What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice that allows you to cultivate a greater sense of awareness while allowing you to develop a deeper understanding of thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
When we are facing challenges or difficulties, our internal dialogue can sometimes be our own worst enemy. We may find ourselves caught up in negative self-talk, self-doubt, or self-criticism, which can create a sense of helplessness and despair. By practicing mindfulness, we can learn to recognize and observe our thoughts without judgment or attachment. We can ask ourselves: Is this thought helpful? Is this behavior aligned with my values? Is this emotion serving me well? This allows us to gain a greater sense of awareness and control over our inner dialogue, and to identify patterns of thought or behavior that may be holding us back. We can also cultivate a greater sense of self-compassion and acceptance, which can help us to break free from negative thought cycles and move forward in a more positive and constructive way.
In addition, mindfulness can help us to personally reflect on our thoughts, emotions, and actions, and to become more aware of how they affect others. By taking a step back and observing our thoughts and behaviors, we can gain new insights and perspectives that can help us make more informed choices and take actions that align with our values and goals. This can help improve your relationships with other people and help you feel more fulfilled. Ultimately, practicing mindfulness can help us break free from harmful patterns, cultivate greater resilience, increase emotional intelligence, and improve overall well-being; helping us move towards the person we want to be. Whether you're looking to reduce stress, increase awareness, or simply live a more fulfilling life, mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help you achieve your goals.
How Do I Practice?
In theory, it's simple. Take a few moments each day to just observe your thoughts and feelings without trying to change them. This could be anything from taking one deep breath to a dedicated prolonged practice like meditation. You can also practice mindfulness when performing any task. For example, you could be washing the dishes so you bring your attention to the physical sensation of the water on your hands and the sight of the dish becoming clean before your eyes.
My personal experience has taught me that mindfulness is directly connected to the idea of a 'flow state' when trying to concentrate. Whether it is learning how to solve differential equations or how to play guitar, I'm only making real progress while I'm being mindful. As a personal trainer, I also unknowingly taught mindfulness to my clients for years through the mind-muscle connection.
In reality, practicing mindfulness may feel impossible at first. Your mind will likely wander, and you may feel uncomfortable. This is normal and required to truly practice mindfulness.
Ability and acceptance come with time, not force.
Caring for indoor plants is one of our favorite ways to practice mindfulness. As plant parents, we slow down in our busy lives to give our plants the mindful attention they require. This could be anything from meticulously shaping a bonsai to just checking on a single succulent. Not only do plants give us an opportunity to practice mindfulness, they have numerous scientifically proven benefits for both our physical and mental health. They allow us to connect with nature indoors, purify the air we're breathing, improve our concentration, and increase our overall life satisfaction.
Even with preventative care, mistakes and pests happen. While this may seem like the opposite of a good way to practice mindfulness, it's actually incredibly powerful. Mindfulness is not about control or change, but acceptance. When we take care of pests or let go of one of our plant babies, we're given the chance to be more mindful and happy by accepting our negative feelings without judging ourselves. Appreciating the one on one time with your plant, especially if you have a busy household, can be a great way to decompress and relax. Happy plants make you happy so giving them the best care also gives you good self care.
We encourage you to give it a try each day. Take a few moments each day to simply observe your thoughts and feelings without trying to change them. Maybe journal about them or meditate on them with a breathing exercise. Mindfulness can be practiced with everything we do. With time and practice, you may find that mindfulness helps you navigate life's challenges with greater ease and clarity.