Mindfulness tips to increase your vitality and expand your success habits in daily life
There are many types of research done on the impact of mindfulness on expanding success, health, and vitality. Dr. Ellen Langer, Tony Robbins, Dean Graziosi, just to name a few. The authors took a different path to conduct their research, but came to similar conclusions.:
- Almost all of our suffering, mental, physical, and spiritual - is a result of our "mindlessness."
- The Majority of us are mindless most of the time.
- Mindlessness is robbing us of vitality and success in life
How can mindfulness help you to increase your vitality?
Many of us find it extremely challenging and difficult to cut down on stress—it seems to be a huge part of our busy lives. Society has moved on to more of a mental and less physical working life.
This shift caused spiking in mental health problems. Work (and life in general), became mentally and emotionally demanding. We don't have time to exercise or eat healthy. We sit most of the time. More and more people are overweight, and inevitably, losing their vitality.
I believe that anyone can learn how to manage their stress levels and start exercising and eating healthy again with a few easy steps. I'll get to them shortly.
Mindfulness has many proven benefits. Mindfulness, when practiced daily, will help you to:
- Become resilient to stress
- Adopt healthy eating habits
- Gain a positive attitude towards daily exercise
- Increase body image and satisfaction
- Learn how to balance your life, work/family/' me' time
- Calm your mind to regain the sense of purpose
- Get emotional fulfillment
- Be able to relax more
Isn't mindfulness the same as meditation?
In the Buddhist tradition, the word 'meditation' is equivalent to a word like 'sports' or 'food' anywhere in the world.
'Meditation' is a family of activities, not a single thing. And hence different meditation practices require different mental skills.
If you are like me, a busy and restless mind, you won't be able to sit down for 20 minutes and focus on "clearing your mind".
I prefer mindfulness.
What is mindfulness
Mindfulness is the ability (or quality) of being present and fully engaged and aware of whatever we're doing at the moment. Mindfulness means being aware of our thoughts and feelings but without judgment and without us getting caught up in them.
"Just watch, don't judge"
How can you become mindful?
Being mindful is not as difficult as you might think.
You can be mindful by bringing your awareness to what you are directly experiencing via all your senses. When you exercise, you can bring your awareness to the pavement under your feet, or the cold steel dumbbell in your hand.
When you are eating, you can be aware of the taste, crunchiness, or creaminess of your food. When you listen to your spouse or friend, be aware of their words, their tone, their body language.
I told you it's not that difficult.
"Whenever you bring awareness to what you are directly encountering via all your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, you're being mindful."
Mindfulness and Vitality
When we start paying attention to our thoughts, feelings, and emotions - we will realize that 70% of those thoughts are robbing us of our vitality by creating unnecessary stress and fear.
"Your thoughts are not a secret. Your thoughts are shaping your world."
When we are thinking about being stressed and anxious - we will feel stressed and anxious!
"Where focus goes - energy flows."
There is no place for vitality if you are filled up with negative thoughts and emotions. Nobody feels like exercising when they feel anxious or stressed. And I definitely haven't experienced craving healthy food when I'm stressed. Like ever!
In learning and practicing how to be present and aware, we are teaching ourselves to live more mindfully — in the present. And focus on what is important to us and thus shaping a better world.
I'm being mindful. Why do I still feel stressed?
Mindfulness doesn't eliminate stress or other difficulties and challenges in your life. There always will be 'those people' who will push your buttons with their stupidity or ignorance; or cutting you off in the traffic or not letting you pass. There always will be situations out of your control that will make you want to punch somebody (please don't, it's not worth it!).
Using the words of my spiritual teacher: practicing mindfulness does not mean we never get angry or stressed or anxious — rather, it allows us to be more thoughtful in how we want to respond, whether that's calmly and empathetically or perhaps, occasionally with measured anger."
How can mindfulness help to cope with stress?
By becoming aware of unpleasant thoughts and emotions that arise because of challenging situations (and people), we have more choices in how to handle them in the moment.
And a better chance of reacting calmly and empathetically rather than scream and flip them off.
Being mindful means taking a breath and not being beholden to reactive thoughts and feelings.
Real life example of mindlessness and unnecessary stress:
When somebody cuts you off in the traffic, and you have to hit your brakes - what's the first thing that pops in your mind?
