You need to be more mindful, they say.
But what does that even mean? So many people throw out this ‘mindful’ term like it’s something you can do with the snap of your fingers, some voodoo spell and an abracadabra mantra. But achieving mindfulness certainly isn’t that easy. After all, if it was, we’d all be mindful without any extra effort.
However, the reality is that, naturally, the majority of people are stressed out, unhappy, unaware and unhealthy. Sure, you might have some good moments but chances are, after a long day at work, you just can’t wait to get away from people and lounge on your couch with your cat and Netflix.
But then there are those people who seem to always see the bright side on even the darkest of days; the people who can find the good in everything - every person; every situation; every traffic jam; every argument; every unpleasant thing in the world. Often times, these people aren’t even fazed by the negativity surrounding them. To them, it just doesn’t exist.
These are the folks that are onto something; the folks who truly hold the secrets to living a healthy, mindful, positive life.
What might surprise you though, is that these people likely weren’t born as mindful, easy-going and carefree as they are today. In fact, most people have to make a conscious effort to be mindful. Otherwise, you’ll simply get sucked into the black hole of daily stress, toxicity and negativity that surrounds the modern-day world because that’s what we, as humans, have accepted as normal. It’s normal to be stressed out, and miserable with your life, relationship and job. But is it?
Perhaps it’s just that the majority of people have become so accustomed to living without mindfulness or maybe it’s because we’re surrounded by a lack of mindfulness so much that living outside of the mind, body and spirit now seems normal.
Whatever the reason, no one deserves to continue living an unhappy and unhealthy life, or at the very least, a life that has the absence of mindfulness. And since mindfulness means the difference between getting caught up in all the nonsense of the world and not being fazed by it at all, it’s time to learn how to practice this secret to being self-aware, calm, happy and grateful in life.
The break of dawn is one of the best times to start your new mindful practice. Here are some ways to ensure you wake up on the right side of the bed each and every day.
Oh, the snooze button. It’s such a love-hate relationship, isn’t it? Well, once you start avoiding it, there’ll be nothing to hate about it and since hate doesn’t coincide with your new mindful aspirations, the snooze button has got to go.
Take a few moments to give your body, mind and spirit a good stretch to release any tension or negativity leftover from the previous day. Scrunch your face, make a weird sound and reach out through your fingers and toes.
Seriously though, you’ll wake up much better once you get into the habit of waking up once your alarm goes off.
Once you’re awake and all stretched out, slowly open your eyes and take a peek at your surroundings. Become aware of any smells that are in the air, any fabrics or textures you can touch, any colours you can see, and any sounds you can hear. Notice them. Accept them and be present in your surroundings.
While there’s never a bad time to meditate, doing so in the morning is a surefire way to start your day off with some mindfulness that will carry on throughout the day. So, pick your mala bead necklace for the day, lay down your bohemian tapestry and take a couple of minutes to sit in complete silence and breathe.
As the caffeine starts to wear off and the midday crash starts to creep in, here are some ways to add some mindfulness into your day that’ll keep any negativity and bad vibes at bay.
Yes, practicing mindfulness daily is as simple as being aware of your breath but it takes more than just breathing. Instead, you have to focus on every inhale and exhale, and envision positivity flowing in and negativity flowing out.
Just sit there. Well, unless your boss is standing at your desk. In that case, look productive!
All jokes aside, take a moment - or two - to become aware of your surroundings (just like you did in the morning). Acknowledge any feelings or sensations in your body, any scents you can smell, any textures you can touch, and any sounds you can hear. Then, focus, accept, release and come back to reality feeling rejuvenated.
In times of need, remember what you’re grateful for. Tired at work? Be grateful for having a job and being able to provide. Exhausted? Be grateful for a warm bed to sleep in at night. Stressed out? Be grateful you have mala beads to help you de-stress at the end of the night. Whatever it is, just remember to be grateful. There’s always some good to be found in everything.
After a long day of work, you’ll likely be deep into your Z’s by the time midnight strikes. However, these mindful tips can be used throughout the day and well into the late night.
After work, do something you enjoy for at least 15 minutes. It could be watching your favourite show (Who doesn’t love Ellen?), or it could be knitting or participating in a yoga class, reading a book, taking a bath – whatever you want. Just commit to giving yourself time for you.
End the day with some more meditation, but this time, take 15 instead of 5. It’s an excellent way to recollect yourself after a long day, while also letting go of the things you simply don’t want to carry on into tomorrow.
Get in the habit of shutting it down before you shut it down. Turn off the TV and put away the technology approximately an hour before bed, and read a book or meditate instead.
Daily mindfulness takes much more than some weird voodoo spell and abracadabra mantra. In fact, it takes daily practice that requires time, patience and acceptance… All three things that aren’t necessarily the easiest parts of life. However, with these tasks, you can start living more mindfully each and every day, and when you’re in need of an extra boost, wear some 108 mala beads to help you along your journey.