Practicing Mindfulness – Five Ways to Apply it to Our Lives

The definition of mindfulness is being aware in your mind.  The definition of mindfulness tells us what mindfulness should mean to us.  But what does it really mean?  How do we apply that definition to our lives?  Here are five ways we can use it to add meaning to the word in our daily lives.
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The number one thing we can do for ourselves is make a healthy morning routine.
Nothing takes us farther away from mindfulness than being rushed in the morning.  Waking to alarms, breakfast, shower, kids, school, and work fills every moment we’re  awake before we leave home.  Making a good routine helps everything runs smoothly, and stops any surprises from ruining the morning.  Remembering to slow down, and laying out everything the night before, are a couple of good ways to combat the chaos. Give everyone a list of what is expected of them to accomplished before they leave for work or school. You will find your mornings running a lot smoother and a lot more things getting done and not forgotten.
 The number two way to use mindfulness is to make good habits.
The more things you can make into a habit, the more things you won’t have cluttering up your mind.  Like in the routine you set above, making good habits helps you stay organized and calm when you need to be.  The old saying is, it takes 29 times of doing something before it becomes a habit.  That’s doing something every day for a month.  In one month’s time you could change your life forever. Start with something small that you want to do continuously, (like making the bed when you get up). Start with just making sure you pull the covers up when you get out of it. Then build on that. Everyday add a little more to it, (fluffing the pillows, straightening the bedspread), until you are making the bed. Apply that principle to everything you want to make a habit of until it becomes a routine. The benefit will be that all those little things that you have nagging at you will get done without any more thought.
The third way is to try to regulate your emotions.
This is a difficult thing for some people. But there is a way to help you get a grip on something that is running or ruining your life. Start by practicing being aware of what your emotions are at any given time. Start with while you are driving. This is a very difficult time for us. We have to pay attention while we are doing this, but it is the most active time that our mind wanders. During a commute to work, on a long trip, or taking the kids to soccer practice leaves us vulnerable to our emotions getting the better of us. Pay attention to where your mind goes and what emotions are attached to what you are thinking. If you tend to get angry a lot, pay attention to what you are thinking about to bring on the anger. The practice is not letting your thoughts go in that direction. When you start feeling the anger change your thoughts to something else. Don’t allow yourself to keep thinking about being angry and letting it grow. The benefit will be less stress and a healthier mind and body.
The fourth way is to straighten your posture.
How many hours a day do we spend in a chair?  Working, eating, listening, are ways we sit day in and day out. We need to start being aware of how we sit in a chair. Practice noticing, when you are sitting in a chair, how you sit. Is your back straight or do you slouch? Do you have places in your back that ache after a long day at work? Start being mindful of the position of your body as you are sitting. Bad posture reduces the amount of oxygen you take into your lungs. Practice sitting up straighter, taking more breaks, and stretch your muscles when you can. Try not to sit in the same position all day. Get a small stool or platform to rest your feet on and raise the elevation of your legs to increase circulation. The benefit will be better breathing, better circulation, and a better emotional outlook.
The fifth and final way is to be mindful about how you eat.
Start being mindful of the speed in which you eat. We all get in a hurry and need to do things fast, but eating shouldn’t be one of them. Eating fast causes problems with your digestion and your weight. We all get into the habit when we need to get somewhere and we are running late. We need to not let that set the tone for the rest of our meals. Paying attention to what emotions you are having while you eat will also help you with number three above. How do you feel when you are eating? Stressed? Fatigued? Also pay attention to what you are putting in your body. Be aware how you are chewing your food instead of wolfing it down just to get it over with. Spending a few more minutes chewing will help save time buying stomach medicine later to combat the indigestion the meal has given you. Bring your lunch to work or bring snacks to eat when you don’t have enough time to go out and get it. That will keep you from trying to eat all your lunch in 10 minutes. Remember to slow down at dinner too. Don’t be afraid to take the time to eat your food. Your body will thank you in the long run.
These are just some of the many ways to practice mindfulness. If you would like to sign up for my 30 day challenge email me at mg@wellwithlife.com. Also if you would like to make a lifestyle change contact me at www.wellwithlife.com for your free consultation.
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