How to Use Mindfulness to Change Your Life
Can mindfulness be life changing? Many would say yes if you understand what it is and how to apply it to your life. Mindfulness is described as the mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, often used as a therapeutic technique.
There's a Whole Mindful Universe Out There
Your mind and thoughts are connected to your health and happiness. Mindfulness teaches us to recognize our thoughts and separate what is "just thoughts" vs. reality. This concept is key to creating a solid relationship with your own life and putting you in control of your happiness. Mindfulness also teaches you to be calm, breathe and be in the current moment. When you step back from a situation in a calm manner and allow yourself to think clearly about what is real vs. your mind using thoughts to take a situation into a potential state, you can both appreciate the current situation and better handle anything that happens during the day. As Sarah Rudell Beach says in her Huffington Post article, “How Mindfulness Changes Your Life”:
“We spend a lot of our day fighting the present moment, rather than accepting it. Our thoughts are full of I like this and I don’t like that and I want more of this and I want that to go away. We miss out on experiencing the present moment when we spend our energy constantly judging it.”
Mindfulness not only helps us to be in the moment, but we can put the irritating small stuff - the things that won’t matter in the future or even by the end of the day, into perspective. No “sweating the small stuff” puts us in a calmer, more healthy state.
In this mindful mode, we can also appreciate the little things in life. The moments where another person made you smile, where the sun warmed your skin or recognizing happiness for the people in your life or where you live. Life is made up of little moments, so training your mind to take the time to notice them makes you a happier, calmer person.
The art of learning acceptance for the current situation, whether good or bad and to truly experience it, helps you to live in reality and to learn from every experience. Thinking about what you don’t like about something won’t make it go away. But accepting the current state fully can make you see it more clearly, and help you to be a more compassionate person. It can also help you to reveal ways to change your future or accomplish your dreams.
As Sarah Rudell Beach asks,
“what is my relationship with my own life going to be?”
Start small – the next time you are in a stressful situation stop and take a moment to recognize your thoughts and emotions. Notice your breathing and try to calm it. Realize your current thoughts aren’t lasting and they don’t have to define you. For more on mindfulness and starting a practice, read our article: “What is Mindfulness and Should I Practice It?”