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Are you Mindful or Mindless?

Jon Kabat Zinn has defined mindfulness meditation as “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment in a non-judgmental way”. As you move through your life every day, how often do you find yourself practicing mindfulness? If you would like to stay grounded in the present moment, which is the only moment we are guaranteed, read on to find ways to begin to practice being mindful and stop the mindless actions.

Tips For Adding Mindfulness to Your Daily Routine

Once you learn a little more about mindfulness and how it can help you, it is time to start putting it into action. This begins with adding it to your daily routine, so that you get accustomed to this new way of thinking. Here are some tips for adding mindfulness to your daily routine.

Try it During Regular Daily Activities

One of the easiest ways to add mindfulness to your daily routine is to focus on it during regular activities. These are things you do each and every day, when your mind tends to wander. Think about what your thoughts were while taking a shower or brushing your teeth this morning. You were probably thinking of what you need to do that day, planning your meals, or even thinking about stressful situations you need to work. These daily tasks are perfect for being more mindful. Think about the act at hand, not anything else. Really focus on the feel of the warm water hitting your body in the shower, the smell of your soap, and the sound of the water trickling down. This is what mindfulness is at its core.

Focus On Your Breathing

When you are busy being mindful during your daily activities, make sure you focus on your breathing. This is a good way to start out when you aren’t quite ready to do these small mindful meditation sessions. Focus just on your breathing when your other thoughts try to creep into your mind. Breathing can help your physical and mental state to relax and enter a different wavelength. It is the cornerstone of mindfulness and one of the best ways to let your mind calm a little bit.

Complete Just One Task at a Time

A common mistake people make when trying to be mindful and enter a more positive frame of mind during the day is focusing on too many things at once. Multi-tasking is not good for productivity and focus. Stop trying to do everything at once, and just pick one task to work on. This allows you to focus on just that one task, which turn leads your mind to only thinking about this one thing. Even if you are working on a project for your job, you are being more mindful since you are not trying to think about all your other tasks on the to-do list, but just this one thing. It is a simple way to get used to mindfulness.

Stop the Negative Thinking

You might not be able to get rid of all negative thoughts, but it can help to at least minimize them. When your mind is bombarded by negativity, it makes it difficult to focus or even appreciate the good things in your life. This can affect nearly every aspect of your life. Keep reading to find out how to stop some of those negative thoughts from taking over.

Ignore the Extremes

Extremes are when you think of something in the best or worst scenario. Most things in life aren’t so black and white, so it is important that most of your thoughts are somewhere in the gray area. Sure, something might not turn out as good or bad as you thought, but most likely there is some type of shining moment in just about everything. Don’t think extreme lows, such as something being the ‘worst’ or ‘completely fail’ – try to think of the potential good and possible drawbacks of any situation or scenario, and suddenly you won’t be quite as negative with your thought patterns.

Surround Yourself With Positivity

The people you spend time with can have a larger impact on how you think and feel than you might imagine. Even though mindfulness essentially only has to do with you and your own thought patterns, others can definitely influence its effectiveness. It is important that you try to surround yourself with as much positivity as you possibly can. You may not want to get rid of negative people completely, but reduce how much time you spend with them. Spend more of your time with those that exude optimism and always seem to have a good way to look at everything.

Name the Thoughts and Say Goodbye to Them

This is a fun imagery exercise that is great for those nagging negative thoughts you just can’t seem to get rid of. Think of the most negative thoughts that always seem to consume your mind and bring your mood down, and give them all a name. They can be anything you want, as long as you can remember and identify them. Now close your eyes and picture the names you have come up with for the thoughts, then send them away. Turn them into balloons in your mind, and watch as those balloons fly away, never to return.

Focus On the Positive

This seems like an obvious suggestion, but it goes deeper than just appreciating the good things in your life. It is much easier to focus on the bad than the good, so what you want to do is stop minimizing the positive things in your life. Really focus on the good things, whether it is a new relationship, a job, your favorite place, a good book, absolutely anything that brings you joy, happiness, and optimism.

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