this happens calmly notice your thought and focus back on your breath. Over time you will find it easier to focus for longer and it will also get easier to go back to your breath.

 

Each of these practices will help build your mindfulness muscle. Individually these practices will lead you to a life with more mindfulness. However, the more practices you practice, the quicker your mindfulness muscle will develop. If you find that mindfulness is frustrating for you and you would like to experience peace of mind, book in a confidential call with me and we can explore together how you might start to slow down so that you can start exercising your mindfulness muscle. 

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