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Learning how to live mindfully can transform your life!
When you want to make changes in your life, it can sometime feel daunting. Just thinking of everything that you want to overhaul can feel overwhelming. From your sleep schedule and nutrition regimen to your career pursuits and relationship efforts.
What usually happens on a day-to-day basis is we coast through life allowing things to occur until it reaches a breaking point. When you reach that point it feels like you have to do something about it.
Then it feels like change has to happen right in that moment, which is an unrealistic expectation to make of yourself. Instead of embracing an unachievable goal, try to integrate micro mindful living habits into your life. Tiny habits will put you on the path to success. Whatever it is you’re trying to achieve will become easier without overwhelming you in the process.
Learning How to Live Mindfully Is the Antidote to Constant Stress & Overwhelm
Change is hard, regardless of what area of your life you’re focusing on. When you’re used to doing things a certain way, it can be difficult to pull away from them. That’s because you have ingrained and automated habits that guide you,
The good news is that what you’ve been doing, you probably do without giving it much thought. So any bit of attention you give to an issue you want to resolve will allow you to make new decisions based on past experiences and results.
Mindfulness is a concept that might make you feel unnerved in the beginning. There are many things we do out of comfort automatically so that we don’t have to feel guilty or bad about our choices.
When you’re being mindful about something, it means you’re focused on it and applying common sense and thoughtful consideration to your options. You’re looking realistically at what results you’ll get if you make one decision over another.
In this hectic and fast-paced world, it’s easy to operate on auto pilot whenever you have the chance. Making decisions can be draining to some degree, especially when it puts you out of your comfort zone.
When it comes to learning how to live mindfully, there are varying degrees you can implement in your life. Total mindfulness might be too much to start with – where you’re immersed in the potential outcome of everything that you do.
A better way to start is by choosing to embrace micro mindful habits into your life. These are small changes that you commit to on things that you want to improve in your life – whether it’s your diet, fitness, sleeping habits, career or more.
Living a Mindful Life – Small Changes Add Up to Big Results
Some people try to discount micro habits as useless. However, these small changes add up to big results if you adhere to them over time. They’re far less intimidating and easier to implement.
Let’s use nutrition improvements as an example. If you want to get healthy or lose weight, you probably dread the overhaul on your diet that you’re used to trying to make. Usually, this extreme change fails miserably.
There’s a better way to implement micro mindful habits with your usual eating routine that will ease you into better health and weight loss without causing you to suffer the shock of a major change.
For example, if you’re trying to eat healthier, you might go to your favorite restaurant and feel the urge to order your traditional meal on impulse. But with a bit of micro mindfulness involved, you’ll be able to look back at how that meal has affected you in the past and what you want to happen in the future.
In the past, the chicken-fried-chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy and casserole sides and a large soft drink has caused you to gain weight. But you love that meal and don’t want to say goodbye to it forever.
Use tiny mindful living habits to make gradual sustainable changes
Instead of thinking about the need to eat healthier for the rest of your life, which can be disheartening, try going about it in a micro mindful way. That’s where understanding how to live mindfully comes in. Take each day and every meal as a separate and new opportunity to do better.
As you analyze your order, you might feel the tug of wanting to stick with your favorite go-to meal. Instead of forcing yourself to say no from the very beginning, ask yourself what you can do to make the order better.
For example, you might make one single substitution – like steamed vegetables instead of the casserole. Or you could ask for sauce or gravy on the side, where you’re likely to eat less of it.
If you’re ordering something that comes in sizes, like a steak, you might get the smaller one. Or…try ordering a single cheeseburger instead of a double. Maybe you make the decision to order it how you want, but you get a to go box up front. That way, you can put half of it in the box to take home for another meal – so you don’t feel deprived!
This micro change in the beginning helps pave the way for new, healthier habits that will last. It isn’t as jarring as having to completely remake your diet from day one, which would likely make you give up and indulge.
Learning How to Live Mindfully Can Improve other aspects of your life too!
You can do the same for other areas of your life, such as relationships, career, finances and more. If your relationship is rocky, maybe you’d make a micro mindful living habit that involves listening more. Try committing to letting your spouse finish what he had to say before speaking up. Or… you could also make an effort each day to give a compliment.
With your career, if you wanted to climb the ladder at work, then your micro mindful living habit might be to spend 15 minutes a day learning something about your company, the industry or a possible solution.
When it comes to finances, if you’re in debt, try this approach. You could commit to giving up a couple of days a week of eating out and putting that money toward your debt. Little changes will add up to big results eventually.
How to Live Mindfully in the Moment
When you’re living life as usual, it’s sometimes hard to even remember to be mindful at that moment. The way most people live today, they’re multitasking – on their phone, handling texts or emails. They are doing all of that while sitting down at a restaurant or working on something at their job.
When you learn how to live mindfully that all changes. The first thing you want to do is remind yourself periodically to be attentive and tuned in to what you’re engaging in. You may even need to set little alarms once an hour to check in with yourself until it becomes an automated habit.
Once you go into mindfulness mode, take a deep breath and clear your thoughts of everything but the task at hand. You want to use all of your senses and allow any emotions to flow through you without trying to stifle them.
