8 Steps to a Mindful Lifestyle
You have just lost another battle.
You let another opportunity to connect with your child through their difficult times and let it turn into a power struggle.
You knew you failed yet another time.
But how could you win?
You could do so, by first befriending with your emotions.
But if you have spent decades of your life numbing and avoiding your emotions, connecting with them peacefully will not be an easy option.
Despite the difficulty attached to re-coding your brain, developing a mindful parenting approach is a possible feat if you remain committed and persistent.
Here are a few steps which will allow you to incorporate mindfulness as a primary component of lifestyle.
This is the most important step in developing a mindful mindset. If you are going to take only one thing from this list, this meditation should be the one you take.
If you are just starting out on mindfulness, you cannot go far without incorporating mindfulness meditation into your daily routine.
But how do you do a simple, yet effective mindfulness meditation? Here is a concise technique:
Allocate 5 to 15 minutes to be free from noise and interruption. (If you find it appropriate, you can, later on, increase this duration.)
You may like to complement this practice with a journaling exercise.
This step will allow you to have a different type of connection with your thoughts and emotions. Remember that mindfulness starts when you become aware and accept your truth. And you can only acknowledge and accept your truth if you are connected with it.
Journal is a great way to process your thoughts and decide which ones do you want to retain.
Most of the people, nowadays, live in an auto-pilot mode. They allow themselves to be controlled by their momentary distractions, past baggage, and physical constraints.
Most of us don’t know how to use the power of our minds to conquer our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
Some others who do know the trick also know that maintaining a mindful approach to life 24/7 is no easy feat. After all, you have to commit to claiming your power over and over again.
But we can do this by taking baby steps.
The first, and most important, baby step is meditation. Combine it with committing to mindfulness in certain, physical, tasks. Ask yourself to remain present in the present moment during cooking, cleaning, and other household chores.
Before every encounter with children, remind yourself that you will remain mindful of your conversation. If you find yourself easily distracted, develop a routine where you attend your child for small time periods (encouraging independent play in between).
Modern generations are a lot more absent-minded than previous ones. The reason is simple. Past generations had to deal with only 10% of the total distractions with which we deal today.
And all these 90% extra distractions come from these screens.
What do screens do in our lives? They allow us to be passive consumers of information; thus, putting our creativity and decision-making capabilities on hold.
So, if you want to commit to mindfulness, you should minimize all these artificial distractions from your life.
Bring in Play Energy
The best cure for the prevailing epidemic of mindless living lies in increased stimulation of the brain. You have to keep your brain working otherwise the automatic processes will take over your life.
One way to give instant and intense boosts to our brain activity is to focus on a happy, playful goal. (Goals can act as distractions if we attach stress to them. Best stimulators for brains are those goals that we set without attaching much value from real life.)
Let your brain indulge in the present moment while pushing the negative emotion in the background for some time.
Find playmates among people from your age group. If that’s not feasible, play with pets.
Although as parents, you find it your duty to play with your children, but playing with them for the sake of therapy can negatively impact their moods. I would recommend against engaging in games with your kids to elevate your mood.
(Play with them when you are ready and available.)
Learn Something New
Consider it another form of bringing in play energy.
If you are learning something for pleasure, this learning will have the same effect as playing. (By the way, learning should always be playful whether its purpose is to pursue a hobby or a career. Don’t you agree?)
You will be focused and your desire to master the skill will keep your brain engaged.
It doesn’t matter if the people you are meeting are your old friends or new peers. What matters is the mindfulness that comes with face-to-face interactions.
Did I mention face-to-face interactions? Yes, you have to ditch the screens if you are meeting people to enhance your mindfulness.
Another feature that you would like to ditch on your pursuit of mindfulness is toxicity. If the people you are meeting are toxic, your mind will only find new reasons to get distracted.
Choose to live in the present in every moment. Use the help of alarms to remind yourself that you are practicing mindfulness every waking hour or half an hour.
Display visual reminders at appropriate places at your home including children’s rooms and living room. With every reminder, make a promise with yourself to remain mindfully present for the next 10 minutes. Widen this time period as you feel appropriate.
Allow yourself to get distracted. Mindfulness is a happy choice. But it can feel overwhelmingly difficult when you are not comfortable with it.
Flex your mindfulness muscles gradually without expecting yourself to master it in a day.
Allow yourself to fail on this quest from time to time.
Start with meditation and slowly incorporate it into your daily routine. Move it into your physical chores, include in your interactions, and add into your general lifestyle. The practice seems difficult at first but your goal is to commit to it for one day every day for the rest of your life.