We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what’s wrong in your life, or you can focus in what is right. Marianne Williamson
How Can I Develop a Mindful Practice?
“Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn made this powerful statement. Mindfulness is a state of mind that literally places focus on a single moment – and then another and then another. It is about engaging in a purposeful and intentional practice. Just as with leadership, you don’t achieve successful mindfulness overnight. It takes both attention and intention.
Regardless if the concept of mindfulness is new to you or if you are a wise practicing sage, enjoy where you are in your practice. Be in the moment. Pay attention the sights, smells, feelings, and experiences. Have gratitude. Be aware. Quiet the inner critic. Redirect the ego. If you lose focus, it only takes a moment to become aware – to be present again. Pivot your attention to get back on your journey, have no judgment about the distractions, accepting and observing these thoughts as this is part of life and the process.
Are you feeling an emotion that doesn’t feel good? Anxious, angry or depressed? Feeling like you are out of control?
We are sometimes not even aware of our ego and emotional experiences. We can be fixated because it is what we are used to. On the occasion we do observe our current experience, we often judge ourselves and can’t get out of the hole we have dug.
Pivoting is an easy way to disrupt a negative reaction or feeling, though it takes practice to move away from the addictive emotions we experience. Step one is to observe that emotion and understand, without beating ourselves up that, we need a new focus. Pivoting is a purposeful and focused interruption from a negative experience and replace it with a positive thought or activity.
Step two is to refocus our attention on anything that makes us feel better. And that thought or action may only distract us for a few seconds – but for those few seconds we feel better. The idea is to practice lengthening that time – widening that gap. Sounds easy, right? Sometimes it is, if our emotions are superficial – other times our feelings anchor us and it takes more practice to let it go.
- Listen to a guided meditation (resource tabs have a few that I recommend)
- Watch funny or videos or look at funny pictures
- Think about a nice memory and feel the emotion of that moment
- Read something that is energizing and not related to your negative feeling emotions (worry, anxiety, anger)
- Watch a movie that is not related to negative emotions (If you are angry, don’t watch a documentary on something that will support frustration, or focus you on unfair or unjust circumstances)
- Enjoy a mindful moment of eating – a snack or a meal
- Think about a future event that gets you excited or energized positively
- Journal – write in the moment what you are experiencing with no judgment
- Listen to music
- Pet your dog, cat, or other animal friend
- Volunteer and share your talents and time. It is hard to feel helpless when you are serving.
- Take a nature walk or look out the window and appreciate the beauty
- Write a note of appreciation
- Jot down a list of gratitude
- Walk in a labyrinth or use a finger labyrinth
Do anything that provides you with an opportunity to refocus and feel better. A few minutes of relief is better than no relief.