“No yesterdays are ever wasted for those who give themselves to today.” ~Brendan Francis
Anyone can be mindful for a moment or two, but developing your mindfulness muscle means that you have to take things to a higher level.
In today’s world it’s all too easy to get distracted from what’s truly important. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you see messages designed to get you to perform a specific action and distract you from the fact that you are already whole.
There are no reminders to be mindful unless we create them.
The responsibility is in your hands. Staying in the present moment can dramatically reduce stress, increase your happiness, and give you bursts of insight that might change your life.
Ever since I’ve started becoming aware of my thoughts and staying in the now, my life has improved significantly, and I know yours will, too.
Here are a few down-to-earth tips on how to become more mindful:
1. Notice your tendencies.
You and I, we both have our unique tendencies that distract us from the present moment. I’m a worrier, so I tend to think about the future and try to solve problems before they even happen.
What are your tendencies? What kind of thoughts tend to rob you of the now?
These questions will help you become more mindful about what is going on in your head, which in turn leads to mindfulness.
A few examples of tendencies that are very common are:
- pleasure seeking
A great tip is to write down your tendencies and how they tease you out of the now. Grab a piece of pen and paper, and just do it.
2. Practice acceptance.
Once you start becoming mindful of your tendencies, it’s crucial that you don’t judge yourself. Practice acceptance and embrace who you are.
The tendencies you have are there for a reason. They are signposts pointing to the areas of your life that need attention.
If you’re a chronic worrier, you need to start noticing whenever you begin drifting to the future. Become mindful, observe your thoughts, and breathe.
We believe our thoughts to be the authority on life, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Our thoughts are just thoughts.
3. Focus on your breath.
Your breath is a powerful and simple way to anchor yourself in the present moment. Whenever you are having a hard time staying in the now, take deep breaths, and focus on your breathing.
You could even count your breaths. Something I like to do is count to four on the inhale and four on the exhale.
It focuses the logical part of my brain on counting and allows me to focus on my breath. After a while I can release the crutch of counting and just be.
4. Question your thoughts.
Your thoughts aren’t always right. In fact, they are rarely right, especially if they make you feel bad.
Question your thoughts constantly. When you start to feel negative emotions, use it as a reminder to examine what thoughts are causing the commotion.
Most people walk around all day letting negative thoughts cause negative feelings. We both know that nothing good can come out of this.
It takes discipline to be mindful, but the rewards are peace and happiness. Even researchers are discovering the power of emotions. Negative emotions not only have the power to make you feel bad, but can affect your physical health as well.
Whenever a negative thought arises, take a step back, and look at if the thought is true.
5. Use reminders.
Another great way to stay anchored in the now is to use reminders. It can be as simple as tying a white string around your wrist.
Each time you look at the white string, you are reminded of the present moment. Are you in the now, or are you somewhere else?
There are no limits to what you can use as a reminder. If you want to take this even further, you can add a new reminder each week.
Start using external reminders such as red cars, billboards, and so on. If you keep doing this, you will be astonished at the results.
6. Be determined.
Increasing the time you spend in the present moment can be a lot of work. If you’re serious about becoming more mindful, you have to be determined.
There will be times when you feel like you want to throw in the towel. You will face challenges, obstacles, and problems.
But if you’re determined, you will get through them. They are nothing but teachers on your path.
When you make becoming more mindful one of your main goals, you simply cannot fail.
7. Follow your passion.
I have noticed that the more I follow my passion and my hearts deepest desire, the more I am able to stay in the now.
I enjoy every second of every minute when I’m working on something I love. My heart buzzes with joy and I feel amazing.
Writing is one of my passions. I love helping people improve their life. It makes me come alive, and it keeps me in the present moment.
Inspiration flows effortlessly, and it’s almost like I am channeling someone else as I am writing. Find your passion and go after it.
Becoming more mindful is done step-by-step. You do not have to go all-in. You only have to increase the amount of time you spend in the present moment each and every day.
If you do that, it’s impossible for you not to become a mindfulness master.
About Henri Junttila
Henri writes at Wake Up Cloud, where you can get his free course: 7 Steps to Building a Lifestyle Business Around Your Passion. He's also the author of Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself and Follow Your Heart: 21 Days to a Happier, More Fulfilling Life.