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Published on June 25, 2020

7 Ways to Be Mindful Every Day

7 Ways to Be Mindful Every Day

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of mindfulness is “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” [1] In the health and wellness industry in particular, we see this term being used interchangeably with improving mental health, reducing risks of diseases, and even revitalizing our creativity. I like to think of this term as a “power word,” and we don’t have to go far in our social literature to see it.

But what really is mindfulness? And how to be mindful? You’ll find out more about mindfulness in this article.

What Is Mindfulness?

According to the well-known meditation app, Headspace, mindfulness can be thought of as present moment awareness in whatever we’re doing. It’s a practice of being aware of our thoughts and feelings as they come up, without judgement, criticism, or attachment.[2]

In fact, much research has been done on this topic, which sparked the creation of a questionnaire to test where people land in their mindfulness journey. If you’re interested in seeing where you land on the mindfulness scale, take the Mindful Attention Awareness Score (MAAS) here.

Now that we know what mindfulness is, let’s put it in practical terms to help us visualize it in everyday life. Take, for example, your commute to work. For many of us, traffic is an emotionally-laden experience (you can be honest, it’s OK). We may get angry when someone cuts us off, and then proceed to assume that this person is mean and generally rude. The reality is: we don’t know if that person is running late, just like us, or if they’re having a family emergency.

Our emotions and fired-up ego create narratives in our mind that then dictate our response. This not only leads to stress in that moment and for the rest of the day; it also creates habit patterns in our neurological wiring that encourage us to keep this behavior going, long-term.

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Instead of approaching our work commute from this attitude, we can incorporate mindfulness by: becoming aware of our seat, how our hands feel on the steering wheel, the temperature in the car, our breathing, the visuals around us, and the noises outside and inside of the car. These are just some examples, but the idea is to be present to the experience of driving.

When we notice emotions come up when someone cuts us off or when we’re sitting in a long traffic queue, we can approach these emotions with awareness, instead of acting on them impulsively.

The beautiful thing about practicing mindfulness is that we can do it any time, anywhere. Here is a list of some practical, easy ways to stay mindful during your day.

1. Meditation

Probably one of the best ways to practice mindfulness is through meditation. This practice is centered on being present and noticing what thoughts and feelings come up.

There are many ways in which to meditate, all with personal preference and goal in mind. Starting a beginner’s meditation practice is a powerful way to introduce yourself to the many tools that this lifestyle will open up for you.

Likewise, there are a number of resources from which to learn, such as the Headspace or Insight Timer apps on your phone. These apps feature teacher-guided recordings for you to enjoy whenever, wherever.

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2. Walks in Nature

Nature is everyone’s first teacher. Being outside and giving ourselves a break from work, family, and to-do lists is a beautiful and simple way to reset our entire system. Whether it’s a stroll in your favorite park or going for a long-day hike, being outside lends many ways in which to practice mindfulness.

In fact, there is an entire movement dedicated to this, called Forest Bathing. The idea is to open yourself up to the present moment and action of walking outside: feeling the earth beneath your feet, how firmly or softly you step on the ground, the smells and noises around you, and what thoughts, feelings, or memories this brings up for you.

Nature walks can be incredibly therapeutic. Staying in that present moment and letting go of the day gives room for creativity, clarity, and deep inner connection.

3. Journaling

There is nothing more present than sitting down with your thoughts and giving them an expressive outlet. Writing is another therapeutic tool at your disposal, in which you can find a rich mindfulness practice.

Journaling may look like keeping a diary, or it may be choosing to write down thoughts or experiences that feel particularly heavy or confusing. This practice very often leads to clarity and uncovering a new perspective on a situation you may have not considered.

Whether you write about something serious that happened or pen a letter to a dear friend or loved one, the practice will bring you back to present awareness. See if you can really settle into this space. It is rich.

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Learn about the 5 Powerful Ways Journal Writing Changes Your Life.