Before trying to make any kind of decision, be observant about your feelings and what you see or are experiencing at that time. Don’t make judgments about them, such as feeling stupid for having a certain reaction.
Living a Mindful Life Takes Time – Be Patient With Yourself
Learning how to live mindfully takes time. So, don’t feel pressure to be perfect at being mindful. This will come in time. Right now, you’re just exploring and observing. You’re simply working on mastering the process of awareness so that you truly guide yourself to success.
You might notice that your body feels tense or you feel upset. Let go of the tension and think positive thoughts about the mindfulness process. With micro mindfulness, you can reassure yourself that you’re not going to push yourself to do anything insurmountable.
You want to become aware in that moment and create a safe space for you to assess the situation truthfully and then make a decision based on where you are and where you want to go in life.
Make sure you have a goal and that you’re working to choose a way of living that supports that end result. If you’re distracted by something, such as your smart phone, put it away as you engage in the mindful process.
Give yourself a few moments to relax, focus and open yourself up to the situation. You may find that you need to pause periodically to bring your attention back if your mind feel scattered.
Preparing Your Life for Stress-Resilient, Mindful Living
Learning how to live mindfully is all about living life with intention. Most people never even explore or understand what they want to do. They simply go through each day making quick decisions without careful thought.
Later, they suffer regrets and wish that they’d done things differently. They could have, if they’d slowed down and practiced mindfulness. It might take a little longer as you’re learning how to do it, but once you know how, it becomes a normal part of the process, so it speeds up for you.
Think about your intentions in life for whatever it is you want to improve. Don’t just wake up every day and go to work – think about where you want to be a year from now. Instead of living in a house with a spouse who feels like a roommate, think about your intentions for a healthy marriage and what that looks like.
Know ahead of time what your life goals are when it comes to your health, your relationship, your financial dreams and so on. When you spend a little time mapping out your intentions, it makes the decision-making process easier.
When you’re acting mindfully, you want to be paying attention to what’s happening so that you can take action that will help your intentions materialize.
You want your mindset altered in the process so that your attitude is one of control and positive emotions as opposed to one where you feel like the change is being ushered in by brute force.
Visualize Change & Get Laser Focused on The Positive Outcome
Visualize the change you want to see and keep that focus on the positive outcome. Your attitude is important because you can accidentally defeat yourself if you go into this without believing in yourself.
Feed your desire to be curious about different options. You may have had one way of thinking about things in the past. Curiosity can unlock the door to many unique solutions, so give yourself permission to branch out and be innovative with your mindfulness and micro habits.
Begin practicing positive traits such as forgiveness and gratitude. If your mind is full of negativity, then you might not be as comfortable living in the moment. Forgive others and yourself, and be grateful for every opportunity and blessing that comes your way.
Practice engaging in mindfulness during down times so that when you’re struck with the need to be mindful during hectic or chaotic moments, you’ll find it easier to carry out. Try practicing while you’re driving, when you’re in the shower, when going on a bike ride, and so on.
Dealing with the Discomfort of Living a Mindful Life
The first thing you need to know is that everyone has slip ups. You will, too. So don’t beat yourself up whenever you seemingly fail at mindfulness. The fact that you are observant about it and recognize it later is a step in the right direction.
Your mental and physical self might resist the practice of mindfulness. You don’t want to battle yourself, but instead recognize the feelings and push back and greet them with something that centers you, such as meditation or deep breathing.
Some people try to rush the process and make a change quickly so they can escape the discomfort they feel. Mindfulness shouldn’t be a process you hurry through. These quick fix solutions are rarely the right option.
You don’t have to sit still and meditate on something for hours on end, but at the same time, don’t be in a situation where you embrace your awareness and latch on to the first option you consider just so you can go back to not having to think about something.
Many people find that their initial foray into mindfulness is a very physical and emotional process. You want to learn how to be relaxed when you do this. Find a comfortable position, whether it’s seated or lying down in the beginning as you learn the ropes.
Steady your breathing and make sure you’re not shallow breathing. Pay attention to the sights, soothing sounds and smells around you. If distracting thoughts come into your mind, imagine them as clouds and watch as each one passes by.
Conquer Any Negative Emotions That May Come Up
If you’re being thwarted by an emotional reaction to something, don’t try to get away from it. Welcome it as a sign that’s trying to help you make the right decision. Allow your curiosity to delve deeper into why you feel this way and what might alleviate the emotional turmoil.
You want to see things from a new perspective. Sometimes you’ll tell yourself you don’t have time to be mindful. If your life is so crammed that you can’t take a moment to carefully make a decision, then you need to clear out your schedule so that you can engage in mindful living and get the results that you want.
If the discomfort arises from the emotions that being mindful brings out in you, then you’ll want to have a plan for that so that you don’t quit. Take a small step toward managing the emotion.
That might be recognizing it, deep breathing as you face it head on, or giving yourself permission to have the emotion. The worst thing you can do is pretend it doesn’t exist.
When you learn to engage in small, meaningful micro mindful habits, you’ll be steering yourself toward the kind of life you want to be living – one filled with peace and personal satisfaction.