“Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
You cannot change the past and you cannot decide your future. These are the two principles I always apply when I have to remind myself to practice mindfulness. The present is what matters, what I am experiencing NOW. It can be a taste, smell, sight, feeling, physical sensation, or emotion. Once I start doing that without criticizing myself or being judgmental, then I am practicing mindfulness. I always tell myself that I will never have this moment again so I must enjoy it to the full.
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”- Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Here are 13 daily habits to help you practice mindfulness.
1. Start when you wake up
Start early. As soon as you are wake up, begin reflecting on the pleasure of waking, stretching your limbs and thinking about all the great things you are going to achieve today. Forget about checking email and turning on the TV news till later in the day. Who wants to ruin such an awesome start?Advertising
2. Enjoy the physical sensations
As you start your morning routine, savor the moments in the shower as the water cascades down and enjoy the drying sensation the towel gives you. Delight in the warmth of the familiar material on your skin as you get dressed. Admire yourself in the mirror.
3. Keep mindfulness in check
If you savor every moment of the day, nothing will get done and you will certainly not arrive in time for work! Apart from these practical considerations, the brain does better on short bursts of mindfulness, rather than longer sessions. This is the advice given by Marsha Lucas in her excellent book, Rewire Your Brain For Love
4. Go for a walk
“Solvitur ambulando – it is solved by walking.” – Latin proverb.
Once you get into contact with nature, you will be better able to experience the wonder of nature, reflect on the beauty of it and calm your mind. Even a five minute walk, preferably in a garden or park, can do the trick.
5. Get in the flow
Some people may experience difficulty in getting into the zone because of distracting thoughts, worries and regrets. How can you quieten your thoughts? The best way is to do your favorite creative activity such as writing, drawing, cooking or playing the piano. Once you get in the flow, your thoughts are calmer and you feel more relaxed.Advertising
6. Breathe deeply
A great habit to get into is to concentrate on your breathing. Get in touch with it. As your lungs fill, remind yourself of what is happening and then when you breathe out, focus on that too. All the mental chatter just stops and this is a great mindfulness technique we should practice often during the day.
7. Focus and stop multi tasking
Did you know that multi tasking takes up 50% more of your time? Switching between tasks and never finishing them interrupts the flow, and you spend ages getting back on track again. The other downside is that errors and distractions are likely to occur. A much better idea is to focus on a single task and switch off distractions such as iPhones and emails.
8. Switch off and connect
Have you noticed how nobody looks you in the eyes anymore? That is because they are all attached to their devices – connected to the world but not to people around them. Another mindfulness technique to adopt is to switch off devices and really talk to a person, smile at them, look into their eyes as you do so. Now that is really connecting. Children, couples, and colleagues feel more accepted and closer to each other.
“I realized several years ago that I had stopped looking in my children’s eyes. And it was shocking to me.”- Pat Christen, Hope Lab CEO and parent.
9. Accept the negative feelings too
Accept the moment you are in – that is the key element in mindfulness. This also includes those negative thoughts, feelings and moods we are experiencing. Recognizing negative emotions without resisting them or trying to control them is crucial. They do not define you nor your existence.Advertising
10. Enjoy food
Mindfulness is now regarded as a possible aid in helping to reduce obesity and overeating. The secret is to be aware of all the sensations as we eat. Think about how food is the gift of the universe brought to us by an incredible network of people and natural forces working together. We can enjoy the food and pay closer attention to the smells, textures, tastes and colors of what we are eating. Try imagining that this is the first time you have tasted it! This slows the whole process, we eat less and our digestion will thank us.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University are studying how mindfulness while eating may help to reduce obesity in children and adults.
11. Try raisin meditation
Here, you use all your senses to look at a raisin and start meditating on it. Watch the video below to get a better idea of how to actually do this. This also helps to make meditation more accessible to everyone.
12. Listen to music mindfully
Music transcends all borders and is a powerful means of connecting the human race. Listening can stir powerful emotions in us and can be a healing, positive force. Before listening, relax in a comfortable position and do some breathing exercises. Relish the sounds and rhythms, get inside the track and imagine yourself dancing or waltzing to the sound waves.Advertising
“Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the [Bach’s] B Minor Mass?” — Michael Torke, composer
13. Practice loving kindness
There is now some research that shows that simply directing well-wishes and kind thoughts towards ourselves and other people can be incredibly beneficial. Read the article here to see 18 scientific reasons why this is so valuable in providing relief from suffering and cultivating compassion.
Spend some time thinking what you wish for yourself and what you want for others close to you. Try doing this for about 30 seconds before you fall asleep every night. This is much more effective than worrying whether your sleep aid is going to work or not!
Featured photo credit: Be mindful/David Davies via flickr.com
Last Updated on January 18, 2019
7 Ways To Deal With Negative People
Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.
But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.
1. Limit the time you spend with them.
First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.
In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.
Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.
2. Speak up for yourself.
Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.
3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”
This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.
But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.
4. Don’t make their problems your problems.
Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.
This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.
Why else would they be sharing this with you?
5. Change the subject.
When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.
Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.
6. Talk about solutions, not problems.
Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.
I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.
You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”
Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.
7. Leave them behind.
Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.
If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.
That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.
You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.