Take a tip from the world’s most mindful people to bring balance and harmony back in to your life with these 8 simple steps
We’re all aware of the health benefits of mindfulness, but how do we incorporate it easily into our lives? Mindful people don’t just sit about under trees meditating, they live in the ‘now’ and create intention in every moment of the day. Try practising some of these successful habits of highly mindful people and you’ll soon be on the road to inner peace and contentment.
Highly mindful people are conscious of their breathing and how it affects their health and wellbeing, explains mindfulness coach Alfred James (pocketmindfulness.com). “Yoga teachings say that the longer the breath, the longer you live. Inhale and slowly count to three, then exhale and do the same again. Employ your entire torso – your nostrils, throat, collarbones, ribcage and diaphragm. Feel the rush of fresh, oxygenated blood fill you with renewed life.”
Getting outside and soaking up the beauty of Mother Nature is one of the most powerful things you can do to bring yourself into the ‘now’ and give yourself a renewed sense of wonder in the world. Studies have shown that walking in the countryside or by the sea helps you to reach a meditative state while research suggests that being outdoors can relieve stress, and improve your energy levels, memory and attention.
The highly mindful don’t try to multitask. They focus fully on each task with complete awareness, one by one, moment by moment. They also take breaks before transitioning to another exercise. “Studies have found that when people are dividing their attention, it takes them 50 percent longer to accomplish a task and they’re 50 percent more likely to make errors,” explains mindfulness teacher Melli O’Brien (mrsmindfulness.com).
“Being mindful in day-to-day life entails non-judgemental observation of the details – whether it’s watching every inhalation and exhalation during meditation, bringing your entire attention to washing the dishes, or really enjoying a good meal,” says clinical psychologist Elisha Goldstein of the Centre for Mindful Living (mindfullivingla.org). Take some inspiration from the small things in life and open your eyes to the universal beauty.
Forms of art such as music and writing have been shown to decrease stress and anxiety and can get you into a flow state of heightened awareness and consciousness. If you want to become more mindful, just throw yourself into your favourite creative practice, whether that’s painting, writing, baking, dancing or even just singing in the shower, and see how your thoughts quieten down.
Mindful people always remember to celebrate the moment. “Be grateful when you’re doing a new habit, and you’ll stick to it longer,” says mindfulness teacher Leo Babuta of Zen Habits (zenhabits.net). “Be grateful when you’re with someone, and you’ll be happier with them. Life is amazing, if you learn to appreciate it.”
“Mindfulness isn’t about being perpetually happy. It’s about the complete acceptance of the present moment as it is,” says Melli. “That means feeling what is here to be felt in this moment, without trying to resist or control it.” Even highly mindful people feel difficult emotions, such as anger, sadness and fear sometimes, but what sets them apart is that they don’t try to avoid or deny these emotions. They acknowledge what they’re feeling. They know that emotions, both pleasant and unpleasant, come and go as a natural part of life.
Understanding that nothing is permanent and everything changes is one of the key habits of mindful people. “When we close our eyes and listen we hear how sounds appear and disappear,” says Elisha. “We’re born on this earth, we grow up and eventually pass away. As we practise mindfulness, we come to understand this and in this way, life becomes increasingly precious.”
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