What does it really mean when someone says be more mindful?
Mindfulness has been coming up in more and more conversations I’ve been having recently. To me, mindfulness is being so present and aware of how you’re feeling, whether it is good or bad. And, acknowledging that those feelings are existent.
I started practicing mindfulness as my yoga practice deepened spiritually-- no I don’t mean religious. I mean spiritual. Being able to listen to your body and quiet your mind. I couldn’t remember a time (before my yoga practice became more than an occasional hobby) where I was able to successfully process feelings of anxiety, frustration, and a general sense of being overwhelmed. Most of the time, my feelings got in the way of me trying to overcome a challenge, which became mentally exhausting. Everybody processes things in different ways, but most people tend to react to situation through their emotions.
There are many different ways to practice mindfulness, and you can practice it in any situation. Some people experience mindfulness when they’re exercising, or some in a coffee shop doing work. Think of it as if you’re taking a step back from life, and looking inwards so deeply that you’re able to assess exactly how thoughts are forming and what you’re feeling in that situation.
It’s so easy to get consumed by anxiety and feeling overwhelmed whether it’s career-driven, relationship-driven or even financially-driven. Those feelings, if they aren’t addressed, can hinder you from focusing on what you really want to focus on: achieving your goals, overcoming challenges, and ultimately, accomplishing your focus in life. For me, I always worry about the what-ifs… what if I had decided to do this instead, what if I never get a chance to travel back to some of my favorite places in the world, what if I don’t get to go back to helping Pete with Darwin full-time, what if I don’t make Forbes’ 30 under 30. Just typing that I felt anxiety about the what-ifs. It’s wasted energy. So, I take a deep breath. And, if I focus too much on those little what-ifs, I’m losing focus on 1) the present moment and 2) the steps and the journey along the way that will get me to where I need to go. It can be mentally paralyzing.
So, mindfulness, which starts with deep breathing and focus, helps you stay in the moment. And, without even realizing, pushing you towards the acceptance of those feelings while moving on from them because you have work to do and some dreams to go after.
For me, my life focus is to find a way to create a lifestyle around traveling, meeting more people, being a writer, business owner/creator, real estate maven, photographer and vlogger. No matter how long it takes. And, I’ve learned to focus on what I can do every single day, through mindfulness, to reach those goals rather than the what-ifs that creep into my head every once in awhile. Deep breaths. Maktub.