Mindfulness is a hot topic right now. But what exactly is it? The dictionary defines mindfulness as “the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment.” In practice, this can encompass many things, including meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or focus on one activity. It can also come to life in daily intention setting or reflection journals.
In the past few years, meditation and mindfulness as a practice has become more “mainstream,” with celebrities and top business people – including Ariana Huffington of the Huffington Post, Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce and Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna – coming forward to speak about how these practices help them to be successful. Research shows that gratitude changes our brain chemistry and allows to us to be happier, healthier, and mindful. Couple those results with an organized environment, and you will be more productive and efficient with you time and talents.
1. Approach everyday things with curiosity – and savor them.
2. Challenge yourself to view life from a positive perspective and reflect of your blessings.
3. Forgive your mistakes, both big and small.
4. Show gratitude for good moments and grace for the bad ones.
5. Interpret experiences as good: things don’t always go your way, but focus on what is going well.
6. Practice compassion and nurture connections.
7. Embrace vulnerability by trusting others and yourself.
8. Accept and appreciate that things come and go.
While these tips might feel a little detached, I also would like to provide some ideas for putting these concepts into practice.
– Write It Down: To become naturally more appreciative, write down the things over the past day, week or month that made you feel happy, positive, proud or thankful. Write your positive thoughts in a gratitude journal. You can purchase the “Happiness Project Journal” by Gretchin Rubin for prompts or use any notebook to keep your thoughts.
– Reflect: Certain planners also provide something similar, like the Passion Planner allow you to reflect on your month, the people who you are grateful for, and set daily intentions.
– Practice Yoga: Try a beginner yoga class! I found a yoga instructor I really love and this makes all the difference. With my mind constantly thinking about a million things, I appreciate the guided breathing and intention setting yoga gives me in the morning. You can also find great yoga sequences on youtube.
– Take a Moment: Take time to think about each activity you do, from brushing your teeth to waiting for the bus. The more conscious you are of your actions, the easier it is to appreciate the moment and accept it as part of your day.
I hope that by practicing mindfulness, you’ll find yourself calmer, more happy with life and appreciative of the little things.
How do you practice mindfulness? Do you have any tips for meditation? Share your tips in the comments below.