Living a Mindful Life
By Diane Lang
Mindfulness Living: Being in the present moment, observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Being awake to new possibilities, clues or signs of which direction to follow. Being in the moment to see clearly those signs or clues and follow your instincts. It’s awareness of the present moment without judgment. When you’re in a state of awareness you have the ability to respond to what’s going on clearly and to make good choices. It’s noticing and observing all that is around you. Being absorbed in what you’re doing at that moment – being in “flow”. Mindfulness means looking at situations with compassion and kindness.
Example: Eating mindfully is when you’re aware of your food, the taste, texture, smells, etc. You’re using all 5 senses. You’re not multi-tasking. You’re completely in the moment and enjoying the meal fully.
Spiritual Practice for Mindful Living:
Each day take a few minutes just to breathe. When we do this we slow down and clear our mind. Practicing breathing in through your nose, holding your breath for a few seconds and then exhaling through your mouth. Repeat a few times. You will feel a sense of peace and calm. When you feel your attention wander, remember this is completely normal. Don’t judge it. Just go back to your breathing.
Take some time to reflect on your values, opinions, priorities. Ask yourself some questions for thought.
What’s important to you? Are you living that way? What do you value? Are you living in accordance to your value system? Does your career match your value system? Are you setting goals that are in alignment with your value system and your authentic self?
Practice Self-Care: We can’t feel balanced and calm if our basic needs aren’t met. For a week keep a Journal. I call it the “Journal of Truth.” In this journal keep daily track of four things. How much water did I drink? (Not coffee, tea or soda) What did I eat and when? Did I exercise today? How much sleep did I get? We need anywhere from 8-9 hours a night. At the end of the week, you can see what is missing from your life and what changes need to be made to feel better physically and mentally.
Momentary Moments: Is enjoying the simple things in life. It could be having a cup of coffee in the morning while sitting outside on the deck, going out with a friend, talking a walk, etc. A momentary moment means to savor this moment, be in the present and enjoy it. When we have momentary moments we boost our happiness levels.
Time to Unplug: We need to disconnect. Technology has its advantages but if we don’t take the time to unplug and relax we will feel added stress and pressure. Make sure to have “technology free times”. For some clients, it’s during dinner. For others, it’s after 7 or 8 pm each night or even on Sunday. Make a commitment to yourself to be consistent with these technology-free times.
Active Listening: If we truly listen we are in the moment. This means not thinking about anything else while listening. Most of us tend to think about how we will answer the question or we think about something totally different. Either way we are not in the moment. When we do this we can cause miscommunication and arguments. We can make the other person feel like we are not listening and don’t care. Active listening prevents this. Show nonverbal hand and facial gestures to show you are listening. Have good eye contact. Pause when the person finishes talking – we don’t need to answer immediately. Summarize what the person said and/or ask questions to show you’re listening.
Muscle Tension Relaxation: Start from either your neck or toes. Work each muscle group by tensing, holding for a few seconds and then releasing. This releases the tension/stress from your body.
Mind-Body Connection: Do you know where you hold stress on your body? The typical spots are: Lockjaw / TMJ, headaches, neck / shoulder / back pain and stomach. Start noticing where you hold the stress in your body. I hold it in my stomach. Once you know where you hold it, you can use it as a warning sign.
Example: when I feel the tension in my stomach I immediately stop what I’m doing and ask myself: What is going on? Why am I feeling so stressed out? Are my basic needs met? What changes can I make to feel better?
Pay it Forward: Take a few minutes to either say to yourself or write down what you’re grateful for. Doing random acts of kindness gives us a boost of happiness that can last from 24-72 hours while helping someone else feel good. It’s a win-win situation. Stop chasing the material and start focusing on things that truly bring happiness like: experiences, friendships, love, family, nature, animals, etc.
For more information please visit Diane’s website: www.dlcounseling.com or email Diane at Dlcounseling2014@gmail.com