By Sandra Delgado
Featured in Omm Collective Archive
The idea of mindful living is prominent in the new millennium. It is based around mindfulness, which is the energy that allows us to recognize that happiness is already present inside us. However, it is usually covered up by stress, depression, worry, and unconscious awareness. Mindful living allows us to create a more peaceful and harmonious lifestyle in our fast-paced world. Mindfulness is learning to arrive in the here and now, by learning to remain non-reactive to the emotions that are currently happening. Our culture spends an enormous amount of time maintaining the physical body by working out at the gym and eating local organic foods (being optimistic). Why not put more effort into nurturing our mental bodies/our minds? Here are a few simple ways to teach you how to create daily peace, which is the pathway to a mindful life. By developing daily intentions, slowing down, and doing what you love, you can learn how to focus your inner happiness and listen to your heart’s deepest desires; then we can cultivate healthy ways of a mindful life!
Sustaining mindfulness requires some discipline, self-love, and perseverance. The science of mindfulness tells us we are building neuroplasticity. In a nutshell, your brain functions change when exposed to new information in order to retain that information. Basically, you're making wiser conscious choices over a longer period of time, neuroplasticity allows you to improve itself for efficiency. What a fantastic reminder that we have the necessary tools built inside ourselves to change our moods, thoughts, environment, over-reactions, and emotions. We have behaviors with skill-building capacities to create whatever we envision. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural pathway connections throughout life. If you are mindful about your likes vs dislikes and learn to discriminate between them you are teaching yourself how to pay closer attention to what you love out of life, therefore creating a wholehearted reality. Learning to be more mindful will also activate the parasympathetic nervous system, not the stress system of a fight, flight, or freeze. When we develop awareness through meditation, focused breathing, and doing what we absolutely love—daily—we teach our mental bodies to automatically respond with ease and awareness. Here are a few suggestions to get you on the right track to a harmonious life.
First, start by making a daily intention - state to yourself that you are going to dedicate more quality time to your mental body by slowing down. Make a weekly vow that you are going to take one activity off your to-do list, and just enjoy being with family, nature, or a romantic novel. In Yoga we call this intention a Sankalpa: it’s an inner promise that you are going to keep. A good example could be, “Today I will remain calm, and grateful for all that is.”
Second, dedicate five conscious minutes to a simple breathing meditation. This helps you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, and this allows true relaxation. Before you begin, find a comfortable place where you can sit upright; maybe in a chair or on the couch with your ankles under your knees. Set a timer for five minutes; try the insight timer app. It’s a wonderful resource of meditations. Once you are comfortable and undisturbed, close your eyes. Take a few minutes to focus your attention on your breath. Breathe in and count silently to five, then breath out and count silently to five. Attempt this focused breath for a few minutes. Then ask yourself, “What’s my intention today?” Honor what comes up in your heart and repeat it three times. To finish your breathing meditation, state two things to yourself that you are grateful for, and let one of those be your breath. The breath is your teacher; observe this automatic rhythmic breath daily and connect often.
Lastly, learn to do what you love. Do you know what you love? What do you truly enjoy doing, repeatedly? If you have a family, and are working on mindful parenting do this together after dinner and affirm you’ll do these things that everyone loves together. Start with something simple, then work your way up to the daily task that you love most deeply, and do them wholeheartedly. When you carve out time to do these things daily, you build muscle memory in the brain to take note of your nostalgic feelings when they are at ease. Each time we create space to become more aware of the present moment, we are building new neurons in the brain that teach us how to re-train that old boring patterned mind out of conditioned habitual thoughts that no longer serve you. Paying attention to what we love is a fun way to bring new healthy habits into our daily choices.
Many Blessings to you, may your dreams be realized and your life full of mindfulness which inevitably is true peace, our natural state. Now off you go with your fancy pen and paper to make a list of the things you love!