Mindfulness can be defined as a state of conscious awareness for the present and nonjudgmental acceptance of what one feels and experiences. Mindful living has profound and far-reaching physical and psychological benefits. If you’re looking to be less reactive and access the inner peace that exists deep within your soul, adopt the following habits.
1. Act with intention
Doing without thinking is commonplace for many tasks in today’s society. But when you think about everything you do, acting deliberately and in line with your goals and values, you live a more meaningful life. Instead of just going with the flow and undertaking tasks simply because you are instructed to, think critically about everything you do. Identify a goal outcome for every task you take on, and strive to find meaning in each one. Even things you feel you could do in your sleep, such as showering and washing dishes, can bring you more joy if you find meaning in them.
2. Cultivate rituals
Rituals lend a sense of importance to what may otherwise be mindless, mundane tasks. Observe your behavior throughout the day. What tasks do you think about the least while engaging in? Cleaning, preparing and eating food; bathing; and walking the dog are a few common tasks people complete without giving much thought. Try developing rituals for these tasks so you are more conscious while undertaking them. Cultivating a ritual can be as simple as taking a moment to appreciate your ability to do something before doing it. It’s not common to feel appreciative that you are physically capable of bathing or feeding yourself, but gratitude for your capabilities can help you act fully and deliberately.
3. Don’t dwell on the past
You’ve surely heard the expression that there is no use crying over spilt milk. The past has taken place. You’re not going to have the opportunity to relive any of it. If you have negative feelings about something that has happened, draw lessons from them so you do not experience the same feelings again. But don’t let yourself live in the past, replaying past events again and again. Learn from the past, consider the future, and maintain constant awareness that you are living in the present. The more consciously you do this, the less likely you are to act in ways you’ll come to regret.
What brings you joy and contentment? Reflect on positive experiences, forces, and influences in your life often. Express gratitude for family, friends, your job, your apartment, your good health, and any pleasant surprises that come your way. One way to do this is with a daily ritual during which you meditate on things for which you’re grateful. Try this in the morning or evening, writing a list of what you’re most grateful for at the time of the exercise. When things don’t go your way, recalling what you’re grateful for can help you weather the storm with grace and ease.
5. Watch your words
Words are powerful. Your words can make others feel good or bad. Others’ words can have the same effect on you. If you’re used to speaking impulsively, challenge yourself to start thinking before you speak. Observe how you feel in a given situation, and hold your tongue if you think the words you’re about to utter could result in unnecessary harm. Mindful speech helps foster a more positive and altruistic world.
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