10 Ways To Be Mindful And Get Your Life Back On Track

The best way to get our life back on track is mindfulness. Mindfulness comes in different shapes and forms.

Often, we are caught in the hustle, bustle, and grind of life. We move around constantly from one activity to another, never really sure what it is that we want. We try to fill ourselves from the outside in, by constantly consuming things.

We venture out into the world day after day, night after night, disappointment after disappointment, only to start our search again the next morning. This search goes on and on and on, and never seems to end.

However, if we take a few moments to be mindful our lives become much more fulfilling. In Full Catastrophe Living, a mindfulness-based stress reduction program, facilitated and written by Jon Kabat-Zinn, shows how the act of awareness can benefit oneself.

Here are 8 tips for living a more mindful life. 

1. Start Meditating 

Meditation has taught people to be more mindful of their thoughts, feelings, and actions. By staying focused in the present moment people are better able to recognize what they want, what drives them, and when to take a break.

Meditation isn’t just sitting in one place and silencing the mind. It's an active choice, in which we allow ourselves time to exist and create a space for ourselves.

10 Ways To Be Mindful
Image Source: Greator

Two months after the nationwide lockdown many people were suffering from mental health issues, during this tragic year, and sought different ways to help themselves. Different apps found ways to help others during this year.

Apps offered free services for a year to front-line medical workers, first responders, and those who were laid off because of the pandemic. In a world, where too much was happening at once and it felt like being dragged out to sea, we were given the ability to remind ourselves, to take a breath.

2. Pay Attention to Your Impulses

We all have sudden impulses that we act upon. Without even noticing, we add items to our shopping carts, reach for our phones, and eat more than we want. Impulses can hit us at any moment and that's why we need to focus and acknowledge them. You cannot overcome an urge without first knowing what it is.

impulsively scrolling apps on phone

Every morning I used to wake up and reach for my phone. I would scroll through my apps until I was late for work. Now, when I wake up in the morning, I take a moment to focus on myself. I feel the urge to grab my phone, acknowledge it, and then move on with my day.      

3. Slow Down When Eating

Paying attention to what you are eating can drastically improve your mood. Often when we eat, we are on a time limit. We are on a thirty-minute break and already preparing to get back to work. When we give ourselves time to enjoy our meal, we feel better about ourselves.

We do not overeat, bite our tongues, or get food on our clothes. The only time we are truly mindful of how we eat is on a date because we want to enjoy the moment and the company. Take your time when eating to enjoy your own presence. 

slow down when eating
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I enjoy going out to restaurants by myself because I get to savor my meal. I’m not in a rush to get anywhere so I get to enjoy existing in one place. I’m more focused on tasting the food than I am on eating.

It’s helped me lose weight because I realized what makes my stomach feel bad, I know when I’m full, and I don’t try to overeat. Taking your time when you eat gives you the benefits of enjoying your life.

4. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings 

We are never truly focused on how we walk or why. We take it as a given. As Kabat-Zinn states, walking is just falling and catching ourselves. We don't really know what we are doing when we walk, we just do it instinctively. The moment we acknowledge walking for what it is we forget how to do it.    

10 Ways To Be Mindful
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We move on autopilot, without the recognition of what we really want. When we focus on the outside world and not ourselves, we miss chances. When we take time to look at the world around us, opportunities present themselves.   

In the song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” people put too much emphasis on the action of rowing. They forget that it is, “row your boat, gently down the stream.” We are so focused on what we have to do next, that we do not enjoy what is around us. When we stop, slow down, and look at our environment we find that we can enjoy life more. 

5. Start Writing a daily Journal 

Journaling has been proven beneficial for a number of reasons. It helps you keep track of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, which will bring clarity to your life.

writing a daily journal
image source: gettyimages

Reading through past entries will have you identify patterns in your life, confront you on your feelings, and you will know what you are writing is true. Often, we brush off incidents in our lives, but writing them down, and seeing them with a sense of clarity puts our lives back into perspective. 

I journal because there are a lot of things I do not remember. There are things that I want or feel, and I just forget about them. But because I write, I’m able to go back and look at moments in my life, where I knew what I wanted. By looking back on my past entries, I can see that I know what I want. Journaling puts the focus of life, back on me. 

6. Practice Yoga regularly

Yoga is more than following instructions and striking poses. It is about focusing on the body and how you feel. It’s about finding what movements are comfortable for you and leaning into them. Yoga reminds us that our body isn’t a tool, it is a part of us that we need. Yoga gives us a place to express stability and the desire to know ourselves. 

10 Ways To Be MIndful
Image Source: Shutterstock 

7. Sit in Silence

We listen to music, watch tv, and play video games because noise distracts us from ourselves. We are looking for stimuli instead of stimulating ourselves. Sitting in silence helps ground ourselves to our thoughts, feelings, and intentions.

We are more focused on ourselves in moments of silence than we are anywhere else. That is why people have trouble sleeping, they are not used to being with their thoughts.

When I go home from work, I do so in silence. I want to focus on how the workday went so that when I get home I can focus on my life. I am able to let go of events that have bothered me such as offhand comments, stressful situations, and things I wanted to change. I let myself sit with my thoughts and feelings so that I can let go of them. 

8. Put Your Phone Away  

Our phone is a distraction. We scroll through apps, watch videos, and shop online. Our phone has become our second brain. We are not really sure what to do without it, so you should put it away. We spend hours in a digital world, instead of exploring ourselves and our interests. Put your phone away and live your life.

put your phone away
image source: nyt

I was horrified when my phone showed me how many hours, I spent on it. In one week, I spent sixty hours on my phone. The sad part is, I don’t even know what I was doing. I was probably scrolling through apps, instead of trying to create or do something with my life. After that, I only allowed my selves so many hours on my phone a day because I wanted to do more. 

9. Focus on Your Breathing

By breathing with intent, we take the focus off of the world and our anxieties.   When we breathe we do it instinctively, very little to no work is involved. However, when people focus on their breath it helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and tension.

focus on deep breathing
image source: drweil

This is because breathing is linked to our automatic nervous system, which controls fight or flight and relaxation and rest. It is a form of grounding, by taking the focus off of our external surroundings and paying attention to ourselves, we put the focus of our lives back on us.

10. Practice Regulating Your Thoughts 

We are not our thoughts, but we get consumed by them. We tell ourselves that we know what people are thinking, we know how events will transpire, and we know how others feel towards us.

We let these thoughts drive us to the point where we do not wish to interact with others. By question our thoughts and trying to figure out what is driving them, we bring peace into our lives. This is because we are living in the moment and not with our anxious thoughts or fears. 

10 Ways To Be Mindful
Image Source: Self

The Socratic Method is a perfect practice to use for regulating thoughts. The strategy involves asking ourselves if our thoughts are based on reality or on our own beliefs. This method helps people realized their own thought, beliefs, and emotions. By assessing these factors people challenge their assumptions and look for an alternative viewpoint.

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