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Explore the Secrets for a Mindful Living

Updated: Mar 4

There is wisdom in the saying “we are human BEINGS, not human ‘doings’”. Falling for the 24/7 mentality that tries to have you constantly doing things makes time spin around faster and faster. It takes the air off your chest and the focus off your mind.

Infographic showing "Mindful Living" as four main actions: BEING present, defining your success, accepting the past, and driving to the future.
"Mindful Living" is BEING present, defining your own verssuccess, accepting the past, and driving to the future.

Mindful living is to stay present in the moment, making sure you are not trapped in the past or absorbed in anticipating the future. Here some of the benefit you can get from choosing a mindful living:

  • Reduced stress

  • Decreased anxiety and burnout symptoms

  • Improved Relationships

  • Reduced emotional reactivity

  • Improved physical and mental health

  • Improved sleep

  • Increased productivity

  • Improved attention

  • Increased your resilience

  • Increased awareness

Tip #1 - Apply these 7 Ways of BEING Present

In order to be mindful, you need to take brakes. You need to intentionally be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations in your body, accepting them just as lights in your dashboard. You need to challenge yourself to define your own vision of success while having courage to take the wheel and drive your life. Here some actions you may try:

  • Stay in touch with your breathing  Practice to take a couple of minutes during the day to stay in touch with your breathing and the sensations of your body.

    • Stop what you are doing for just on minute to focus your attention on your breath. The movement of your body, how your chest rises and falls and how your belly and lungs expand and contract.

    • Pay attention to the pattern and keep breathing in the same way for at least 5 more times.

  • Develop the practice to be aware of your current experiences We are too used to find yourself thinking new ideas, recalling memories, and reacting to stimulus around that you are not conscious of them. So, at least once a day you may choose to stop for a moment:

    • Do nothing but pay attention to the thoughts that jump into your mind without judging them. Your only goal is to be aware of them.

    • As soon as you notice the first one, you just breath, allowing it to go while noticing the new one

    • Repeat for two to three minutes and you notice they would start coming in a reduce amount and stay in you mind for a bit longer. You are more conscious of them and may notice you are feeling more relaxed.

  • Try to stay at peace with the ever-changing circumstances This is related to the previous one. Those ever-changing ideas in your head and demanding in your mind are a source of great pressure. It is a good idea to try to repeat the "Serenity Pryer" a couple of times during your day. It is a simple way to put in practice the power of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

    • " accept the things I cannot change, have the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

  • Reduce your screen time

    • You could set a timer for your social media activities.

    • For having fun you may plan for activities like board game nights, pooling, or bowling

    • With people you are close you may try start talking instead of chatting

    • You may try to read physical books about topics you are interested in

  • Slow down One healthy practice for you could be slowing down when eating so you savour your food. For example: during your morning and afternoons give yourself a 10-minute break to enjoy a healthy snack you really like:

    • How it looks? Its colour, its elements, its shape...

    • If your snack is a finger food, take one piece at the time and notice its texture

    • Try to identify its smell. Is there any memory that comes to your mind?

    • Put the first piece into your mouse while paying attention to its taste

    • Enjoy the rest of your snack, one bite at the time

  • Avoid multitasking Multitasking is so overrated! It is the opposite of a positive habit for our brain.

    • Avoid multitasking. Instead pause before moving onto something new.

  • Take at least 10-minute walk, 30 will be even better

    • Take a 30-minute daily walk is considered an effective and easy practice to improve your mental and physical health.

    • You may combine your walking with a guided mindful meditation to improve the mental health impact of this practice

    • You may also walk your dog and when possible try to spend time in nature.

Tip #2 - Define Your Own Version of Success

The definition of success is personal. When let others impose theirs own on us, achieving it may bring emptiness rather than fulfilment and joy. This is why it is so important to craft your own version of success. Here some suggestions:

  • Define your aspirations in terms of meaningful life goals and ensure they are connected to your core values

    • Meaningful goals are those that bring intrinsic motivation and make you feel more authentic with yourself.

    • Intrinsic motivation is explained by self-motivation theory as the incentive we feel to complete a task or achieve a goal for its own sake, which means simply because we find it interesting or enjoyable.

