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7 Ways to Let Mindfulness Change Your View of the World

7 Ways to Let Mindfulness Change Your View of the World

As paradoxical as it sounds, mindfulness is a way to escape from your problems by addressing them. But contrary to what you might think, it doesn’t just happen in a quiet room. You can be mindful in any situation. Like a jedi, it helps to train yourself. Begin practicing in a meditative setting with no distractions. Then, take your practice into the world.

Immersive activities are a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. An immersive activity is one in which you concentrate on process. You’re putting one foot in front of the other. While you’re doing this, any type of thought might come knocking at your door, unbidden.

Don’t judge your thoughts. Thoughts, when they surface from the subconscious to the conscious mind, are equivalent to things that appear in the field of vision. This rock has its particular texture, its color, and its shape (even its taste!). That thought has its particular context, its substance, its subject, and its associations. A thought is not good or bad unless you judge it. If you judge a thought, hang on to it, and brood over it, that’s when it affects you negatively.

Try these activities and practice monitoring your breathing. Practice being mindful of your thoughts and setting.

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1. Write a poem.

writing

    Poetry facilitates mindfulness because it’s the act of recording your thoughts. In this case, the thoughts you write down can center on your surroundings — but they don’t have to. They can be thoughts about your thoughts. This act of poetry is an exercise of mindfulness, translated onto the page. Just as you don’t judge your thoughts, don’t judge what you’re writing. The more mindful you are of your body and surroundings, the more thoughts pop up. This is the wellspring of creativity.

    Having trouble getting started? There are poetry writing exercises that can help.

    2. Take a walking tour.

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    Venice_002

      Vacations can be full of frenzied efforts to do as much as possible. But on your next vacation, consider taking a walking tour. The slow pace will help you immerse yourself in the movements of your body and your surroundings. There are some excellent cities for a walking tour, such as Venice, which is primarily vehicle-free. Copenhagen, Seattle, Paris, and Florence are also well-suited for walking tours. New surroundings are excellent for mindfulness, because they don’t present old associations.

      3. Ride a horse.

      horseback

        There’s a reason why equine-assisted therapy helps people who suffer from PTSD, as well as drug and alcohol dependency. Interacting with a horse helps lower blood pressure and stress levels. It helps people cope with anxiety and anger. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) victims, in particular, can’t help but return to thoughts associated with trauma. Riding a horse helps them focus on the present. Take a horseback ride and pay attention to the feel of the animal, its muscular movement, and its breathing. Study the trail as it passes. Note your posture and how you hold the reins. This will improve your mindfulness.

        4. Adopt a dog.

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        Young_boy_petting_his_dog

          There’s been plenty of research on why pets make us happy. They make us more conscientious — more mindful — and more social. Specifically, petting a dog causes your brain to release the neurotransmitters dopamine and oxytocin, as well as the hormone prolactin. Dopamine and oxytocin are both associated with rewards and pleasure. In one study, adopting a dog helped bring down blood pressure levels in hypertensive New York City stockbrokers. The very act of petting a dog requires you to be mindful of the animal. Taking a dog for a walk will help you focus on the world as a dog sees it — and we all know dogs are some of the most mindful, aware animals in the world.

          5. Watch birds.

          birding

            Birdwatching (or “birding,” as some like to call it) is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the environment. You’ll concentrate directly on the plumage and movements, as well as the space where birds come and go — just like thoughts. In a way, birding is mindfulness incarnate. The Audubon Society has some tips on how to begin birding. It helps to consult a field guide to learn about the birds and where they live. Make sure you have binoculars. And most importantly, just go do it. I recommend simply immersing yourself in an area where you know there are plenty of birds.

            6. Take a hike.

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            hikingrocks

              This is the classic activity for mindfulness. Walking in the woods is great for your health. It promotes awareness of your surroundings and relieves stress. Like horseback riding, hiking is a form of therapy for PTSD. Take your time while hiking, observe the trees, undergrowth, and wildlife carefully. If your thoughts start to stray, let them. But let the woods bring your thoughts back to where you are.

              7. Plant a garden.

              16338-a-woman-enjoying-gardening-outdoors-pv

                If you’d like to know how to plant a vegetable garden, it’s key to find a good location that will get plenty of sun and has the right soil. Uproot weeds, and turn the soil about a foot deep. Make sure it’s fertilized. Plan where you want to put your plants. The point is this: all of these activities are helping you concentrate on the space. You’re focused on the process, and the practice of mindfulness encourages you to focus on that process. After all, if you focus on the results — the hypothetical future — you’re not there with the garden, growing with it.

                Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                More by this author

                Daniel Matthews, CPRP

                A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

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                Last Updated on January 17, 2019

                8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                Listen carefully:

                We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                1. Pray Daily

                You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                3. Smile Often

                Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                4. Organize Your Working Desk

                A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                How do you do that? This is my formula:

                First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                8. Go Exercise

                Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                The Bottom Line

                It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                More Resources About Mindfulness

                Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                Reference

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