Mindful Living: 5 Ways To Transform Your Life (2020 Edition)
“Remember, your focus determines your reality.” – George Lucas
Have you ever heard the old saying — miserable people often create their own misery? They dwell on the people who have offended them or the situations that seem unfair. It is especially easy to see this in children. Children don’t have the intellectual capacity to understand the dysfunction of taking on negative words, emotions, or injustices that surround them. One insult from another kid has the power to shift their focus for an entire day.
Recognizing the Symptoms Behind Negative Emotions
Even for adults, sadness, anger, anxiety, jealousy, guilt, and shame are emotions that can take us “off our game” and cause unnecessary suffering. When we spend too much time in these lower emotions, we put our health in jeopardy. In order to move out of these lower energy states, it is important to recognize their symptoms.
- Racing thoughts
- Being overwhelmed
- Loss of control
- Prolonged headaches
- Muscle aches
- Fidgety/nervous energy
- Butterflies in the stomach
- Racing heartbeat
- Lack of purpose
- Feeling lost and lonely
- Seeming insignificant
- Unable to grasp the big picture
- Hopeless and without faith
5 Steps on How to Let Go and Live More Mindfully
With awareness, we can begin to empower ourselves to live our best lives. Here are five steps to help you let go and live more mindfully.
1. Recognize Emotions Without Judgement
Without identifying our emotional state, we can’t change it; instead, we allow our emotions to drive our behavior. Sitting with the thought that, “Yes, I’m pissed right now.” coupled with a few deep breaths gives us a moment to choose our response in a given situation. If we don’t allow for this necessary pause, impulsive reactions can lead to unnecessary conflict, loss of control, and miscommunication.
Suggested Read: It’s Ok To Not Be Ok
2. Be Compassionate
Forgive yourself for your emotions and thoughts. It’s okay to be sad, angry, or jealous. If we’re human, we’ve had unkind thoughts toward others and ourselves. Too often, we feel guilty for our state of mind and may question,
“Why do I feel like this?
When will these feelings go away?
I must be a terrible person for thinking this.”
It is said that what we resist persists. Instead of judging ourselves, accept the feelings and thoughts for what they are–just feelings and thoughts that come and go.
3. Quiet the Mind
When we observe our thoughts, we can see how chaotic the mind is. Lower emotions can trigger the body into a “fight or flight” response, thus signaling the release of stress hormones. By sitting in silence and focusing on the breath for as little as ten minutes, we can restore balance to our system and gain perspective on current challenges.
4. Focus on the Present Moment
Our minds tend to ruminate in the past or future. We focus on past regrets or fear future uncertainties. When we start to notice the patterns of the mind, we can change them. Bring your mind back to the present moment when it shifts into states of negativity and fear.
Suggested Read: Finding Gratitude In Life’s Ordinary Moments
5. Embrace Heartfulness
Heartfulness includes qualities such as kindness, generosity, and gratitude. Research shows that exercising these qualities brings well-being and happiness to our lives. Intentionally work to strengthen these virtues. Before long, they will become a natural part of who you are leading to increased optimism, joy, and resilience.
It is empowering to know that we don’t have to succumb to our emotions or our situations; instead, we have the freedom of choice. Mindfulness infused with heartfulness enables us to effectively handle feelings of discomfort, pain, and loss in a healthy and more balanced way.
Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, wrote, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”