I decided to add more to my already very busy life by taking a course in mindfulness.
Why would I voluntarily do this to myself you ask? I literally have no time for another class, another course, nor anything that I will have to put time into and/or listen to, let alone a class I am taking that I’m not being forced or required to take. How is adding more responsibilities to my life going to reduce stress?
Here’s how I cut my stress levels to almost that of non-existent.
I recently started a morning routine.
Now, my morning routine can change in conjunction with my day’s demands. If I have work early in the morning, I can and will commit to fulfilling my routine during the day at some point, if I have work later in the day, I do it in the morning, either way, it works!
I didn’t choose to make it a stressful commitment, I chose to let it fluctuate, and it’s changed my life!
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What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is just simply becoming more mindful of your life. That is a great reason to practice it, but what it has done is help me get more done in a day by slowing down.
Yes, slowing down.
I used to be the person that could never slow down. I learned to create my running regime into an actual moving meditation of sorts but laughed at the thought of ever sitting down to practice meditation.
“I don’t have time, I can’t sit still, I can’t focus.“ This was me.
As busy as I was, with three kids, two jobs, and being a single parent, the thought of just taking time to sit down actually frightened me. I was the perpetual shark that would surely drown if I ever stopped to sit down and meditate.
I learned to not drown and instead, changed my thoughts towards my life. I learned that I could practice mindfulness without taking time from my life and not only that, that I am actually the only one in charge of my life.
Who would’ve thought?
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Benefits to Practicing Mindfulness
With this newfound knowledge, I set out to adjust my stress levels first and foremost.
I committed to my mindfulness practice and what happened next shocked me!
- I started sleeping better
- Felt more relaxed all day.
- Had a steadier energy level.
- I felt more gratitude for the people in my life and all those around me.
- Without getting too Esoteric, I started recognizing what an amazing miracle it is that I am here living this life I live and pondering the depths of it.
- More self-awareness and clarity.
- The calmest I have ever felt in my life.
The most love I have ever felt in my life.
The realization that I literally control my responses and emotional/internal environment.
I have more time available now than I ever have because…I created it!
The best thing I have ever done is learn to slow down. I have learned to breathe; that everything won’t explode if I don’t control it.
I learned that life goes on with or without me. It really does!
I learned that since the Rat Race doesn’t need me, I don’t need the Rat Race!
I left the world of high-pressure never-ending deadlines, dissatisfaction with every area of my life, and feeling like I can’t do anything about all the responsibilities I had and the little downtime I was longing for.
Start Practicing Mindfulness Today
I did it, and so can you!
It’s a choice!
When you choose a mindfulness practice, you choose to consciously live your life instead of life living you!
There are many simple ways to begin this practice for yourself and absolutely change your life! I challenge you to begin this practice today!
Below is a quick start list to begin now.
Effortless Ways to Implement Mindful Practices in 2023
☐ Start a meditation practice. YouTube has a wide variety of guided meditations available to fit into any time frame! Even if you listen to it as you fall asleep it still is a tremendous life changer!
☐ Try a yoga class! There are many apps that contain some great beginner’s classes in yoga! My top favorites are FWFG (Find what feels good) and Boho beautiful. These teachers have wonderful free content on YouTube!
☐ Mindful eating. Start journaling your food intake daily and include how you were feeling when you ate. Often, we eat out of boredom or hungriness for something else (attention, love, etc.) Just simply become aware.
☐ Purposeful listening. Take time during at least one conversation in your day to purposefully listen. Pause your response and intentionally hear what the other person is saying.
☐ Become aware of your emotional responses. This is a big life changer! Often, we respond without thinking to our loved ones and can even treat strangers better and more kindly than those we live with. Take a moment before a response to think is this response kind and loving? If it’s not, take a breath and respond differently.
☐ Take a moment to think of how far you have come in your life. If negative thoughts of the past pop in, just let them go and bring your focus back on all the events that had to happen to get you to where you are in life. Look at the incredible networks and people that had to come into your life to be where you are in this moment.
☐ Become aware of, and release thoughts that you do not choose for yourself. If intrusive thoughts appear, just thank them for appearing. This releases you from any emotional attachments to unwanted thoughts. If you find intrusive thoughts to affect your life in a negative way, reach out to a therapist for help. Make this your year to reach your peak of emotional health!
☐ Be kind to yourself. If you catch your thoughts gravitating towards negativity, forgive yourself. Be patient as you make changes in your life. The act of self-awareness and choosing differently can often be a “one step forward, two steps back” process. Be patient with yourself, there is no finish line and no time limit.
☐ Fall in love with your soul. Who are you truly? You are not your body; you are not your bank balance. Get to know yourself. Love your perceived flaws and shortcomings. If there are adjustments you would like to make, make this your year to do it!
☐ Gratitude. Make a gratitude notebook. Anytime you find negativity or despondence creeping in, take 5 minutes to stop and find 5 things you are grateful for in that immediate moment! Shifting your thought process to gratitude immediately shifts you to a place of positivity!
☐ Love. Finally, and most importantly, be love. You ARE love, it is you. To connect to it, all you must do is connect with yourself and your heart. Take a breath, feel your heartbeat. Connect with yourself and feel grateful for the breath you breathe and to be here now. This can be a challenging time in this world right now. You got this! You are so capable and so loved! If you need a reminder, just take a moment to connect back to your heart and you will find the peace and assurance you are seeking.
You can download your own copy of the list above for your Mindfulness Journey for 2023 to get started on these important mindfulness practices.
Watch your life, stress levels, and outlook change!
Here’s to a beautiful 2023!
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Meet the Author
Heather Gonzalez is a Certified Paralegal. She owns Pennington and Associates L.L.C. This business is a freelance company offering Paralegal, Notary, Signing Agent and Field Agent services throughout the United States.