The Mindful Moment: ProTips For Life

The Mindful Moment: ProTips For Life

May 18, 2018

How many times have you woken up, thrown on some clothes and rushed through the door? How soon after that have you become impatient and overreacted or been frustrated by something minuscule? I’m sure you’re nodding to yourself right now. You had no intention of starting your day this way, but it just keeps happening.

When life gets like this, you can change things up by incorporating a few mindful concepts to your life! Here’s how:

Wake up with ambition

Have intention in what you do, feel, and say. Our brain has two states: the unconscious, which has fast-moving signals, and the conscious, where the signals move slower. When we do not think things through and rush based on emotion, our brain leans toward the fast-paced signals, which we do not completely reflect on. When we rush, our brain knows it has to respond, so when you are not fully focused you let your unconscious react instead of the conscious, which often leads to negative or unwanted feelings. Have words you didn't intend to speak ever slipped out of your mouth? Or have you ever misread someone's intent, only to realize later you've completely missed the ball? That’s the phenomenon we’re talking about.  

Having goals and moving with intent keeps your conscious brain focused and functioning, and prevents your unconscious brain from deciding your actions. Conscious thinking allows you to find self-identity and purpose, things that are beyond basic physiological needs like food and safety.

  • This is how you can start:
    • When waking up, just take a seat. Relax with good posture.
    • Take a few deep breaths with your abdomen. In with the nose, out with the mouth.
    • Now ask yourself; what are my intentions today? What are your goals for today? What purpose will I serve today?
    • Check throughout the day to see whether you are striving for or achieving these goals.

Enjoy each bite

Why, as humans, are we especially rushed during meals? Society makes it seem as if eating is almost unproductive. Eating is one of the most pleasurable human activities. So why do we constantly catch ourselves gobbling up a plate of food before we even knew it existed? We need to eat more mindfully.

  • This is how to do it:
    • Ask yourself: am I actually hungry, or are just eating for the sake of eating? Listen to your body. Many times, I catch myself eating when I'm bored, just for the sake of doing something.
    • Before you take your first bite, take a deep breath and drink a glass of water. This allows you to relax and slow your mind down. It allows you to refocus and consciously eat your meal.
    • Let the first bite guide your next bites. Chew your food and enjoy the flavors and the nutrition it provides.

More information on the benefits of slow eating can be found here.

Take a break

Life is so busy that most of it is done on autopilot. This is because we consistently go through the same routines. Our mind establishes a set of actions and reactions. It’s easy for our body to keep repeating the same steps over and over. Taking a break allows for that mundane process to be broken. This is how you incorporate change into your life. When you are trying to fix something, you don’t repeat the same steps over and over – you try new ideas. Being mindful is the opposite of being on autopilot. The more time you spend being mindful, meditate, relax, ambition, break, lunchmindful, the more likely it is that you’ll create positive change in your life.

Taking breaks allows you to rethink what you are about to do and remember what you’ve accomplished. This is one way to go from the fast brain to the slow brain and continue your day with intention. Shifting the balance from what you subconsciously do to what you intend to do gives you the power of self-control; that’s why it is important to take a break and reground yourself. Creating change starts from taking a break from the usual.

  • Here’s how to start:
    • Do you want to wake up early? Put the alarm clock or cellphone somewhere that requires you to physically get up and turn it off.
    • Establish new cycles. Start with something simple. For example; instead of saying “hello”, ask “how are you?”, or before you answer your phone, take a nice deep breath.
    • Set a new goal after one is accomplished. Take a break to determine what has already been achieved, then put an objective in its place. This way, you’re always moving forward.

Don’t drive yourself crazy

There is a reason why patience is a virtue. Not everyone has it, and those who claim they do can always use a little extra. (Everyone enjoys rush hour, or that random traffic jam, right?) While most people get built up with rage and frustration that serves no purpose, you can use this time more wisely. Remember about taking a break and coming off autopilot? Or the concept of the fast brain and slow brain? Use this time mindfully. There’s nothing you can do about traffic, but you can just as easily meditate as scowl the yelling gentleman next to you. Take this time to either relax with some deep breaths or plan what you will be doing in the office today.

  • Here’s how to start:
    • Take a deep breath and look around you. Everyone in the traffic jam is in the same situation. It is not in your control.
    • Think about what you need at this present time. Take a drink if you’re thirsty, or sip your coffee if you’re tired. Stretch your neck, arms, or whatever you feel is tense.
    • Mentally plan your day, and leave some room for unexpected events.  
    • Finally, take one last deep breath and go with the flow. You can turn on the radio, listen to a new song, or get an update from the news.

Exercise

We cannot stress the importance of physical health. You need a healthy mind and body to feel whole and happy. Running is great for your body. Sign up for the gym, buy some weights, or watching videos about bodyweight workouts are all great ways to start. We may not be able to control all our physical characteristics, but exercise is a great way to improve some of them. You don't have to just focus on burning calories. You can focus on conditioning your body, mastering finesse, or just simply enjoying the moment. Not only are you improving your health; you’re also learning more about your physicality. Working out also provides some time for yourself, away from the stresses of society.

  • Here’s how to start:
    • Know why you are doing it. Is it to get stronger? To look better? Or do you simply enjoy the health benefits exercise brings? It doesn’t matter what your intention is, as long as you know why YOU are doing it.
    • Make sure to stretch and warm up. Warm up your muscles every time by stretching or some light exercises. Don’t forget to stretch after your workout as well. This works wonders to prevent injury. The last thing you want is to have lower back pain your first week into exercising.
    • Challenge yourself. Don’t get stuck doing the same workout every week. Change things up a bit. There’s nothing worse than being the person who always skips leg day.


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