27 Nov 12 MUST HAVE tools for living mindfully
Here at The Happiness Institute our goal is to promote positivity and to help as many people as possible live their best lives.
It's pretty well agreed these days that for flourishing and thriving to be possible, self-awareness and mindfulness are necessary.
Which is why we think this article by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits will boost your happiness and improve the quality of your life…
The focus of my life in recent months has been living mindfully, and while I don’t always remember to do that, I have learned a few things worth sharing.
The first is a mindful life is worth the effort. It’s a life where we awaken from the dream state we’re most often submerged in — the state of having your mind anywhere but the present moment, locked in thoughts about what you’re going to do later, about something someone else said, about something you’re stressing about or angry about. The state of mind where we’re lost in our smartphones and social media.
It’s worth the effort, because being awake means we’re not missing life as we walk through it. Being awake means we’re conscious of what’s going on inside us, as it happens, and so can make more conscious choices rather than acting on our impulses all the time.
The second thing I’ve learned is that we forget. We forget, over and over, to be awake. And that’s OK. Being mindful is a process of forgetting, and then remembering. Repeatedly. Just as breathing is a process of exhaling, and then inhaling, repeatedly.
The third is that mindful living isn’t just one thing. It’s not just meditation. Nor is it just focusing on the sensations around you, right now in this moment. I’ve found mindful living to be a set of very related tools, perhaps all different ways of getting at the same thing, but each useful in its own regard.
I’ll share them in this post, and hope that you’ll consider each in turn.
Why You Should Care
Why bother to spend the time learning these tools? Is it just for some ideal of living a peaceful, stress-free life?
No. A stress-free life doesn’t exist, but these tools will definitely make you more prepared to deal with the stresses that will inevitably come your way.
But just as importantly, they’ll help you overcome the fear of failure and fear of discomfort that’s holding you back, that’s keeping you from making positive changes in your life.
These tools will help you launch your new blog, start a business, write a book, put out your first music album online, find your purpose in life, become the person you’ve always wanted to be.
This is what I’ve found. I’m certain you’ll find these tools just as useful.
This list, of course, is not complete. It’s a collection of things I’ve been learning about, and am still practicing, things I’ve found useful enough to share.
Meditation. Meditation is where mindful living starts. And it’s not complicated: you can sit still for even just 1 minute a day to start with (work up to 3-5 minutes after a week), and turn your attention to your body and then your breath. Notice when your thoughts wander from your breath, and gently return to the breath. Repeat until the minute is up.
Be Awake. Meditation is practice for being awake, which is not being in the dream state (mind wandering into a train of thought, getting lost in the online world, thinking about past offenses, stressing about the future, etc.) but being awake to the present, to what is. Being awake is something you can do throughout the day, all the time, if you remember. Remembering is the trick.
Watch Urges. When I quit smoking in 2005, the most useful tool I learned was watching my urges to smoke. I would sit there and watch the urge rise and fall, until it was gone, without acting on it. It taught me that I am not my urges, that I don’t have to act on my urges, and this helped me change all my other habits. Watch your urge to check email or social media, to eat something sweet or fried, to drink alcohol, to watch TV, to be distracted, to procrastinate. These urges will come and go, and you don’t have to act on them…
…keep reading the remaining items on this great list and the full & original article HERE