Mindfulness is a state of wellbeing where you are totally immersed in the present moment. You are aware of your presence, your surroundings and your ability to respond without being reactive; a personal response-ability.
Mindfulness is not automatic, yet it is natural to humans. We seem to be lost in the fashion of ‘being busy’. This trend draws us away from our natural state of present-moment awareness. Instead of checking your phone in the queue at the grocery store, take a deep breath and notice where you are, what you see, hear, smell and feel.
Enhance your wellbeing with these 5 steps for achieving mindfulness.
1. Choose To Be Active
Reactive: Reactive is like autopilot mode. Without intention, we are more open to being in a reactive state of mind and body and our days are dictated by external factors. Reactors tend to care more about other people’s opinions and judgements; attracting chaos, drama and increased tension which leads to feeling, stressed, overwhelmed, misunderstood and isolated. This often translates to pain in the body. Most of us are in this automatic pilot mode, but the good news is, we can make a choice to change our setting.
Active: With an intention to be actively focused and present each day you will have clarity, less stress and be open to new opportunities. You will have increased energy and happiness, better health, and more clarity. This is mindfulness, an easy road to enjoying the journey of achieving aspirations.
2. Establish A Morning Routine
Each morning, wake up and focus on affirmations and feelings that create happiness, confidence and energy. Try to affirm something positive like “I am open to miracles of today” and “I am present and have clarity”. This positive, mindful presence spreads happiness to others. Remember, affirmations need to be written in the present tense. Only focus on what you actually want in the present moment.
If you’re not mindful of the thoughts you choose to act upon, you will be on automatic pilot. You will let the negative chatter run free and rule the roost. You know the self-sabotaging thoughts you affirm under your breath, like “Ah, I am so busy”, “what if this happens, what if that happens”, “I need to do this…I should be…, I could be, ah that’s so frustrating”. Don’t set your intentions and affirm negatives.
What we focus on persists. In this case, digressing from the present moment – being in one physical place, while mentally many others places. This drains energy levels and causes us to feel overwhelmed. Your choice is to choose present-moment mindful awareness and invest your energy in the now.
3. Observe Your Thoughts
Write the thoughts, feelings and sayings you would like to use that influence how you feel on a daily basis.
Start with a few minutes of reflection at the end of each day about what happened, how you felt and what you thought. After a while, read back through your patterns. Observe, reflect and write down in a journal how you are feeling, the thoughts and words you are using and how they are creating an autopilot reaction to life’s situations. Now go back to the list of thoughts you would like to use, and replace them with ones that you know will help you create a mindful, happy life.
An easy way to do this is to write phrases you used today, such as “that’s so frustrating”, “I need to do more”, “Come on, why is it taking so long?”
Then swap them with positive phrases: “Everything is working out, I am naturally solutions-focused”, “When I slow down I have more clarity. Spending time in nature recharges my energy”, “I enjoy what I do, I work smarter, more productively and I let go of the need to work harder.”
4. Say No To Fear
Fear is an illusion, yet when something good happens we often sabotage any feelings of excitement with, “oh gosh but what if…” Avoid this controlling fear by choosing to be present in the moment.
If you make a conscious effort to invest your thoughts in the present moment you will be more flexible and enjoy the ride. This attitude leads to meeting new people, seeing new opportunities.
Mindfulness a practice because you need to practice it. You may wish to be mindfully happy however most of your internal dialogue is being unkind, judgemental, or over-controlling. We have a choice. The choice is to select your thoughts to be mindful of what your thinking. What you think, you feel and what you feel you act or voice out.
Mindfully choose your thoughts. To use another A Little Box of Happy affirmation, “Pull out the weeds to find the roses.” The grass is greener where you water it. Make this your new habit.
5. Practice Mindful Modern-day Meditation
Numerous studies have proven the positive effects of meditation on mental wellbeing. If want to be mindful, meditate. Meditation puts you in a zone of non-reactive behaviour and present-moment awareness. It’s like charging your phone to make it work, except mediation charges your mind’s strength and energy for the day. Patience, positivity and willpower are all increased.
A simple, mindful, modern-day meditation:
- Sit upright with your feet flat on the ground, palms up and resting on your knees with your eyes closed.
- Press your feet gently on the ground and relax. Draw a deep, cleansing breath, letting your ribs expand, and slowly breath out. Relax every muscle in your body.
- Starting from your head, relax your brow, jaw and throat. Continue all the way down your body, even your toes. Next, visualise a bright white light washing over you like a waterfall, illuminating every cell in your body. Notice any areas of heaviness or murkiness. Sit with this knowledge and do not judge. Notice your breath and come back to it to keep focused on the present moment.
- Now visualise a small yet strong vacuum cleaner sucking away any unwanted feelings or sensations in your body. Put it on low, medium or high. Notice your body sensations. Listen to your heartbeat: is it beating quickly? Calmly ask it to slow down. Repeat. Notice your breath. Sit with your body and its sensations. Focus on just being. Nothing more, nothing less.
- When you’re nearly finished, send gratitude to your body, mind and spirit. Thank your family, friends, community and anything else that comes to mind.
- Open your eyes and allow a spontaneous feeling of complete happiness fill your mind, body and spirit.
Vicky Murphy is the Founder of Awaken Life Coaching