Mind Your Own Life

Mind Your Own Life
We’re three weeks into the New Year and how would you say it’s going so far? Keeping those resolutions? Have you lost ten pounds? Joined a book club? Quit smoking? Are you taking the stairs more often? While those are all perfectly nice resolutions, they may never get you where it is you really hope to go in your life. But I know something that will get you there, something that, if you stick with it, can truly and completely alter the course of your very existence.

What does this mean exactly? It means paying attention to the life you have right now. Right in this moment and the one after that and the one after that. What does your life look like? Are you happy with it? If not, you can create a better one. Not through half-hearted resolutions but through intention and mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply being purposefully present with life’s experiences; from the very small to the very big. It also means being aware that your mind has bad habits. Most people “live” their lives every day with the same thoughts running through their mind over and over like a record that keeps skipping on a really bad chord. When you think the same negative, depressing, angry, bored, sick, self-defeating thoughts every day, you create a negative, depressing, angry, bored, sick, and self-defeating life. You may think you’re fixing a salad, but are you present in that moment? Are you purposefully present with the experience of making that salad? Are you noticing the colors and smells of the produce, how the knife sounds when it slices though a carrot, how your fingers feel when you rip the lettuce? Or are you thinking about how much you hate your job and wish you could quit but know you’re not smart enough to move up the ladder and so you’ll probably die miserable?
Once you start being more mindful of your life and in your life, you will feel calmer and have more clarity. You will be able to recognize those thoughts that are from your higher self, and those that have a knack for bringing you down. When you are in dialogue with your higher self, you can begin to proactively create the life you want.

Here are some simple ways you can practice being more mindful in the New Year:
Our Minds Wander so Focus Yours on What Matters Most to YOU.

Most of our lives are busy and chaotic and there are numerous distractions around every corner. Because of these distractions, our minds have a tendency to wander instead of staying focused. When this happens, it’s important to remind ourselves what really matters to us and set an intention to focus on that. For instance, if having true connections with friends is something you cherish, then the next time you are with a friend, create the intention that you want to be fully present during your time together. You’re human, so your mind is apt to wander even when in a conversation with a dear friend. Just gently bring it back to the present moment.

Don’t Judge Your Thoughts
Be kinder and gentler with your own thoughts. Think of them as your children. You observe your children, you guide them but you don’t judge them. If you have a negative thought like “I’m never going to pass my exams,” acknowledge the thought and understand that it’s just a thought and let it go. If we can respond to our own thoughts without judgment, we can stop the cycle of one negative thought leading to another and another and another until we become dark, miserable people.

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Stop and Smell Whatever Flower You’d Like
I can tell you from personal experience, mindfulness and hectic schedules don’t mix. We all need to slow the pace of our lives if we want to be more present for them. At every possible opportunity throughout your day, take time to slow down and be more present. Listen to the buzz of the overhead lights. Smell the coffee brewing down the hall. Look at your hands and really see them. Even the smallest mundane tasks like washing a Tupperware lid can have tremendous meaning when you are present in that moment.

Taste Your Food
When’s the last time you really tasted your food? I mean really tasted it and felt it in your mouth? Most of us just inhale our meals without really tasting or enjoying them. We eat in the car on the way from Point A to Point B, at our desks during our lunch break, and then in front of the TV at night. No good. The next time you eat, really eat it and be fully present in the experience. Notice the textures and the smells as well as the taste. This is an easy and satisfying way to practice mindfulness.

Get Out of Your Boring Routine
It’s hard to be fully engaged when “involved” in the same old activities we do every day. That’s why it’s important to get out there and try new things, meet new people, and have new experiences. Being fully present in the moment is much easier when those moments are filled with adventure, excitement and wonder.

What are some other ways you practice mindfulness in your daily life?

More FREE mindfulness techniques here

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