4. Playing with Your Pet

This is one way of being mindful and absolutely loving it! Cuddles with our pets are some of the most precious moments, and they are deeply rooted in present-moment awareness. Not only does it bring you out of mental overdrive, but it has also been found to alleviate depression, curb anxiety, and lower high blood pressure! [3] Here’s Why Keeping Pets Gives You Positive Energy.

Next time you have a few minutes, throw that ball with your dog or whip out the feather toys with your cat. Not only will they appreciate it, but you can notice the ways in which you sink into the present moment. Enjoy it!

5. Cooking a Meal

You can follow a recipe and become tuned into the ingredients, how long to cook, plating the food, and everything in-between. This practice creates a magical connection between you and the food that will nourish you.

But if you have a favorite dish that you love preparing and don’t need to follow a recipe, take this approach to learn something new. We often make familiar meals on a whim, and in a way that is automated.

See if you can take a different, mindful approach here and cook your meal slowly and deliberately. Can you smell each fruit or vegetable before you cut it? Can you tune into the noises of food sizzling as it’s being cooked, or even the noise of the utensils or knife on the chopping board? What emotions or thoughts come up as you prepare this meal? Let it be an experience for all the senses.

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6. Eating Mindfully

Just as the prior point above explains, mindfulness in the kitchen can be an experience for all the senses. Once you’re done cooking your meal (or if someone is cooking for you), another way to practice mindfulness is to be aware of how you eat.

So often, we chew our food quickly, or are distracted by external stimuli, like a TV or our phone. Try practicing being aware of your meal time: smelling the food, noticing the colors and textures, chewing slowly and fully to activate all the flavors, and pausing between each bite. This will not only help you savor the experience, but it will also help you decide when you’re actually full. It is a well-known dieting technique shown to have positive benefits.[4] Start to eat mindfully.

7. Active Co-Listening

This is a practice that is powerful in our personal and professional relationships and friendships. How many times can you recollect listening to a friend’s story and at the same time, planning on what you’re going to say in return?

All of us, at some point or another, have zoned out or pulled into our own mental chatter with someone in conversation. A co-listening practice is wonderful in helping us stay present to another person. It also teaches us to how to hold space for someone who is sharing, so that we become more empathetic.

Next time you’re having a conversation, tune into what the person is saying: follow their narrative, invest in their courage to want to share something, and notice their words and body language. These are small gestures that speak volumes!

All of us want to be heard and acknowledged. Your mindful practice of co-listening puts out into the Universe that you deserve the same in return; and you do!

Final Thoughts

A mindfulness practice is a simple commitment to staying present to whatever you’re doing. Whether you’re in traffic, at work, with loved ones, or alone, you can practice slowing down and becoming aware of what’s going on around you and within you. This will greatly benefit your mental, physical, and emotional health, as well as the relationships you nurture in your life and community.

More About Practicing Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Larm Rmah via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Aleksandra Slijepcevic

Accredited and Certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher writing for Health & Fitness

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

There will always be times in your life when you may need to learn how to reinvent yourself. This could come when you experience a big change, such as leaving your job, moving on from a relationship, transferring to a new home, or losing a loved one. If you are going through a major shift in your life, you may have to find new ways of thinking or doing things, or risk failing to reach your full potential.

“When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”

Many people who dared to leave their old unhappy lives enabled themselves to pursue their passions and find a renewed zest for living. You can also achieve the same if you take a leap of faith and make things happen for yourself.

To help you always be at your best wherever you may be in your life, here are some practical tips on how to reinvent yourself.

The Reinvention Checklist

Before embarking on a journey of self-reinvention, you need to make sure that you have everything that you need to make the trip bump-proof. These things include:

Resilience

Problems and obstacles are guaranteed to happen. Some of them will be difficult and may knock you off course; the important thing, however, is that you learn from these difficulties, never lose focus, and always get back up. This requires building resilience to get through the tough times.

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Support

Humans are social beings. Although it is important that you learn to rely on yourself when facing any challenge, it is also important to have a support team that you can lean on to give you a boost when things get too tough and to correct you when you’re making mistakes.

