Take Time for Mindfulness

What do you think of when you hear the word “mindfulness?” For many, the idea of careful consideration or thoughtfulness is conjured up. Interestingly enough, when I asked my husband what was the first thing to pop into his head when I said the word “mindfulness,” he said “steady.” This is more in tune with my thinking which is that mindfulness means intentionality. To be intentional with your thoughts and your actions, to take stock of your mental and emotional health. Aiming to be mindful or to establish mindfulness in your life is, in a way, steadying yourself. Melissa Heisler, a stress reduction expert, wrote in her article on mindfulness for the Huffington Post that mindfulness “means being aware of and controlling your experience. You are in the moment acting, not reacting, to life” (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/what-does-it-mean-to-be-mindful_b_58d8750de4b06c3d3d3e6f35). Obviously, we cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to the events that happen. Regulating our emotions in a healthy manner is important for many reasons: it can help us with anxiety or depression or preventing us from speaking without thinking first (something I struggle with!). 

Maybe practicing mindfulness looks different for you, such as starting your morning off with yoga or taking a walk in the evening to think over the events of the day. I love that Samantha, the owner of The Pheonix Feather, sets aside a specific time in the morning to meditate and prepare herself for the day. This has inspired me to set apart my own time to focus on my breathing and to calm my mind and spirit. When you live a life of constant motion, sometimes the simple act of staying still for a few minutes is powerful! The Calm app is a great starting point for those who want to include more mindfulness into their lives. 

It is important to note that mindfulness is more than just a state of mind — you must actively choose to be mindful. For the sake of ourselves, we should become more aware of our emotions and thoughts. When we’re aware of our internal state, we’re better able to regulate our stresses or anxiety. The Center for Change website mentions that choosing to be mindful can “help us to focus our attention, as well as to observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment. As we become more present in our lives and in relation to others, it can help us to make better decisions, to manage our emotions and to be more fully engaged in life” (https://centerforchange.com/why-be-mindful/).  In order to be fully engaged with life, it is important to be aware of your feelings.

These days, I try to fill my life with more kindness — in a world where its easier to be indifferent to other’s feelings, I strive to be kind. When I start to feel overwhelmed by the world around, I ground myself with finding the good. Sometimes it’s responding to a stressful situation with a peaceful attitude or an intentional attempt to brighten someone else’s day. I love to give to the people who I care about: making coffee for my husband before he leaves for work, sending a care package of bath bombs from the Phoenix Feather (with a chocolate bar or two!) to my sister who lives in Montana, or stitching an embroidery hoop for a friend. In fact, stitching hand embroidery is more than just a fun hobby that I do — it allows me to stop and focus, to be present in the moment. Being present in the moment is at the core of being mindful. What are some ways that you can bring mindfulness into your life? Whatever it is that allows you to be at peace and gives you a moment of reflection, do more of that.