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A Step-By-Step Guide To Achieving Mindfulness

A Step-By-Step Guide To Achieving Mindfulness

Mindfulness is all about an appreciation for the present moment, examining who we are, and cultivating a sense of unity with ourselves and the world around us. Many try to adopt a mindful lifestyle in order to reduce stress and maintain a sense of self and peace amidst a busy and hectic schedule.

By introducing some practices and routines into your life, you can improve your awareness and get into the habit of understanding your own mind and how it influences your perceptions and actions. Here are a few of the practices that you should consider picking up.

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Practice Yoga

Yoga is a great practice for slowing down and turning inside yourself. This is why focusing on the breath is such an important element, as it brings our attention to what is happening in the moment, and away from all the other distractions in life. Try a new yoga pose every day to bring new energy and awareness to different parts of your body, while also focusing on the body as a whole. You can also use these techniques to help cope with uncomfortable sensations during challenging positions.

Practicing mindfulness on the mat will make it easier for this state of mind to start flowing into other activities. As a result, distractions and conflicts in life will become easier to overcome.

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Turn Chores Into Rituals

Daily tasks that we often think of as mundane can become dreaded chores or burdens. While cleaning the house or doing yard work, we try to escape those present moments by thinking of what we’d rather be doing or like to do later. Instead, these tasks should be treated more ritualistically.

When scrubbing, sweeping, or dusting, focus on the repetitive, rhythmic motion of your hands. Also, be attentive to the results of your actions and take joy in watching the dirt, dust, and debri lift due to your efforts. Happiness is always available in our lives, practice finding it in these conditions.

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Take In Life’s Details

Take time to recognize all the beauty or details in the present moment, and try to do this daily. If you go on a walk, don’t immediately plug in your earbuds and power walk down the street. Take notice of all the colors of leaves during fall, and how the sun hits them, or the new buds and blooms during spring. Feel the cool or warm air on your skin, and soak up all the sensations being offered to you in that moment. No matter what time of year, the moon and stars serve as great inspiration for thoughtful gazing and dwelling in your own present moment of space and time.

Try Walking Meditation

Don’t be intimidated by meditation by assuming that it’s only for monks and Buddhists with years of training in mental discipline. There exist many forms of meditation, and any amount of time will benefit you — especially if done daily.

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Try walking meditation by just focusing on your steps and the earth beneath you, letting go of all other thoughts and judgements. When interfering thoughts creep in, acknowledge them and let them go by bringing your attention back to your steps. When we have moments of anger, frustration, or impatience in life, we can return to a meditative state of mind by observing our emotions instead of feeding them.

Make An Altar

You can make an altar anywhere in your home to serve as reminder or source of inspiration to help you keep a present state of mind. You can use the top of a dresser, a shelf, or table to place candles, photos, statues, words of inspiration, or bells. Use your alter as a place to collect your thoughts and have a moment of contemplation at the beginning or end of each day.

When we’re out of touch with ourselves, we lose sight of our full potential. Our actions and thought process become mechanical, like knee-jerk reactions that we’ve been conditioned to. To release yourself from these patterns, keep practicing these mindful activities. Over time, mindfulness will become your natural way of being.

Featured photo credit: Yoga Master/Nathan Rupert via flic.kr

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Bethany Cleg

Photographer, Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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