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3 Ways to Achieve Mindfulness

Woman in orange shirt achieving mindfulness
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A lot of us have heard the term ‘mindfulness’ when conversations about positivity and positive thinking comes up.  But do you know what it really means to achieve mindfulness?  And do you know how mindfulness is related to positive thinking?  This post will be about the benefits of achieving mindfulness and how it relates to positive thinking.  My previous post talked about barriers to positivity.  Read it here so you can be aware of the things that can prevent positive thinking and mindfulness.

Mindfulness is being totally aware of how you are feeling in this current moment.  It is being aware.  Being conscious of your emotions, how you are physically feeling, and just being aware of your mind is.  Mindfulness is something used in the context of being happy, joyful, and positive but you can achieve mindfulness and come to the conclusion that the thoughts you have are mainly negative thoughts.  Or you can come to the conclusion that you are emotionally off.  Mindfulness if awareness – an honest awareness – of how you are feeling in a specific moment.

But, of course, what we strive for is positive mindfulness.  So let’s look at a few ways to achieve positive mindfulness.

man sitting near waterfalls achieving mindfulness

Slowing Down to Achieve Mindfulness

In order to achieve mindfulness you must slow down.  We run through life so fast that we do not often slow down to really take inventory of what we feel.  Are you taking deep regular breaths or are you taking quick shallow breaths?  Are your thought coming slow and steady or are they racing? Slowing down and becoming aware of your thought patterns can help you see what areas you need to focus on.  You may realize that you have a tendency to take things more personally than you should.  Or you may realize that you need to become more assertive.  You may even come to realize that your energy is low and that you may need to enhance your diet.   Slowing down to really analyze all aspects of your being is crucial to being able to maximize your mindfulness. 

Jump to Positive Conclusions

It is our natural inclination to sometimes jump to negative conclusions but we sometimes have to force ourselves to jump to positive conclusions and expect them to happen.  I am notorious for always thinking something will end badly and I defend this way of thinking but saying that I am just planning for the worst case scenario.  While that may be true, if I am not careful, I may also be setting an expectation that something will go wrong.  Imagine what would happen if I put as much energy planning for a positive outcome as I do planning for a negative outcome.  Being intentional about having the expectation that things will go as planned and have a positive outcome go a long way.  Training ourselves to jump to positive conclusions will eventually lead us to achieving mindfulness which leads us to having a more positive outlook on life in general.

Feed Yourself Positivity

We have all heard the phrase, “you are what you eat.”  The assumption being that if you healthily then you will overall be considered healthy.    But if you do not eat a healthy diet you will likely feel run down and sluggish due to you not obtaining the nutrients needed to keep your strength up.  The same is true with positivity.  Be conscious of the company you keep – make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who speak positively and negatively.  You must be careful of what you allow yourself to read and hear.  Be intentional with what books you read, what music you listen to, and the conversations you have with people. It is a lot easier to be positive when positivity is continually being fed into your spirit.

man standing on mountain top
Photo by Loyale Tru1ea7n on Pexels.com

These are just a few of the things that you can do to try and achieve mindfulness.  It takes discipline but it is worth the benefits that can come from it.  Here are just a few of the benefits that has been shown that can come from achieving a level of mindfulness.

  • Better relationships
  • Become happier
  • Less stressed
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better sleep
  • Becoming more creative

What else has helped you achieve a state of mindfulness?

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Mid Week Reflection: Today is a New Day

Have you ever tried to work on a goal, and it felt like you could not shake the thoughts or habits of your past? This is me all day long. I can clearly establish a goal but thoughts of “you are too old to start this” or “you never complete anything you start” are whispering in the back of my mind as I work toward my goal. Some people can articulate a goal, work at it, and achieve that goal with no setbacks or barriers. Others must overcome many barriers. Here are some ways to help you push through when you come upon these barriers and setbacks.

  1. Get the lesson and move forward. Some of us are guilty of not moving forward because we are too busy looking back. The only good reason to look back is to get the lesson. You run the risk of being pulled back into past behaviors when you continually look back. Once you get the lesson, move forward and do not look back so you can achieve your goal.
  2. Stay focused. Setbacks are inevitable so it is vital that you remain focused. Remember why you set your goal and stay focused on that. Be intentional and remember the reason you set the goal in the first place.
  3. Let go. If you find that something is holding you back from reaching your goals, let it go. I would even go as far as to say let go of any person who is holding you back. Achieving your goal is bigger than any negative thought, person, or habit.  If the thought, person, or habit is not helping you make steps towards achieving your goal, them you need to let it go.
  4. Eliminate negative self-talk. We can sometimes be the cause of our own setbacks.  Our own thoughts can be our biggest enemy when we are trying to achieve a goal and do more for ourselves.  Be conscious of your thoughts.  Replace negative thoughts with positive ones as soon as a negative thought begins to push its way into your mind. This one takes practice but will make a world of difference once you master it. Check out my previous post on negative self-talk here.

Setbacks are normal when working towards a new goal so be gentle with yourself. Today is a new day where you can shake old thoughts and habits and establish new ones. Hopefully, these tips can help you conquer the obstacles that stand between you and your goal. What else would you add to this list?

