Frequently, we talk about mindfulness as a way to stop living on auto-pilot by paying attention to your life and making intentional decisions. Mindfulness is a way to tap into your internal resources so you can use them to reduce stress and conflict.
Sounds good, but how do you get there? Here are some key concepts which can help you develop an attitude of mindfulness in your everyday living.
1. Focus on the moment:
It is important to have a plan for your future, but once you have that in place, it is necessary to focus on today. This will help you concentrate on how things are currently unfolding in your life.
2. Be fully present:
Pay attention to what is happening around you and how it is impacting you. Ways to do this include noticing how you are feeling and what your body is experiencing. What is happening around you? What are people saying to you?
3. Have an attitude of openness to experience:
See life’s experiences as adventures and opportunities. This will help you look forward to what will happen in your life. What do you observe? What do you think? Concentrate on the present moment, not the what the future holds.
4. Accept feelings:
Feelings are just feelings; they are neither good nor bad. Their purpose is to give you information. Staying in the moment and simply listening will help you interpret what the feelings mean and how to take action.
5. Be nonjudgmental:
Have an open and listening mind toward yourself and others. Making judgments takes you out of the present moment. It will cause you to come to conclusions before you know the whole story. You will miss something important.
6. Accept things as they are:
Do not try to force things to be the way you think they should be. Work to see reality as it is, knowing that you can tolerate the situation. Give yourself time to experience what is happening and let things unfold. Action may be needed and it may not.
7. Stay in the here and now:
As you relate to yourself and others, it becomes easier to stay in the here and now and see reality for what it is. You will have others to help you see and understand. Connection will help you not be so alone.
Seeing others’ needs is a function of compassion. It is equally important to extend compassion to yourself. Compassion is a choice you make not an emotional reaction. You must choose to deal gently, kindly and patiently with yourself and others.
As you develop a part of you that observes your daily activities, you will begin to notice patterns where you forget yourself and your needs. The more you practice mindfulness in all your life, you will develop the skills to help you negotiate life and its stresses.
Need help finding the part of yourself that can observe your life with compassion? I can help.