Updated: Apr 15, 2019
Changing your life is as simple as changing your thoughts. Your thoughts are the roadmap that your actions will follow. Change your thoughts, change your life.
What is Mindfulness
Mindfullness is a technique used to create heightened intrinsic awareness that seeks to gain greater control over your thoughts and your mindless actions. Engaging in mindfulness gives your life a greater sense of purpose and control. If you are a person who feels they lack control in their life, succumbs to actions dominated by your emotions and suffers from bouts of depression or anxiety, mindfulness is a useful tool to help manifest more peace in your life. "Manifest" is another word you will hear me use a lot because it is incredibly powerful and begins with this idea of mindfulness.
Mindfulness first begins with awareness; awareness of your spiritual, mental and physical self. This is often a therapeutic practice many clinicians use in therapy, but it is a simple tactic anyone can employ on their own at home or anywhere. Mindfulness is about remaining present in the here & now and NOT allowing our thoughts to control us and bring us back to the past or into the future (where our thoughts tend to settle most of the time). Mindfulness often requires the use of a technique called grounding. Grounding is when you focus intently on the physical; this includes the use of your senses and tangible things around you. They are sometimes accompanied by the use of mantras as well. I will give you an example of utilizing both grounding and mantras as a mindfulness practice below.
To begin, start with your 5 senses, calling to attention verbally or in your mind things you see, smell, feel, hear or taste. Think about each thing-- intently focusing only on that.
i.e. "I smell the green grass in this field. The fresh air. I see the blue sky and the clouds floating slowly overtop covering the sun. They are floating slowly by. I can hear the birds chirping in the background and the trees creaking with the blowing wind."
It is also important to remember that breathing mindfully is vital here. It should be a long inhale through the nose and a deep exhale through the mouth--making the exhale a few seconds longer than the inhale.
The use of mantras during this time can be helpful in reminding you to stay present in the here and now with no worry about what has happened or what has yet to happen. Tell yourself where you are (physically), that you are safe, that everything will be ok and that you need to stay focused on the present; that you cannot change what has already happened, nor can you dwell on that which has not happened yet. Speak life into yourself and reiterate empowering things to help focus on what you can do rather than what you cannot.
Are you walking the dog or is the dog walking you?
This basically means, are you controlling your thoughts or are they controlling you? Are your thoughts laying the proper groundwork for your actions to follow through with purpose, or are they running wild leaving you feeling lost and out of control? Mindfulness is like pulling the leash back and telling the dog to "SIT!" It's taking back control and allowing you to figure out where you are and where you want to go from here. In order to begin mastering your thoughts you need to stop and asses where you are and where you want to go before setting course and taking action.