Mindfulness: The One Habit You Need Now for a Happier Life

One of the most current buzzwords in the movement of self-improvement is mindfulness. Psychology Today defines mindfulness as a state of active, open attention on the present. The actual practice of mindfulness is simple in concept, but challenging in practice. Choosing to view life in a new perspective is like building any other new skill. Starting any new habit takes about 21 days for the practice to become natural. Mastering this new pattern allows you to alleviate stress and unneeded conflict with others.

Mindfulness gives you the power of understanding the areas that cause the most amount of stress and worry in your life. As you become aware of the individual stressors in your life, you can choose how to react to them. Everyone has that one person who can push a button for an instant reaction and generally that includes a spike in anger or stress. Learning to control a response using mindfulness puts you in control of the situation and the amount of stress you choose to allow into your life. Mastering this skill takes time, and even the strongest person falters. Life can be unpredictable, and things happen that you cannot control, never chuck it all in just because of a bad day or even month. Just believe in yourself and start again.

Building a toolbox of skills to handle stress and unhealthy habits is necessary for today’s world. Most of us wish there were a secret pill or magic wand to get rid of the stress, trauma, and chaos in life. You can choose how you allow it to impact your life. Mindfulness is the secret weapon in the arsenal of good mental health practices. Life is overwhelming at times; it feels like you are being swallowed up by world problems and personal letdowns. Even a small change of perspective can teach you how to handle stress better in any situation. For example, you expected to have extra hours at work, and that extra cash was for the holidays. A typical reaction would be to get angry and catastrophically respond to how there will be no holiday because there is no money. Changing perspective would be to realize that holidays are not only about gifts, holidays include love, giving of time and attention. Love, attention, and time have no monetary value and are thus priceless; there is no better gift than having a person you love around for the holidays.

Mindfulness has had a significant impact on my life and how I handle major stressors; I have fallen off the proverbial wagon, many times. When I have that rough patch, I allow myself to process the emotions and feelings and then move forward with finding a balanced way to face the issue. Choosing to face my challenges through a more realistic perspective allows me to remove the end of the world thinking and feeling of nothing going right in my life. Life is overwhelming, life is painful, sad, hard, and hurtful, but life is amazing, beautiful, adventurous, and filled with journeys of love and knowledge that we all deserve to experience. Mindfulness forces me to be responsible for how I choose to build my dreams and goals. Using this daily practice eases the negative self-talk and enables me to be more focused.

Mindfulness has also made me aware that I am much more in charge of my life than I had believed. I started to realize that for me to move forward, I expected perfection in all things. Realizing that I was waiting for all the planets to align before I made my move was prophetic for me, it changed my life. The road I wanted to take didn’t exist, you know, the smooth way where everything works out perfect, and there is no problems or unforeseeable challenges. Learning that my road was often paved, potholed, road blocked, and sticky at times forced me to love myself, period. The person I became is now a warrior filled with passion, love, and a desire to make a difference in the lives of others. I love me and all my great qualities, even the imperfections. In a world filled with filters, selfie sticks, and cameras every 10 feet, I no longer shy away from who I am, I embrace all that I am and all I am yet to be.

If you are interested in reading about mindfulness and how it will improve your life, there are links below. I have added links to beginning mindfulness and links to case studies that prove how effective mindfulness can be. There are even studies that are teaching mindfulness to young children. I encourage anyone to consider the practice and the best methods to use. The websites below are for everyone, and you do not need to have a degree or even major in this area, all you need is a desire to learn and improve your life. Happy thoughts and always smile!

Links:
https://scholar.google.com/ Enter the following keyword phrase: “mindfulness studies self-regulation”
https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness This page also has links to a multitude of articles that advise you how to start and the effective ways the practice improves your life.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3480633/ This is an abstract that tells of a government study that was completed.
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml This is the link to the National Institute on Mental Health. This is the US government site that has guidelines and information covering many topics about mental health both wellness and treatment advice. This site is for anyone interested in learning more about ways to improve your emotional strength.

References:
Retrieved: 12/24/16 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness

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