So here’s the thing, being mindful isn’t easy. A lot of things can get in the way, so that’s why I’m sharing my secret to staying mindful.
#1 Take time out for yourself.
This is so, so important to me. There is no way one can be mindful when they are surrounded by distractions. Take yourself to a quiet room and think. Think about what you’re grateful for. Or maybe think about the future. What are your goals? Where would you like to be in 10 years? Taking time out for yourself is just as important as taking time out for your partner. For me, taking time out for myself and my Husband are equally important, I just have to find the right balance. I enjoy being mindful with my Husband as much as I do on my own.
#2 Let go of emotions
I appreciate that this takes a bit of practice, well, a LOT in my case but I’m comfortable being a work in progress! I’ve found the key here is to recognize the emotion, acknowledge it without engaging and watch it pass by – I’m laughing while I write this because it sounds so much simpler than it really is!
#3 It’s OK to Unfollow or Even Defriend (gasp)!
If there’s someone in your feed who routinely makes you feel like crap or if their every status update just gets on your nerves, UNFOLLOW THEM. The universe and I have agreed that you have full permission to do this. We checked, there is no rule that says you have to consume someone else’s perspective to the detriment of your own mental state. If this is a person that doesn’t have any impact on your real life, then unfriend them as well.
#4 End each day with compassion
Spend a few minutes each night checking in with your current physical, mental and emotional state. This doesn’t need to be long or complicated. Simply touch base to see if you’re carrying a bunch of stress in your shoulders or if there’s a conversation from earlier that keeps rerunning in your head. Notice if you’re feeling up or down or exhausted or buzzed. Take a moment to ask yourself what you need, just as you would with a good friend. Spending just a little time each day valuing ourselves can create a more stable foundation for our lives. This foundation, based in compassionate care, allows us to create a life that feels good to us each and every day.
#5 Make waiting the ‘Mindful’ part
Contrary to what the old Tom Petty song says, waiting doesn’t have to be “the hardest part.” When you find yourself waiting in line or otherwise with a few minutes of excess time, instead of fretting or busying yourself with your phone, take the time as a gift and use it to take one mindful breath. The best way to remember to do this is to write yourself a note that simply says, “One mindful breath” and stick it, sturdily, to your phone (or, add the phrase to your phone’s wallpaper). If, when you take out your phone, you really can’t afford to take one mindful breath, that’s okay. But maybe you can, and maybe it will lead to a number of mindful breaths, and suddenly you will be meditating instead of being agitated.
#6 Question your thoughts
Your thoughts aren’t always right. In fact, they are rarely right, especially if they make you feel bad. Question your thoughts constantly. When you start to feel negative emotions, use it as a reminder to examine what thoughts are causing the commotion. Most people walk around all day letting negative thoughts cause negative feelings. We both know that nothing good can come out of this. It takes discipline to be mindful, but the rewards are peace and happiness. Even researchers are discovering the power of emotions. Negative emotions not only have the power to make you feel bad, but can affect your physical health as well.
#7 Let it in and let it go
Acknowledge the feelings and thoughts you are experiencing that are taking away from the present moment, but don’t cling to them. Allow them to come and go freely. You can imagine that the feelings and thoughts are being washed away by the ocean, floating away down a river, moving by with a cloud, or another image of your choosing. This allows you to have thoughts and feelings without getting stuck or distracted.
#8 Practice mindfulness regularly
The more you train your mind to meditate in the predictable environment of your home, the more it’ll be easy to practice mindfulness during tough circumstances. Give yourself daily chances to sit and practice meditation, this training will result in more stability. After a while, meditation will be a no brainer: whenever the going gets tough your mind will automatically switch to a mindful and relaxed mode without you noticing.
#9 Listen to music
Although a majority of people love listening to music, many don’t. But, you should make it a point to listen to your favourite music every day. It can be rock, pop, soft, romantic or any other type of songs. However, try to listen to happy songs and listen to them in a conscious state. Notice the music as well the lyrics of the songs but do not get lost in it. This will help you be conscious about things that nourish your heart and mind instead of depleting them.
It’s no secret that laughing is crucial to mental health, and treating your brain to something light and fun is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Remember when people thought obsessing over pet videos were something that only your crazy aunt did? So. Wrong. Laughing or smiling is essential to your cognitive health, and especially important in the morning. Whether it’s watching your favorite episode of Family Guy, or listening to one of your embarrassing favourite pop hits from the 00’s.