Mindfulness is paying attention in a special way. It's noticing what's going on inside of you, what's going on outside of you and then making a choice on purpose. Let's dive a little deeper.
What's Going on Inside of You
This includes your emotional state, your physical state and your mental state. It takes practice but you can learn to monitor each of those things. You might be feeling overwhelmed emotionally and physically drained. Or maybe your brain is really active but your body is trying to sleep. When we can start to connect with each of those parts of ourselves we build self-awareness. The key is to observe those things without judging them. Just gently notice.
What's Going On Outside of You
What relational, cultural, environmental factors are influencing you right now? Did you just get in an argument with a spouse or co-parent? Are you at the end of a very long two years of pandemic living? Is your space cluttered and disorganized? All those things influence your ability to act intentionally in the present moment. Again, notice without judging.
Making a Choice on Purpose
If you're feeling drained but your kids are asking you to get out the 103 piece puzzle and help them put it together, that might not be the best fit for you right now. You could suggest getting out the craft supplies and letting everyone be creative (you included!) or watching a movie together with some popcorn. Similarly, if you agreed to take dinner to a friend and feel emotionally frazzled at the end of a long day, maybe it's time to order in pizza for both of you. Making a choice in purpose means honoring all the aspects of our experience and trying to act in a way that respects ourselves and those around us.
Sound overwhelming? It takes practice.
Mindfulness enables us to get better at "seeing" all those different parts of ourselves and our situations. When you practice mindfulness regularly, you're able to quickly access the awareness of your mental, emotional and physical state and be aware of how those factors interact with your relationships, environment and culture.
While it takes time to fine-tune your awareness in this way, the result is less overwhelm and more integrity because you're responding to life within your capacity. To learn more about mindfulness, join my weekly Mindful Wellness Class where we apply these principles to everyday situations and enhance our ability to respond intentionally to anything life throws our way!