Have you ever had a second thought about what is happening right now? Become more cognizant of the thoughts you are having revolving around your moment? How you feel, what is occurring in your surroundings, how you are interpreting your immediate situation? And when you take that moment to take care of your thoughts, to make yourself completely present, how does it in turn affect your mind?
All of the questions that I have posed are ones that I am going to answer over the next 30 days through my new 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge!
So, what is mindfulness?
Well, according to our friends at Mindful.org:
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Mindfulness is a practice that brings us back to reality, brings us back to the now to bring us into a future with a collected mind and spirit. Mindfulness is what ensures that we are taking in our world and not reacting, but responding to it. Mindfulness gives us the ability to take things in around us in a purer sense than we once were able to and gives us a dose of real-time updates: no filter, no-nonsense, no BS, the Real Deal.
Over the next 30 days I plan on challenging myself to become more mindful by practicing specific mindfulness exercises each day with a specific focus in mind.
What’s the plan?
Bright and shiny (in the morning):
I will be practicing self-affirmations. I will be reciting (out loud and in the mirror) purposeful phrases that I believe to be true, but so often do not give myself credit for. Through this practice I seek to acknowledge the thoughts I have about myself and, in turn, will move to shape them more positively.
Overall, I have a pretty decent attitude about myself, but it could definitely use some work. No matter who you are, the world has a knack for trying to chip away at your self-esteem (unless you’re a narcissist and think the world owes you, then you’re probably fine.) But, most of us could use a “You’re smart!” and a “You’re just plain, spankin’ awesome!” now and again. And, even better when it comes from ourselves. That’s the plan, to pump myself up for the day with a good ole’ pep talk in the mirror. I’ll be ready to kick some tookus and eventually some of the stuff that is harder to say to myself will become that much easier, because I am worthy of my own self-love.
About halfway through the day:
I will be taking a break to listen to a guided meditation. This is by far going to be the furthest stretch for me, as I usually work straight through lunch. Yes, I’m eating, but working while eating nonetheless. So, here’s to taking a real (15-minute) lunch break!
I recently downloaded the Calm app. They’ve got a bunch of free meditations, so I’m gonna’ give some of the stress/anxiety ones a whirl. I don’t have a particularly stressful job, but what I do have is a brain that gets considerably more wound throughout the day. I think this will be a great way for me to learn how to pause, take a breather, and acknowledge what is currently happening right now and recognize that this moment isn’t so bad.
Before snuggling in for bed:
I will be writing in my gratitude journal ❤ every night. My gratitude journal is already a pretty big part of my life. I even have a sign in my bedroom that says:
Start each day with a grateful heart.
But, I’m not consistent.
While I know I’m not gratitude journaling in the mornings, I think that going to bed with a grateful heart sets you up to wake up with a grateful heart. Kind of like the saying “never go to bed angry”, I like to think “always go to bed grateful”. It gives you more reason to sleep soundly and put your mind at ease for some much-needed Z’s. (I think I should give up blogging and try for a career in poetry instead…)
I am a firm believer in positive journaling.
A lot of times people use journaling as a mind purge. They write down all the negative things that have happened throughout their day and never acknowledge anything positive. When I think about doing that, I think about the mindset that I’m in coming out of it. It’s good to acknowledge bad things that are happening in your life, but if you just complain about things, it really doesn’t do much. You’re just stuck in a loop of “this stinks”.
Now, it’s time to be your own spin team.
For example, if you are having difficultly getting along with someone or dealing with a particular situation, instead of going off about how awful it is, you could instead say: I am thankful for the patience I have to be able to get myself through days that may seem difficult. I am grateful for the support system that I have at home to be able to help me take my mind off the things I cannot change and help me to instead look at the beauty I have around me.
No, I’m totally not saying to ignore that bad things are happening to you, but I want to encourage you to try to look for something positive to be grateful for even when it seems like there’s nothing there. If you can’t do that with a particular situation or person (because we know there are just those people in your life that are “difficult”), just keep writing down things you’re grateful for like: being alive, having food to eat or somewhere to sleep, being blessed enough to have a situation where you have the internet and can read my sweet blog. 🙂
No matter what, even when it seems like there might not be much, there is something to be grateful for, you just have to acknowledge it.
So, here’s to 30 days of mindfulness and acknowledging the world around and inside of me!
Do you have any mindfulness exercises that you practice? How do you incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life? Tell me about it in the comments. 🙂