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What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is awareness

Mindfulness is being aware of what you’re doing, being present in the moment. Mindfulness is being where you are and saying goodbye to the fear of missing out, or ‘FOMO.’

Mindfulness is disallowing your mind to waste time replaying the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness is living on purpose like it’s the only time and place you want to be.

Mindfulness is also becoming the observer of yourself, others, and circumstances. How will you be affected by a person or situation? Will you be affected by said person or situation?

If someone is rude or unkind to you, rather than reacting in kind, pause, take a step back, and ask the question, “What’s going on here? Why are they behaving this way?” Often times the other person’s behavior has nothing to little to do with you.

This can be so freeing. “Being the bigger person” or “taking the high road” allows you to release yourself from the bondage of your thoughts, emotions, and/or reactions.

We don’t know how much time we have to live in this life so the best thing we can do with this gift is to be fully experience each moment. Embrace the good, the bad, the mundane, and everything in between.

Mindfulness versus Meditation

Not exactly. A person can use mindfulness during meditation. Mindfulness is a state of mind that we are striving for throughout our day. It’s not easy; we are continuously derailed, pulled off track, and thrown from side to side.

Mindfulness is like driving a car. There is so much to consider initially: checking the mirrors, changing lanes, and getting on the freeway. A lot is going on. The more we drive, the better we become.

The point is that we are trying. Mindfulness is a state of being in our journey, like happiness. It is a choice that we have every moment of every day. Mindfulness helps us to be kinder to ourselves, to observe what we are doing, what others are doing. Recognize that we are souls doing our best not to react, judge, or hurt others with our thoughts, actions, or emotions.

"There is no path to happiness; happiness is the path."

How does mindfulness work?

Did you know that mental training increases results more than physical training alone? One study shows that stroke patients who mentally practiced in addition to physical training skill significantly improved compared to the stroke patients who only physically trained.

Mental training produces results. Mindfulness is a form of mental training. The more often we activate mindfulness, the better outcomes we will see in our daily lives.

How does mindfulness reduce stress?

Mindfulness focuses our attention on the present moment, who we’re with, the activity we’re doing, learning, reading, watching a movie, eating, or exercising. If we are actively engaged and enjoying our present moment, our brain doesn’t have time to worry about yesterday, last year, or about what will happen in the future. Let tomorrow worry about itself.

Since less time is spend in a stressed state, our body makes less cortisol, a major stress hormone, promoting increased health, improved immunity, and overall wellness.

mindfulness benefits

It’s like Arnold Schwarzenegger discussing the mind-muscle connection. He emphasizes the importance of putting your ‘mind in the muscle’ to get optimal results.

What if we did the same with our lives? Focus on what we are doing, who we are with, where we are when we are. Stop wasting time and energy wishing things were different, wishing we were somewhere else or with someone else. Be fully present to get the most out of every moment.

Mindfulness requires action

Mindfulness in theory is great but how do we employ it when life is so hectic? By practicing. Mindfulness is a decision that we can choose many times a day. We have infinite opportunities to become mindful especially when life is busy, stressful and chaotic.

Mindfulness is about sitting at home contemplating how we can be better people. Mindfulness is a tool that we can use in our everyday lives. The most effective way to sharpen the tool is by applying pressure, cleaning up the mess and moving forward.

How do we become mindful?

  1. The first step to becoming mindful is becoming aware of our thoughts, emotions, beliefs and actions. Meditation is a helpful tool that can be used to practice mindfulness by eliminating distractions for a short time. Read: How to meditate
  2. The second step is recognizing that you tend to  judge or label your thoughts, emotions, beliefs and actions as either good or bad.
  3. The third step is to remove the labels. Become a neutral observer. You are not your thoughts. At this point, you are aware of yourself which allows you to choose the thoughts you want to think.

Note: Quieting the mind is a genuine challenge for most people but it is possible. Developing this skill requires patience with yourself and consistent practice over time.

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought."

living mindfully

Now that you know how to become mindful, what do you do with the information? You can use it to reduce stress, learn a new skill, save money, get in shape, get a promotion, become an entrepreneur. The world is your oyster. 

Mindfulness trains your mind to focus. You have the skill set to achieve whatever your heart desires with this simple life strategy.

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