"That mxxxxr fxxxxr, what the hell was that? Are you stupid and blind? What an idiot!" - and you start chasing that person to show him "what's what!"
You've caught up with him, rolled down your window, maybe flipped him off, or yelled at him? (Or her, don't mean to discriminate).
Great! What an accomplishment! You showed this person who the boss is! You slew! Or did you?
From where I stand, it looks like you allowed the other person to control your emotions. So who is the boss? Think about it.
How about a different, more mindful approach.
"That was fxxxxg scary! I'm glad I didn't crash. I'm glad both of us are ok!" And done! You continue your journey without getting stressed or letting somebody else control your reaction and feelings.
I can hear you think - "I'm no damn pussy! I'm no damn pushover! To hell with mindfulness! I'll fxxk that person up!"
I hear you, trust me. That was my first thought as well when I heard my teacher say it. Actually, my first thought was, "Huh?".
If somebody cuts me off in the traffic, I'll follow that mother fxxxxr to his house and slash his tires. What an axxhole! Who the hell thinks he is, cutting me off like that! Why would I be the weak one? Hell to the NO!"
I missed the rest of the class because I was so busy thinking and feeling and plotting about this non-existing person and how he cut me off. My heart was pumping blood faster as I was ready to jump this mofo. I felt angry and stressed - and for what?
Was I 'like a boss' and in control of my emotions?
No! I gave the power over me to a hypothetical person!
When I realized I was safe in my class, I felt like an idiot!
I wasn't aware, and I wasn't mindful, I wasn't present in the moment - I was judging. And I was reacting!
How I gained my vitality back by practicing mindfulness meditation
We, humans, have the tendency to quickly judge an experience - so we can fit it into a box - good/bad, pleasant/unpleasant, love/hate, pain/pleasure.
Mindfulness meditation encourages me to observe my wandering thoughts as they drift through my mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each of them as they arise.
When I practice mindfulness meditation, I'm using all my senses.
I always imagine I'm alone in a movie theater.
I'm sitting in a big, black velvet seat (I feel it), eating popcorn (salt and sweet mixed), and my thoughts and emotions are being projected onto the big screen. I can see them move in particular patterns across the screen.
I'm aware of them. I acknowledge them, and I'll let them go. I don't judge them as good or bad, or pleasant and unpleasant, fair or unfair. I just watch them on the screen (while I eat my crunchy popcorn)
Easier said than done, I know.
But with practice, I was able to be aware and mindful. If I can do it, so can you.
How can I start practicing mindfulness?
Set aside some time and space. - Even 10 minutes on a bench in a park is good enough. Observe the moment as it is. - What's wrong with "here and now"? Nothing Let your judgments pass you by. - Acknowledge them, and send them on their way It's ok for your mind to wander - Don't judge your wandering mind, acknowledge it wandered off, and gently bring it back to the present moment. Keep returning to the present moment over and over again. - This is the whole point of practicing mindfulness daily. Returning faster and faster to the present moment.
The more you practice mindfulness, the faster you will be able to return to the present moment.
The more mindful you become, the more relaxed you will feel - just like being on a tropical vacation!
Can I be mindful and vital while relaxing?
Being 'relaxed' has a huge impact on your vitality. Simply sitting still and relaxing gives us a chance to appreciate feelings of which we are normally unaware. When you are relaxed, your nervous system is working optimally. Lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, and cortisol levels.
When you are in a relaxed state, you sleep better, and you have more energy!
Vitality means "the state of being strong and active; energy."
When you have more energy, you exercise and make better, healthier food choices. When you exercise, your body makes endorphins, the happy hormones. With our energy moving more freely in our system, vitality and strength arise naturally.
Bottom line If you keep trusting and depending on the same thinking ways and habits that got you where you are right now - you will remain in the same spot, the same situation, the same gutter.
But if you practice mindfulness daily, you will see a huge shift in your mindset and vitality. You will rejuvenate your mind, and you will master your emotions. And my favorite result of practicing mindfulness? Training my brain and body to accept positivity!
What do you say? Is this something you want to try? A few minutes of mindfulness for a lifetime of vitality?
It might feel strange and unnatural at first, but if you keep practicing daily, you'll experience an incredible shift in the quality of your life.
I know YOU CAN! Do you?