There is an art to mindfulness. Now, that is not to say that is terribly complicated or that everyone can’t do it. It is actually the opposite – everyone can practice mindfulness, and apply it to their life in whatever way suits them best.
Collaborative post, written by Joe
You can bring mindfulness into your cooking, into your workouts (if you aren’t working out regularly you can find a gym here), and into your work too. But where do you start?
In general, mindfulness is the art of being present in the moment. So that you are authentic in the choices you are making and the life you are living at the moment.
There are two primary forms, one is being mindful as you go about your day, and the other is a formal mindfulness practice – where you pay attention to your breathing, body, thoughts, and everything around you. We are going to look at using a mixture of the two.
For a gentle start, think about your breathing right now. Are they long heavy breathes? Short ones? Are you filling your lungs up? Take a minute and take a deep breath in for 4, slow and steady, and breathing out for 8-10 seconds. Feel how the breath filled up your lungs? Basic and straightforward mindfulness practice.
As you walk around, you might have the odd thoughts ‘her hair isn’t nice’ or ‘why does this person walk so slow!’ Catch those thoughts, acknowledge them and then let them float away. Each time we correct our negative judgments, we begin to get out of the habit of it.
Negative thoughts about other people actually negatively impact us too. We are comparing ourselves to other people most of the day, even subconsciously. When we start to do that, we begin not to feel good enough. And so begins a negative downward spiral. The quickest and easiest way to address this is dealing with how we judge other people.
Listen and give yourself time to process more. Our impulse when someone is talking is to provide them with advice and fix what the problem is. However, it is more beneficial in most cases that until a person asks “what would you do?”, to just listen. This skill is called active listening – in terms of mindfulness, it means you are absorbing all of the information, the tone, the mood and allowing yourself time to let go of any immediate judgments and respond.
Pick a positive trigger word. If you drink a lot of coffee, or perhaps you know you will hear the word ‘please’ many times a day make that your positive trigger word. Every time you hear the word, take a deep breath and take in three colors that are around you right now. Then think about what you are currently smellin, the temperature in the room, or of your hands. Choose one word each week to be your word.
Taking care of your soul is a lot about taking care of your mind and body. Working out, eating well (and what makes you happy), and stopping to smell the flowers once in a while.