    • Your core values are meant to be deeply rooted on your actions and the choices you make. When they are also related to your character strengths, your life goals can be even more meaningful and only pursuing those goals can increase your well-being.

  • Connect your life goals with something greater than yourself. We are social creatures committed to transcendence

As Dr Margie Warrell said in her article on Forbes:

Research shows that people who have connected to a purpose that is greater than themselves-- bolstering their ego­ or furthering their power -- are happier, more contented, enjoy richer relationships and are more resilient in the face of adversity than those who haven’t.
  • Break each goal into smaller milestones, knowing that they can evolve across your journey You may imagine way to facilitate setting goals is imagining you are already in the future and looking at your life then. You can write a letter to your future self 30 years from now, while looking forward and visualizing how your life would look like at that stage. What goals did you set when you were younger? Out of those goals, which ones did you achieve? Of the things that you have accomplished in your life, what are you most proud of and bring you great satisfaction? Use the answers to those questions in the future as a way to help you define your goals and action steps in the present.

  • Be ready to use your strengths and keep going, but at your own pace. It is a journey, not a race

  • Be patient and appreciate your journey. In the end, you just need to feel good about your choices and what you were able to achieve

Tip #3 - Accept the Past and Leave it There

We humans naturally recall more negative than positive experiences and they can harm you as long as you keep them vivid in your mind. So:

  • When traumatic experiences and regrets come to your mind, remind yourself to focus on what you have learned. Also, try to forgive yourself and others for any inflicted harm and pain.

  • When deciding to move on many feelings arise. Accept all of them, including anger, and sadness. But remind yourself to appreciate your growth and the resilience you have built from it.

  • Finally, actively remind yourself to savour the good. There is some good in any experience and we need to find it in order to bring light into your future.

Tip #4 - Drive to Your Future, but Focused on the Present

In life, like on the highway, we need to pay attention and focus on the present. We have set your destination. But we need to pay attention to weather and road conditions, traffic signs, and other drivers. 

Life is not a straight line. Like the highway, it is full of twists and turns, exits, ramps, and overpasses. Even with a clear destination in mind, events and the choices you make impact when or if you get there.

While living, same as with driving, do not be so focused on “getting there” that you forget to “be here.” Intentionally, try to enjoy the ride and the positive around you. On the route you may take the opportunity to eat at that cute local place. In life you ensure to take time off to talk to that friend or to play with your child. Appreciate the good in your trip and savour the good in your life. 

The whole journey may seem like a long one. But remember that you only drive one kilometer at a time. Trust in yourself and in that you will be able to manage the challenges and opportunities ahead. Trust that your wiser and more mature future self will be capable of making sound choices as you go.

Maybe you miss your exit and end up driving for a while before you can correct the course. Maybe you want to pull over and rest, but there’s too much traffic. Or there is an accident and the congestion is slowing you down. Just drive and keep driving. It is your life, not a car race.

Mindful Living brings happiness and well-being

The illusion of happiness as a life full of pleasure (hedonic happiness) contrast what we humans experience in the real world. Positive psychology research found that authentic happiness is more about well-being (eudaimonic happiness). Pursuing meaning and purpose in your life would connect you with a sense of purpose and transcendence, which are essential part of your general well-being. Also, you may develop better and more profound relationships because we would be more focus in what you can give, not only in what you want or you can get. Finally, you will be more grateful for what we already have.

Understanding the effect of hedonic and eudaimonic approach to our life is in the center of positive psychology research, as Ryan and Deci mentioned in their research.

"Current research on well-being has been derived from two general perspectives: the hedonic approach, which focuses on happiness and defines well-being in terms of pleasure attainment and pain avoidance; and the eudaimonic approach, which focuses on meaning and self-realization and defines well-being in terms of the degree to which a person is fully functioning."

In summary, What means Mindful Living?

You can lower the voice in your head saying: “Go! Go! Go!” by reconnecting with yourself and choosing being over doing. That’s mean choosing mindful living. 

You can do many things in a 24-hour period. However, you need to accept that you cannot do everything. So, you need to prioritize. Being conscious of this need brings you back to the present to choose what is important to you in that particular time and place.

Mindful living means choosing to stay present in each moment of the day and doing what is meaningful to you. It also means accepting what has happened and seeing your future as your journey.

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