Mindfulness - the quality of being present
- Manage Stress & Reduce Anxiety
- Increase self-awareness & Emotional Intelligence
- Gain More Focus
- Find Inner Peace In A Frantic World
- Improve Performance & Productivity
- Learn To Take Advantage Of Opportunities
- Boost Happiness Hormones
- Increase Self-Love
- Start To Live In A Present Moment (Here & Now)
- Improve Health & Well-Being
Tools & Strategies:
1. They Understand The Power Of Single-Tasking
It’s a high time to rid ourselves of this misconception about multitasking. Although we can focus on two or more activities at the same time, it is impossible to concentrate on two completely different tasks simultaneously. Just think about it. You probably snack while binge eating Netflix or listen to music while washing the dishes because it makes it less boring and more entertaining, right? But as much as doing all of these things don’t require your full and undivided attention you’ve probably noticed that if you pay more attention to eating than watching you easily miss important details and quickly lose track of what is actually happening in the movie. And we are talking here about the simplest activities.
Although divided attention can be improved with practice it is still not possible for the human brain to process more that one task at a time. Multitasking is incredibly overrated and has nothing to do with productivity. Furthermore, doing more than one thing at a time actually decreases your productivity and kill your focus. So instead of managing it all, focus on only one task at a time and you will be surprised how quickly and easily you will accomplish that.
2. They Respond NOT React
Emotions are natural phenomena generated and regulated in the limbic system of the brain. They are functional and serve a wide range of purposes. In other words, when our emotions arise our body communicates us that something is about to happen and we should prepare ourselves for that. Sometimes it’s hard to believe but even the hardest emotions are designed to help us not to destroy us. So if you thought that emotions are just meaningless “piece of information” that can be ignored or suppressed that is actually not true. Every emotion is an important piece of information sent from our subconscious mind that if properly decoded become our personal advisor. But to be able to understand and listen to this advice you need to adopt a mindful approach to your emotions. It’s the best if not the only way to truly understand the function and purpose of a particular emotion and learn to manage it in an effective way. People who practice mindfulness know how to acknowledge, accept and deal with their emotions in a healthy way, especially with those “negative ones”. Of course, it takes time and practice but it’s worth the effort. Every hypothetical response is better than any possible reaction.
4. They Use Negative Circumstances To Their Advantage
Sometimes life does not go according to plan. No matter how hard you worked or how detailed your ideal plan was life can unexpectedly change its curse. And when it happens you have a choice. You can start mourning the loss of expectations and indulging in self-doubt because of the failure of your plan A or you can take advantage of the current situation and find the alternative for your original plan. It may seem difficult but it’s actually easier than you think. Everything depends on your mindset. We all try to plan out on life and control every aspect of it but the truth is that we truly never know what is going to happen next. Even if this illusion of being in complete control over events gives us a sense of security sometimes is nothing else than a trap we set for ourselves. Because the fact is, we don’t know what’s best for us or what’s truly meant to be until it just surprises us. Besides sometimes when things don’t work out it means that the Universe is trying to save your ass. So if your plan “A” fails instead of kicking yourself over it, take a deep breath, get a clean look at the situation and find an alternative for your plan “A”. Do you know the best part? Usually, the alternative is even better than the original plan because improvisation sparks creativity and freedom!
5. They Practice Being Curious
“I know that I know nothing.”― Socrates
This famous Socratic paradox is a starting point in acquiring knowledge. Most people‘s deepest fear is to admit that they don’t know something as if possessing all the knowledge of the universe was possible. And just like we all know that it’s impossible we shouldn’t be afraid of saying “I don’t know”. It’s actually a very humble thing to do and an incredible opportunity to explore, experience and learn something new. So instead of being afraid of not knowing something cultivate a Beginner’s Mind. Practice being curious, be open to new experiences, ask questions, observe, take notes and fuel your desire for new information. Every day you have an incredible opportunity to learn something new and use it to fuel your personal growth. Curiosity is the basis of true learning and self-improvement.
