Practicing mindfulness is kind of like being your own therapist
You bear witness to your choices, thought processes, reactions, and decisions. And from there, you have the opportunity to assess if you like how you feel as a result. If you don’t, you understand different thoughts and actions must be taken. Sounds easy, right? But we all know it’s not. It’s a practice that requires constant attentiveness and that can feel overwhelming.
Mindfulness is a vigilant practice that requires us knowing the various versions of our past selves and shining a spotlight on who we are right now in this moment. We keep adding to our experiences and draw on our past choices with the retrospective eyes of someone who knows better and differently. Employing wisdom is one of the key elements to mindful living and thinking. Doing our very best based on what we understand is an essential element for living our greatest life.
Mindfulness and self-awareness are basically synonymous
It’s easy to get caught up in our habits, routines, and the stories we create in our heads. Developing daily practices the help us strengthen the muscle of awareness is the springboard to turning mindfulness into how we go about every moment of the day. When it becomes second nature, it no longer requires so much of our emotional and mental energy.
By incorporating mindfulness into our daily rituals and applying it to the actions we take daily, it becomes less of a practice and more of who we are as human beings. Mindfulness requires we examine our motives, feelings, beliefs, and how all of that translates into action. It’s reading others and seeing our truth reflected in their reactions.
So how do we do this? How do we practice meaningful mindfulness as we move through our day? Let’s begin at the beginning.
What happens the moment after we wake up?
- What’s the very first thought you think? Waking up with a grateful thought, even something as simple as a general ‘thank you’ will promise an approach to the day that continues in the vain of gratitude. If there is something specific you are feeling extra loving about, then take a moment the second your eyes open to spend a few moments choosing loving grateful thinking.
- What’s the next action you take? Do you hug your partner? Do you sit quietly with a cup of tea or coffee and take some dedicated breaths? Do you practice a few yoga postures? Whatever you do, do it with thoughtfulness and observance as to how it makes you feel.
Practicing purification with mindfulness
- What are your body cleansing rituals? Do you dry brush then shower? Do you use the bathtub and soak with a cup of tea and an inspiring book? The physical act of cleaning ourselves has a myriad of mindfulness opportunities. Everything from the soap we choose (is it ethically made? Handmade? Does it have a scent that calms and soothes us?) to how slowly or swiftly we wash ourselves has an impact on our nervous system, mood, and a general feeling of washing away negativity. Taking our time as we move through the purification process leaves us with a sense of accomplishment and thoughtfulness. Everything from using a fresh towel and making sure our tub is clean impacts us.
- What we eat and how we eat sets the tone for our day. Do you eat whatever is easiest and incorporate eating into getting dressed? Choosing to take the time to select something nourishing and healthy as well as eating slowly and delighting in every delicious bite automatically changes the course of our day. If we begin hurried and not even tasting our food it’s harder to savor the moments ahead of us. Slow, thoughtful eating encourages those same ideas to flourish in our work, conversations, travel methods, and various other decisions we have to make every single day. Try sitting without stimulation and choose to notice the flavors, textures, and pace with which you eat. Once you’ve finished, take a moment to observe how satisfied you feel and carry that with you to encourage a sense of contentment throughout the day.
- What’s the first thing you say out loud each morning? If you live with someone, choosing both words and tone that are full of kindness and positivity will help you choose those intentions as you move through your day. “Good morning, I love you. How did you sleep?” If you live alone, perhaps calling someone you love each morning to wish them a lovely day and inquire how they are would be a perfect way to practice mindful speech. Our words, volume, tone, and intention when we talk affect others more than we know. We’ve all be the recipient of a gruff hello or complaint first thing in the morning. And it never feels good. Even if you wake up feeling less than excited for the day, seize that moment to decide you’re going to turn that initial feeling into something good.
Before we even leave our home, mindfulness can permeate our every thought and choice. Setting the tone for our day at the very beginning will lead to our new normal. Negative thoughts will encounter the barriers that mindful living kindly creates with loving boundaries. Go have an incredible day!
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