Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment without clinging to it, without turning away or trying to escape it, and without wanting it to be other than it is. Living mindfully allows you to stay in the present moment without becoming entangled in worry about the future or regret about the past. Practicing mindfulness can result in increased feelings of peace, happiness and wellbeing.
Mindfulness is about practicing focusing the attention on attention focused on the present moment, both during formal meditation practice and in our everyday lives. The formal practice of mindfulness allows us an opportunity for focused practice with bringing the awareness back to the present moment again and again. The real magic happens when we begin to apply this practice in our everyday so that we’re practicing meeting whatever arises in our lives with an open heart and an attitude of curiosity and kindness.
How to apply mindfulness to your everyday life:
- Cultivate a formal mindfulness practice. Practice sitting still and resting your attention on the breath. Notice your experience of the breath in your body—the rise of the belly with the inhale and the fall of the belly with the exhale. When the attention wanders, and it will, practice bringing it back to the breath.
- Live intentionally. Become intimately familiar with your values, passions, and purpose, and design your life around what matters most to you. Create clear intentions for how you want your life to be and an overarching sense of how you want to feel in your life.
- Practice Mindful Self-Care. Get adequate sleep, eat mindfully, and exercise regularly. Know when your schedule is full, and practice saying no. Set healthy boundaries and limits.
- Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself as though you were a child for whom you care deeply. When you become aware that you’re speaking harshly to yourself, pause, remind yourself that you’re human and therefore imperfect, and direct a kind gesture or kind words toward yourself.
- Cultivate Joy. Slow down to notice the simple things in life that bring you a sense of joy and savor these moments—your favorite cup of tea, a brilliant blue sky, early morning birdsong. Pay attention to the sensations and feelings that arise in response to this experience. Take time to recall the experience and the good sensations and feelings several times during the day. You can cultivate joy by slowing down to cultivate it rather than waiting for it to land in your lap.
- Get Creative. Connecting with your creativity, through art, writing, cooking, making something with your hands, or generating creative ideas, is one way you can expand your mindfulness practice into everyday life. Don’t forget to fill your own creative well by doing things that inspire your creative energy!
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Enjoy your mindful life!
Jen Johnson is a mindfulness teacher, coach and counselor. She’s also a photographer and writer. Jen teaches people how to develop a regular mindfulness practice and integrate it into everyday life. Learn more at jenjohnson.com