6. They Trust Their Intuition
Intuition is your inner wisdom, your instinctive awareness, your “gut feeling” that when it’s heard and accepted becomes your internal guidance system. But for that to happen, you need to get access to your purest intuitions not drown out by negative self-talk, strong emotions, and self-doubt. That’s why it’s so important to cultivate self-awareness and growth self-trust. Trusting yourself is the first rule for success. People that love you and care about you can certainly give you very good advice, but at the end of the day, you know yourself better than anyone else. The answers to your questions are within you but to be able to find them you have to calm your anxious mind and listen to your inner voice first. So instead of ignoring this first “gut feeling” and rely only on critical reasoning, have a conversation with yourself. Develop a kind internal tone, listen to your inner voice and embrace your intuition. And when it comes to important life decisions combine your critical thinking with your intuition. If you feel inner peace you know that you’ve made the right decision.
7. They Understand That Change Is The Only Constant
“The only constant in life is change”- Heraclitus.
Life is like a kaleidoscope, everything changes, nothing stands still. Sometimes when something incredibly beautiful happens we try to write everything down or create a mental picture to keep track of time. But still the moment we’re living now will be gone in a flash. Just like a dream experience, whatever things you enjoy will become a memory. So instead of desperately trying to freeze an ideal moment in your life let yourself to truly experience it without worrying about what happens next. Don’t resist changes because it will only create pain and sorrow. Instead accept that everything flows, embrace change and take advantage of the current situation.
8. They Connect With Nature
Nature is the best medicine. So write yourself a prescription for nature, go outside, hug a tree, feel the warmth of the sun on your face and enjoy the feeling of grass on the soles of our feet. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? But hey, I’m serious. Do it. No matter what the weather is like. Go outside and connect with nature. Sit on the grass and close your eyes. Listen to birds singing, taste the sweet smell of the wind, feel the raindrops on your skin, look at the blooming flowers and breath in the scent of trees. Connect with nature and let yourself heal.
9. They Pay Attention
Mindfulness is the art of paying attention. People who practice mindfulness live in the present moment without over-analyzing past events or trying to figure out what the future brings. Mindfulness means to experience the authenticity of the present moment, taking advantage of the current situation, observing and getting inspired by what is happening “here & now”. Mindfulness is about adopting a growth mindset, taking challenges, reaching full potential, regaining control over life and taking responsibility for words and actions that it’s a gift not a “burden” like some may think. Practicing mindfulness is the key to concentration because it improves attention, boosts focus and develops an acute sense of observation which is particularly important in terms of taking advantage of unexpected opportunities when they present themselves. That’s why mindful people listen attentively, observe carefully, make conscious decisions, embrace the authenticity of the present moment and develop the ability to find beauty in little things. Sounds wonderful, right?
10. They Invest In Their Mental Wellbeing
Mental well-being is usually pushed into the background. People tend to focus on improving their physical health through exercise and healthy diet completely forgetting about investing in their mental health. Which is kind of strange considering the fact that mental and physical health are fundamentally linked and for that reason alone should be valued equally. Otherwise, the goal of a healthy lifestyle will be impossible to achieve. But probably the biggest misconception about investing in mental wellbeing is that it’s time-consuming and costly, that is absolutely not true. Mental health exercises can be quick, easy and fun. They’re like a gym for the mind. So if you thought that building strong mental health requires a massive amount of time, seeing a therapist or reading really hard books it’s actually not the case. You can strengthen your mental health, boost your mood and increase your concentration by doing quick and simple exercises. Best, easiest and most effective mindful practices for improving your mental wellbeing are:
- Breathing exercises
- Practicing being present (go on a walk or eat your favorite meal)
- Practice positive self-talk
- Celebrating your achievements (Embrace progress, not perfection)
- Watching inspirational Ted Talks, listening to motivational podcasts
- Practice gratitude (Never take things for granted)
- Engage with others
11. They Cultivate Self-Care
Cultivating self-care is important for creating and maintaining a healthy balance and a positive relationship with yourself. Self-care is not optional, it’s a need. For this reason alone it should be an important part of your daily routine. Because if you ignore the importance of taking care of yourself you are basically sacrificing your mental and physical well-being to other less important stuff. People who regularly practice mindfulness cultivate self-care on a daily basis. They know when it’s time for brake and recharging batteries in order to avoid extreme exhaustion and burning out. Whether that means taking a couple of deep breaths, meditating, enjoying a cup of coffee or delicious meal, people who practice mindfulness knows how to self-care like a boss. So if you still wonder if practicing self-care is good for you, stop thinking about it and start doing it!
