In a world where we’re now so often lost in the screens of our laptops and smartphones, a really important thing to be aware of is the ability to open ourselves up to living mindfully. Being mindful is all about being more conscious and aware of your life and what’s going on around you. By being more aware of our emotions and giving ourselves time to process information, we can begin to make more informed choices and live a more fulfilled life. Well, that’s the idea anyway!
Now, there have been a number of self-help books written on the topic and many guides and TED talks made to help explain this idea to people, so I’ve listed 8 short points on how to simply incorporate it into your life, to ultimately be happier and live more in the moment.
There are eight components or ‘tools’ that can help you lead a more mindful life:
- Be positive
- Be grateful
- Be present
- Be accepting
- Be curious
- Be patient
- Be kind
A great place to start with living mindfully is bring in 1 minute of meditation to your day every morning. This habit can help set you up for the day by giving you some time in your own head. Many people claim that this is the basis to living mindfully.
2. Be positive
Sometimes in life, bad things happen. This is an unavoidable fact. However, it’s not the situation that has the power to change your mood, but your reaction to that situation. If you choose to step back, have a deeper think and turn it into a positive or something to laugh about, you will in turn change your mood and take back control. For example, if you have a bad day at work it’s all too easy to jump to the conclusion that your job is awful, your boss hates you and that the only option is to quit. The better way to deal with this is to list in your mind all the things that have gone wrong, and think what a funny story this will make to tell your friends the next time you meet for a drink.
3. Be grateful
Happiness never comes from constantly wanting more, but actually appreciating what you have. My mum is a big believer in this one. She keeps “gratitude stones” around the house, which are little pebbles that have been collected on her dog walks along the beach. Every time she notices one of these stones, she makes herself think of three things she is grateful for. Now you may not have to set yourself a physical reminder, but I definitely think it helps because it forces you to think even if you’re in a horrible mood. If you don’t fancy leaving stones dotted around the house, you could do the same with photographs or perhaps plants!
4. Be present
This can be one of the more tricky points on the list. Sometimes we can think we’re present by being busy and planned, but in actual fact it can sometimes be a case of dropping everything and sitting still for a moment. Laughing with friends, enjoying the meal you’re eating or just simply sitting on a bench and people watching can all be perfect activities that can help you feel alive and present.
5. Be accepting
The sooner you accept a situation for what it is, the sooner you can begin to move forwards and learn from it. If you hear some bad news or a friend is doing something you don’t necessarily agree with, accept that you can’t have control over everything and let it go. This doesn’t mean you can’t fight for change in areas you think things could be done differently, but it means finding peace with the present to work towards the future.
6. Be curious
You’ll never know everything, but why not learn as much as you can while you’re here? Be inquisitive and curious in everything you do and over time you’ll find tasks so much more rewarding because you’ll have looked at it from more angles. Asking questions makes you look interested and people remember thoughtful individuals because it can make you stand out among the crowd.
7. Be patient
Life is about enjoying the journey, not reaching some ultimate unknown destination where everything is perfect. Be patient with life and the rewards will come to you. It’s better to do something well than to finish it quickly.
8. Be kind
It’s so easy to get swept away with life and its daily stresses, but never forget to be kind. Not just to the people who are kind to you, but to everyone. You could be the difference between someone having a good and a bad day. You have the power to make others happier, use this power every single day!
Try living mindfully for one week and see if it does make a difference to your life. Even just living with a conscious effort to be grateful, be positive and be kind is enough to improve your mood and help to see things more clearly. Comment below if you have any other tips for living mindfully or being more thoughtful!
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