Tips for Living a More Mindful Life

Last week I shared a bit about my own personal journey into living a more mindful life. This week I thought it would be fun to share a few of the tips I’ve picked up along my way. Hopefully they’ll be as helpful for you as they were for me. (smile)

Arizona, hike

Watch a sunset & breathe

Pay attention to your body. I entitled this living a more mindful life, but really so much of life is about your body. That includes the literal way it feels as well as your 6th sense gut feeling. If you really listen to your body, it will tell you what changes you need to make. Some are obvious – ice cream equals very bad equals lactose intolerant (something which can apparently happen rather abruptly as I’ve discovered the hard way); some are not so obvious – you feel incredibly tired because you aren’t active enough (paradoxical much?). I also recently read an article on unconscious body language, which I found fascinating. If you really don’t want to do something or to be near someone, you’re body will unconsciously close in on itself. I’d never thought much about it until I read that article, but that fight or flight panicky feeling is really just my 6th sense/gut feeling steering me in the right direction. I find that gut feeling is almost always more accurate than whatever my mind argues.

Treat yourself. I like making other people happy. I enjoy going out of my way, in fact, to do things for other people. But if you neglect yourself in that process, then you quickly become too exhausted to help anyone. So once in a while, buy the really good bottle of wine or the crazy expensive makeup just for yourself. Have a spa day – at a spa or just at home. Indulging yourself every now and again is an amazing battery re-charge for saving the world! (smile)

Set loose goals. Losing weight, exercising more, volunteering, moving across the world – whatever it may be, set goals for yourself. Write them down – short term and long term. If they require hard deadlines (apply by x date or forfeit) then honor those. But if you don’t have a wedding dress to fit into or a college application/resume to build up, then allow yourself time to accomplish your goals. You aren’t going to lose 50 pounds in two weeks – at least not successfully. And chances are you won’t be able to use that “couch to 5k” program to run a marathon. Build the long term goals into your day in such a way that they just become part of your life. If you can do this, then a bad day is just a bad day – you know there’ll be tomorrow. It takes a tremendous amount of the pressure off and leads to more long term success.

Stand up and move. If you’re stuck at a desk job like me, moving enough throughout the day can be a real difficulty. I purchased a FitBit tracker several months ago and I was appalled by just how sedentary I was throughout the day! Yes, I now have daily goals with the tracker, but I was shocked at how much better I felt just by an extra trip to the bathroom or a jaunt around the block at lunch. If you feel weird wandering aimlessly around, use the printer on the other side of the office or just walk out to your car for a forgotten something. I try to get up at least once every hour just to stretch and rest my eyes. I’ve seen a marked difference in both energy levels and attitude just by making such simple changes. This method is also a great starting point for folding in a more official fitness routine into your life.

Sit. Yes, this seems totally opposite from #4, but the world is all about balance. Sitting at a computer doesn’t count for this – instead sit still and listen to your breathing, watch a sunset, cuddle a furball, read a book, meditate, do something that disconnects you from your computer, phone, tv, etc. for 15 minutes. Whether you do this daily or just once in a while, it gives your body and mind a moment to pause and reset.

Say no. Whether you simply don’t have time or you just don’t want to do something, say no. Saying no rarely has life-altering impacts. Frankly, if it’s something you have a strong gut feeling about (see #1) then whatever the outcome, it’s probably for the best. Have faith that the universe will work itself out – and those that know/love you, will still know/love you.

Say yes. You’re gut knows when to say no and when to say yes. If you feel the flight or fight instinct kick-in, chances are that No is the more appropriate answer. But if you feel nervous/excited/a little unsure, then say Yes. Step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. You’ll meet new people, see new things, and gain a whole new confidence from being brave enough to try. And that confidence is what builds a strong foundation for doing all of the above. (smile)

Do you have any tips/tricks of your own??

2 thoughts on “Tips for Living a More Mindful Life

  1. These are all great tips! I think everyone could pick up something important here. AND, another thing you wrote, in a previous post, that I thought was important, was to come off the guilt trip. There’s too much of that going around.

    I learned the hard way about the subconscious … when it’s trying to tell you something is wrong, but you won’t listen. For a number of years — a very limited period, and it never came back — I suffered from severe panic anxiety. It made my life living hell, in hindsight it’s so obvious *why*…

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    • You’re right! Letting go of the guilt/not succumbing to the guilt trip should definitely be on this list. It’s certainly one of my primary daily struggles and one of the most difficult (especially with my family). Thanks for pointing that out!
      It’s funny how hindsight really can be 20/20. It seems so obvious in retrospect, but rarely does it appear so in the moment. I don’t know where we lost sight of instinct in favor of group mentality, but it definitely feels like a lost art these days.

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