12. They Eat Mindfully
Food is not only a necessity but also a great source of pleasure. That’s why we all have some guilty pleasure foods that we are embarrassed to eat so we chose to keep it secret, right? Whether it’s a double chocolate cake with chocolate ganache, deep fried chicken wings, triple cooked chips or big triple layer melting cheese sandwich we prefer to eat it in the privacy of our home and without witnesses of course…
But food is more than just pleasure or necessity, it’s fuel for our body. A healthy diet is not only nurturing and nourishing but in many cases become an effective medicine. Furthermore, there is overwhelming evidence showing that a healthy, balanced, personalized diet can not only prevent various diseases but also cure them. That’s why having a healthy, balanced diet plays so important role in our overall health and wellbeing. And you know what? It’s easier than you think. All you have to do is to adopt a mindful approach to food and become a self-conscious eater and thoughtful and mindful consumer during a grocery shopping. This simple tactic will help you to develop healthy eating habits and awareness of your eating experience. Not to mention that mindful eating promotes conscious food choices, listening to your body and honoring the food. What else could you ask for?
13. They Cultivate Quality Rest
Mindful people know that quality rest plays an essential role in your overall health and wellbeing. What we often aren’t really aware of is the fact that sleep is important for brain functioning, emotional wellbeing, proper digestion, strong immune system and even personal safety. Just think about it, how many times you sacrificed your sleep to accomplish more during the day? And how this sleep deprivation affected your mental and physical performance? I would bet that, not very well…
Well, the truth is that sacrificing your sleep is extremely counterproductive because it affects negatively your ability to critical and logical thinking, makes your extremely anxious, stressed, unmotivated, apathetic and uncreative. By contrast, getting quality rest improves memory, boost creativity, increases productivity, facilitates the decision-making process and protects your mental health. So make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary and get quality rest.
14. They Don’t Take Themselves Too Seriously
Life is too short to take everything so seriously. Besides being always so serious about anything and everything harms your health and inner peace. It’s time to realize that no one is perfect as humans and we all make mistakes in life. So stop beating yourself up for past mistakes and awkward moments. Instead, make a list of the most embarrassing moments in your life, read it out loud and just laugh. You texted the wrong person, fall over in public, forgot someone’s name who you are in a conversation with, clogged a toilet in a home that isn’t yours, ripped your pants in public, had food in your teeth during a company meeting, came out of the toilet with toilet roll attached to your shoe… and so what? It happened to anyone! So instead of dying ashamed embrace the awkwardness and laugh at yourself. Humor is the key to success in your professional and personal life.
15. They Practice Gratitude And Self-Love
Well, let’s face it, there is only one person you spend your whole life with… and that is YOURSELF. For this reason alone, it’s better to be your best friend than your worst enemy, right? That is easier said than done of course, but if you feel that you are more your own enemy than your truest friend you need to take an action and change that. So if you are constantly indulging in negative-self-talk the first thing to do is to evict the bully in your head. You don’t need to hear all that cr*p they are telling you. Instead, start working on self-esteem and self-confidence Positive self-talk may not come to you naturally but that will change with time and persistence. All you have to do is to work on your self-esteem and self-confidence. So instead of constantly degrading yourself challenge your negative self-talk. Change your inner talk from negative to positive. Go stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself positive affirmations. Cut out of your vocabulary all the negative phrases. Show yourself gratitude. Challenge your inner critic and navigate your life with self-love and kindness. In other words, make friends with yourself.
16. They Celebrate Their Achievements
Most people tend to forget about celebrating their achievements. They focus only on achieving their goals and setting new ones while completely ignoring the importance of rewarding themselves for what they accomplished. That’s insane! If you are one of those people it’s time to change this! There are many different reasons why celebrating achievements is critical to your success. First of all, taking time for even a small celebration boosts your self-esteem and increases your motivation. Another important reason to celebrate even little achievements is that it activates the happy chemicals in your brain. And what’s better than a boost of dopamine and serotonin in a natural way? So next time when you accomplish your goal stop and celebrate it. Be mindful, review, evaluate and engage in some serious positive self-talk!
And Be Mindful!