The key is to find the right balance between independence and dependence. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share the difficulties you’re facing. When you open up, you’ll find the people who are really going to be there for you.

Self-Care

During the process of learning how to reinvent yourself, you will have to pull yourself away from your old comfort zones, habits, roles, and self-perceptions. This can be difficult and cause you to question your self-worth, so it’s important to engage in self-care to maintain a positive outlook and keep your mind and body healthy as you face the challenges that await you. Self-care can include:

  • Participating in a hobby you enjoy
  • Spending time with your support system
  • Taking some time to walk in nature
  • Practicing loving-kindness meditation

Find what works for you and what helps you feel like your true self as you seek a reinvented version of you.

How to Reinvent Yourself

Once you’re sure that you’re equipped with all the tools in the self-reinvention checklist, you can begin your journey of learning how to reinvent yourself.

1. Discover Your Strengths

This step provides valuable information on how you deal with certain situations. If you have this information, you will be able to manage difficulties more efficiently.

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To find out what your strengths are, you can ask your friends and colleagues for feedback, engage in self-reflection, or try these 10 Ways to Find Your Own Personal Strengths.

2. Plan

This step calls for a thorough assessment of your current emotional, psychological, and financial status so that you can develop plans that are realistic and practical.

It’s okay to have ambitious dreams, but your plans have to be realistic. Making use of SMART goals can help you plan your life better.

You can also consult your mentor or life coach for practical tips and advice.

Ultimately, you’ll want to create specific long-term and short-term goals that you can create milestones for. By doing this, you’ll lay out a specific roadmap to your reinvented self.

3. Try Things Out

Sometimes, we don’t know if solutions actually work until we try them out. This is why it is important to experiment whenever possible, especially if you’re dealing with a career change. You may need to simply experiment in order to find the things you like. This can be the same with hobbies. If you’re not sure what you would like doing, accept invitations from friends to join them in their favorite sport or take a class, like pottery or photography.

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By seeing what’s out there in any area of your life, you’ll have a better chance of finding the things you enjoy and the goals you want to create.

4. Manage Your Finances Well

Changes may require a bit of money. If you’re shifting to a new career, you may have to pay for training. If you’re going through a tough divorce or having a hard time dealing with the death of a loved one, you may have to pay for therapy. If you’re moving to a new home, you’ll definitely have to pay a whole lot of expenses.

All of these things are possible, but it will require a bit of money savviness as you learn how to reinvent yourself. If you have that cushion, you’ll feel more comfortable straying from your current path to try new things.

5. Muster Your Courage

Fears and self-doubt may arise when you encounter difficulties and setbacks. Sometimes, they may also come when you’re taking risks. You have to manage these negative emotions well and not allow them to discourage you. Tap into your courage and try doing at least one new thing each week to develop it.

Learn how to deal with your self-doubts to move forward in this article: How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It)

6. Use Your Support Group

As stated above, you need to build a strong support group before you even start the process of reinventing yourself. Your group will keep you from taking wrong turns and encourage you when you get too weighed down by problems. Don’t be afraid to call them, or even ask them out for coffee if you need to vent about the current difficulties you’re facing.

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7. Remind Yourself Every Day of Your Commitment

Write your goals on different-sized cards and scatter them at home and at work in places where you can easily see them. This way, you will constantly be reminded of where you want to be. Remember, writing down your goals helps them stick[1].

8. Accept Failure, Learn, and Resume Your Journey

Failing is normal, especially when we’re trying out something new. When you fail, simply recognize it, learn from it, and move on. Failure, in the end, is the best way to learn what does and doesn’t work, and you simply won’t be able to learn how to reinvent yourself if you don’t accept the inevitable failures that await you.

Final Thoughts

If you truly want to learn how to reinvent yourself and live the life you desire, take the advice above and start taking action. It will take time, patience, and plenty of effort to make the change you want happen, but it will be all worth it.

More Tips on How to Reinvent Yourself

Featured photo credit: Ashley Rich via unsplash.com

Reference

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