Are you rushing through life with your to-do list? Try Mindfulness. To get some peace of mind. To feel alive. Mindfulness improved my life. I will tell you how.
I have a different life attitude than I had 4 years ago. Instead of living in my papers, and thinking about my PowerPoint presentation and to do list, I actually see the world around me. I notice the blossoms starting to grow in the tree. I am (mostly) not rushing around and time is not flying by unnoticed. I feel more aware. I love it. This is a short story about how Mindfulness changed my life for the better.
But first of all; what is Mindfulness?
Do you know the introduction exercise of a Mindfulness course?
They give you a raisin, which you have to put in your mouth. Normally you would probably swallow the raisin without giving the thing a second thought. But now you are asked to explore the raisin with all your senses. How does it taste, what is the structure like?
This practice shows the essence of what Mindfulness is. Mindfulness is the practice of focused attention. Mindfulness is the opposite of the automatic pilot. Purposefully focusing your attention on what you choose to focus on. Hereby using all your senses. It helps you to live in – and return to – the present moment, as opposite of being in the past or the future with your mind.
“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.”
Quote by Benjamin Franklin
That is not what you want, if you are into Mindfulness.
But now back to my personal story. I will tell you how my life has been improved thanks to embracing the principles of Mindfulness into my life. This is my personal top 6 how Mindfulness practice has changed my life for the better. Let’s start with #1!
Try Mindfulness #1 – A simplified life and more clear choices
There is a big difference between needing and wishing. Needing is about my – and your – basic needs like food, shelter, clothing and some love. All the rest is extra, all the rest is a wish. I realize I really don’t need a lot in life.
I don’t want everything anymore, I choose not to want everything anymore.
I used to be very bad at missing out on things, on events. I wanted to join everywhere with everyone.
I choose for the essence. I see the friends I really like to see. My dates are only with people that actually bring me something, add value. I invest in quality and not just in many leads and many relations. I am better at saying ‘no’ to things I already know that don’t fit me.
I used to be a person who liked to keep options open, always. Keeping options open is a tempting thing to me – especially since i am a true Libra 😉 – but in the end it only bothers my peace of mind and even brings me misery. I prefer accepting a ‘no’. Although it might mean losing or closing something.
Try Mindfulness #2 – There is a difference between Acting & Being
I really notice my surroundings. I hear the birds chirping.
My senses are more turned on than they used to be.
Breathing consciously.. years ago i did that .. never.
I used to sit in the train for hours every week. How often did I look out of the window to actually really see something? I would guess not even 1% of my time in the train. I was present in my head, so not really present. Life passed by without noticing it.
Try Mindfulness #3 – Focus on the present moment
I live now. So I should now live the way I want to. Instead of making preparations in order to live the way I want to live 40 years from now. We don’t know how the future will evolve. No one knows. Predictions and expectations won’t come true the way we think and perhaps hope. Worrying about the future is pointless. Uncertainty is inherent in life. I like my life how it is now. Let’s see what the future brings.
Try Mindfulness #4 – It is not all about checking goals
Yes, i’d like to finish several online projects and turn them into a huge success. One part of me is strongly result oriented. But life is not 1 big ‘to do’. In fact, I don’t want – don’t allow – life to be just a to do list that should be finished as quickly as possible.
“Everything is as it should be”
One of my favorite mantras
The key is truly accepting where I am now. Experiencing gratitude for what I have and where I am. Only seeing how it should be, and consequently activating your problem solving mode, turns you in an unsatisfied person.
Try Mindfulness #5 – How you experience life depends on the standards you set yourself
More and more I become conscious of the demands I impose on myself. The expectations I have of… me. I consciously hear the voice of the inner criticaster.
I believe nothing is an absolute truth, but a self created – and very convincing – truth.
That means I can choose how I perceive the world and how I set standards. It is me who can give myself the reassurance that it is OK what I do and how I do it.
If you like this topic; make sure you check out JD’s blog about Imagined Orders and self created realities.
Try Mindfulness #6 – I integrated new daily routines
Like practicing yoga every day. I start the day with feeling my body. Whether it is with yoga, stretching or a morning walk. This routine helps me remember to return to the present, to experience what is. It is a moment to leave my to do list aside and to feel how simple life can be. This way, I am teaching myself new habits that help me to live my life mindfully. To have several moments each day to get back from my lists to the present, where it is just about the beauty of the snoring cat in my lap.
“If you are in a hurry you have to stand still”
Chinese saying. So true!
So these are the main benefits of mindfulness I experience in daily life. But in daily life there can be a lot of disturbance, keeping you from being mindful. One of the sources is wifi. Because of internet problems I lately experienced 3 weeks of no wifi. And the advantages of no wifi were so big! I am not saying; cancel your internet provider subscription. But every now and then switching off your wifi or putting away your phone can be so helpful for your mindfulness practice. And at least be aware of what it contribute to your focussed attention.
This is by the way a great plugin for your internet browser to help you to stay focused. It blocks pages the way you like it. The fine middle ground between turning off your wifi and wandering endlessly with online browsing ;).
Question to you:
- how consciously are you in the present? or are you always busy with what is yet to do?
- how often are you busy pursuing goals? and are those goals actually what you want?
I am really not done writing about Mindfulness. Are you interested in the topic and would you love to have a bit more peace and attention in your life? Keep following us and don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly newsletter.
Thanks for reading! It would be great if you would share your experiences with Mindfulness down below in the comment section.
To write this blog I used information from Mindfulness for Dummies by Shamash Alidina
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