At any moment, or situation, if you’re aware that your mind is wandering, you’re halfway to a successful mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness is paying attention to everything happening around you.
According to research, it has some quite extraordinary effects on the brains of those who do it regularly.
Through repeated mindfulness practice, brain activity is redirected from ancient, reactionary parts of the brain, including the limbic system, to the newest, rational part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex.
Sometimes, achieving calm has everything to do with starting things off right each day.
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be practiced in the form of a 30-minute meditation sequence.
Mark Williams, co-author of Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World encourages us to live in the moment everyday. “Start living right here, in each present moment. When we stop dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, we’re open to rich sources of information we’ve been missing out on — information that can keep us out of the downward spiral and poised for a richer life”, he says.
When practiced and applied, mindfulness fundamentally alters the operating system of the mind. In less than five minutes a day, you can become less reactive and more in tune with the moment.
In that five minutes lies the opportunity to improve the way you decide and direct, the way you engage with everyone around you.
Most people find mornings the best time to practice mindfulness, but you can do it any time of day.
It can help you select your responses and make calculated choices instead of succumbing to reactionary decisions everyday.
In our distracted world, it is essential for your wellbeing to take a few minutes each day to cultivate mental spaciousness and achieve a positive mind-body balance.
This can be hard but it’s not impossible.
In fact, simple focused breathing can do wonders for you in any situation.
And breathing isn’t the only exercise you can do to reset your mind. Try observing, listening, and appreciating more intentionally, too.
You can be more present in your morning routine, how you work, take breaks and or even how you engage with your spouse, children or relatives.
Being mindful everyday can completely change how you relate with yourself, others, and your work.
If you do it successfully, and consistently make it a habit, you’ll sleep better, feel less stressed, and have more energy.
Count your blessings, lucks, fortunes and everything good that happened today. Each day, spend just two minutes writing about one or two positive experience that happened to you in the past 24 hours.
In Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, Martin E P Seligman encourages use to make journaling a daily habit.
“Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well. You may use a journal or your computer to write about the events, but it is important that you have a physical record of what you wrote, ”he says.
One method of positive journaling is to write just three new things you are grateful every day for 21 days. This trains the brain to constantly be on the lookout for something to appreciate.
This invites your brain to re-live that situation, which doubles the positive impact it has on your life. It’s an amazing experience, don’t miss out on positive journaling.
Shawn Achor, psychologist, Harvard researcher, and author of The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, writes, “Focusing on the good isn’t just about overcoming our inner grump to see the glass half full. It’s about opening our minds to the ideas and opportunities that will help us be more productive, effective, and successful at work and in life.”
You can even journal to capture your reflections on your purpose and how you’re continuing to show up for that.
Over time, you’ll create a record of your life that will provide valuable perspective.
No matter how bad things seem, there is almost always something that’s going right. Mindfully build on that.
What is the one unique thing you are grateful for today?
Practice writting everything you are grateful for every now and then.
Don’t write the same things everyday.
Selecting unique areas of gratitude each day forces you to re-frame your perspective to look for the positive, rather than the negative, aspects in your daily life.
Gratitude has been linked to a host of physical and psychological benefits, including happiness.
One study found that grateful people are 25 percent happier.
So whether you make it a habit to talk about what you’re grateful for, or you write in a gratitude journal before bed, train your brain to look for the good in your life.
It could be the simplest, most effective way to boost your well-being.
Charles Dickens puts this well: “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many, not your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
Before you leave this post, I encourage you to take a moment to pause, take a deep breath, and sense what it’s like to be alive in this very moment. This moment is your life, and yours alone to manage and make the most of it.
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Originally published at medium.com