Mindfulness is one of the greatest buzzwords our times. You’re probably hearing and reading it everywhere around you and it seems to be the solution for just about anything.
As a Coach and Psychotherapist I am working on this topic for many years with my clients and Leaders around the world. Before I go into the ways of how you can be more mindful in your life, just a couple of words on what mindfulness is and what the benefits are.
Mindfulness: a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Why practice mindfulness?
Over the years, many benefits of mindfulness have been scientifically proven. For example, being mindful improves your mood and enhances your creativity and it also helps to reduce stress and anxiety. It also makes you more focused as you train your brain to remove distractions and concentrate on one task.
But mindfulness also helps you to slow down and stop rushing, to stop dwelling on the past but focusing on the present. You’ll notice that you’re enjoying the little moments and appreciating life more, because you’re actively concentrating on being in the moment.
1. Stop comparing yourself
Comparing ourselves to others is a losing battle. Not only do we look for things we lack, but we find ourselves in the feeling of lack. Unless you have been in their shoes, view life the way they do and gone through their experiences, you are comparing yourself to information that can in no way be accurate. Comparing takes the focus off you and onto that person, yet your power lies in things you can affect in your life. You are a unique being and there is nobody in the world like you.
Start to shift your focus on things that are going right in your life and pay attention to the person looking back in the mirror. He or she has their own unique attributes. Let go of the inner perfectionist and start to appreciate your smile, your talents, what you have to offer. Starting to see your value is the fastest way to shift focus to the right place.
2. Don’t settle
Some people stay in jobs they don’t like just because of the salary. Others settle in relationships that no longer cause their hearts to race. Some of us stay with friends who deplete us because we long for any kind of company. Whatever your settle, it’s not worth the cost. You deserve peace of mind and to be outrageously happy.
If you are constantly saying to yourself, “There has to be something better than this”, you are probably settling. Don’t settle for less. Seek out to find your best in everything.
3. Start appreciating
Appreciate the bed you sleep it. Appreciate your significant other. Appreciate the clothes you have on your back, your car, your food. But mostly, don’t forget to appreciate what you bring into the world. Start to see the joy you bring to others. Give thought to the impact of that joy and its ripple effects. Just because you are not aware, does not mean it has not extended itself further than you can imagine.
The more you appreciate, the more good will flow into your life.
4. Foster healthy relationships
Let go of or at least distance yourself from anything that causes you to feel less than good. Find yourself in the presence of people who bring something significant into your life. Make it a point to have at least two people who feed your spirit, encourage your dreams and accept you for who you are. No alterations. Cultivating strong, nurturing bonds encourages us to remember we are not alone and keeps our hearts open.
5. Learn to say No
While we are here to help one another there will be times we’re tempted to do things at the expense of our own well-being. Sometimes when we give more than we can we don’t allow the other person to learn from or have their own experiences. Continually doing things out of insincere obligation can lead to resentment. Instead, honor yourself by doing what feels right for you.
‘No’ can be liberating, because when we say no to others we are saying “yes” to ourselves and we’re in alignment with our values. Allow yourself to say no once in a while. This practice will improve your self-esteem and create a space for people to value and respect you more.
6. Set healthy boundaries
Having clear boundaries is vital to establishing that relationships are mutually respectful. Believe it or not, but putting “up” boundaries actually creates freedom because when our wishes are clearly defined, there is no need to put up walls. Boundaries reflect our self-esteem and our values. A healthy self-respect will teach others how to treat you.
And when the occasional person attempts to push against your lines, simply keep your feet placed firmly on the ground.
7. Follow your heart
We all have something that makes us come alive and gives our lives meaning. Don’t forget to listen to the part of you that drives your bliss, and be aware of your idol wants and those little things that distract you. Focus on your purpose because dreams never really go away. They simply get postponed.
Our passions can be as little or big as they are, and we can have one or a multitude of them. Listen to the things that are ticking at your heart’s door and find a way to do one thing at a time if you can. You can encourage yourself to do it all and to find a way for life to support you while you do.
8. Observe your mind
The moment you notice that your mind is wondering, you’re not being present in the moment and you pull your mind back to the present is when you’re being mindful! Train yourself in noticing this and watch yourself throughout the day, so you can pull yourself back into the here and now.
Are you practicing mindfulness? If you do, how are you doing that? Let me know in the comments!
Leadership & Mindfulness Coach