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Be Kind to Yourself: Eliminating Negative Self-Talk

18 Mar 2005 — Young Woman Looking out the Window — Image by © LWA-Sharie Kennedy/Corbis

 “I am too old to start a new career.”

 “I won’t be selected for this new position, so I will not even apply.”

“I am not going to be able to maintain this new workout regimen, so I will not even start.”

Many of us have either thought or verbalized statements like these at some point.  These are the thoughts that we have when we are at the point where we have to make a decision and self-doubt begins to creep in. These are the thoughts that prevent you from living your dreams. These are also the thoughts that keep you living in your comfort zone when you have the potential to do so much more.  This was my story for a very long time.  I cannot even begin to tell you the many opportunities that have passed me by due to thoughts like these drowning out all of the positive thoughts and encouragement that I was receiving from those around me. 

I would often try my best to move forward although these thoughts were swirling around in my head, but it would be extremely difficult because one of two things would happen.  One thing that would happen would be that I would move forward with whatever I was hesitating to do but I would do it half-heartedly.  In other words, I would go through the motions but would not put much effort into it because I did not believe that I would be successful at it anyway.  The other thing that would happen is that I would sabotage myself by talking myself or overthinking myself out of the opportunity.  I would allow these thoughts to take over to the point where I would consciously make decisions that would all but guarantee that I would not be able to take advantage of the opportunity.

 I still sometimes battle with these types of thoughts but here are a few of the things that I do to stop them before they take over to the point where I miss opportunities.

1.Feelings Are Not Facts.  When you are feeling like you are not deserving of or should not pursue an opportunity, that feeling is very real to you at that moment.  The feeling is real to the point that you will debate on whether you should go after the opportunity that has presented itself.  Always remember that feelings are based on what you feel while facts are based on what is known to be true.  This sounds simplistic but it is easy to confuse the two.  At the age of 40 or 50, you may feel that it is too late for you to embark on an entirely new career or go back to school.  Yet our news feeds are filled with stories of 80 and 90-year-olds that have just received their high school diplomas or college degrees.  We always hear about people have overcome immeasurable odds to start families, businesses, and careers.  We see all of these examples and think how wonderful it is that these individuals accomplished these great feats but for some reason we allow our thoughts to make us think that we cannot accomplish things as great as this or greater.  I have often felt that I am too old for this, have too much going on for that, or am just not qualified to do the next thing.  And when someone would point to someone with a similar set of circumstances to mine and as an example of how I could do something, I would just dismiss them and just say, “Well, that is them.  I can’t do that.”  But the reality is that that statement reflected my feelings, not the facts.  Everyone has some set of circumstances that could make anything hard but if you have been blessed to see another day then you have another opportunity to do something different – despite how you feel.

2. Would You Say This to Your Child? We often have so many inner conversations with ourselves during the day that we do not realize how many of these thoughts are negative and downright mean.  My daughter, who is a junior in high school, came to me after not doing as well as she thought she should have done on her very first test in one of her AP classes.  She was so disappointed and was even contemplating dropping the class because she was finding it difficult to understand the material.  I went into full supportive parent mode as I told her that she was more than able to handle the class or she would not have been recommended for it.  Also, I reminded her that she cannot define her whole experience in the class based on the first test that was taken when she was still getting a feel for her teacher’s teaching style and testing style.  A few weeks prior I had changed positions at work and was having a challenging time adjusting since I had been in my previous position for several years.  Even though everyone at work was very encouraging as I got settled into my new role, I was my biggest critic.  I would have never said to my daughter those things that I was saying to myself.  To my daughter and others, I am very encouraging and supportive but I was degrading and harsh with my own thoughts.  Now that I have become more conscious of this, I try to filter my thoughts by asking myself if this thought is something I would say to someone I love or care about.  This normally helps me put a positive spin on a negative thought. 

3. Try Not to Overthink.  Overthinking is the death sentence of so many dreams and aspirations.  Before you can set a goal in your mind for any significant time, you are thinking about every single thing that could go wrong and one negative thought leads to the next negative thought.  I cannot begin to tell you the many books and ideas for books that never saw the light of day because I had more reasons why I should not pursue being an author than why I should just go for it.  The act of overthinking can paralyze you to the point where you cannot even visualize anything better for yourself.  I have learned that the best way to overcome overthinking is just to go for the thing that you are hesitating to do.  This is much easier said than done but sometimes you have to move forward despite the negative thoughts.  I almost did not start this blog because of my overthinking.  I had all sort of thoughts – What if nobody likes it? What if it is not good?  I have never done this, what if I do it all wrong? What if I cannot maintain it? With all of these thoughts going through my head, I published my first post.  It was not easy but I did it and I am proud of myself for doing it. And you will be proud of yourself for stepping out and starting something that you almost talked yourself out of.  Overthinking will keep you in your comfort zone and almost guarantee that you will be unable to move forward with any goals or dreams that you have for yourself.

The goal is to always strive to be a better version of yourself and sometimes that may mean stepping out of your comfort zone.  So many times we could get so much further if we just got out of our own way.  Hopefully, this post will assist you in eliminating those negative thoughts that hinder you from growing and accomplishing all that you are capable of. 

Comment below as to the different things that you do to combat negative self-talk.