Soundness

7 Mindfulness Practices for Better Well- Being

We all live crazily busy lives. The action is nonstop from the moment our heads pop off our pillows. Too often we suddenly realize we are in a state of mental limbo, cruise-controlling our way through the days.

Being mindful is more important than ever in today’s fast-paced environment. With mindfulness, we can claim back the full potential of our incredible intellect. Here are 7 mindfulness practices you should be doing to enhance your own life and every life you touch.

Be fully present when interacting with other people

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Whenever you find yourself interacting with someone, make sure you give them your full attention. Being present is almost a lost art in the twenty-first century, yet there is no better way to show respect when dealing with people. Everyone loves being appreciated, but it’s hard to feel that way when you can sense someone’s mind is somewhere else.

Stow your phone at social gatherings

Mobile devices are easily the worst culprits when it comes to sucking our attention away. Constant notifications, alerts, and vibrations are designed to keep us checking our phones constantly.

Next time you are eating dinner, going to a game night, or otherwise meeting up with some friends – turn off your phone. Whoever you are spending time with will appreciate the extra focus and attention you’ll be able to give them. Don’t just silence it. Turn it off! That way, you won’t have to worry about your Instagram feed or the latest stock prices. You will be surprised how much easier it is to get fully involved in the socializing.

Consider how your words will affect a conversation

clem-onojeghuo-381204-unsplashEvery word you speak will have either a positive or negative effect on the person you are talking to. You should focus your efforts on being uplifting and constructive in your conversations, no matter the situation. Never put other people or their opinions below you. Try showing genuine interest in the things they are saying to you, and respond with positivity and enthusiasm.

Before saying anything, pause and predict how it will be taken

Ask yourself:

  • Is what I’m about to say negative in any way?
  • How would I want to be talked to in this situation?
  • What can I say to show appreciation to this person?
  • Is there any reason to not speak the words I’m about to say?

Being mindful when speaking to other people will help you form healthier and longer-lasting relationships. Keep it up long enough and you’ll cement your place as one of the world’s few great conversationalists!

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes

Mindfulness Shoes

The golden rule of the ages is to treat others the way you want to be treated. Taking the concept a step further is the act of putting yourself into someone else’s shoes: trying to feel another person’s emotions and view situations from the same perspective.

Empathy is a trait that is unique to humans

Through empathy, we have the power to connect with each other on a level that no other animal can achieve. It is a tool you can use to inspire trust, appreciation, and happiness in those around you. The more you practice putting yourself in the place of others, the more you will appreciate the significance of each human life here on Earth.

Be mindful about other people’s existences. Imagine what the whole world would be like if everyone considered each other on a level this deep. You can do your part on a daily basis to help make that dream a reality.

Notice your feelings without reacting to them

Mindfulness Smiling

An awesome mindfulness is practice observing your own emotions from a separated state. Emotions are really powerful, and they can completely take us over if we are not careful. When you feel strong sentiments beginning to grab hold, immediately take a mental step back.

Why are you feeling the way you are?

If the emotion you are experiencing is good, notice what makes that emotion appear. Cultivate the emotion and train yourself to summon it at will.

If the emotion is negative, simply shift it out of your mind and move on to something else. You don’t really have time for garbage like that anyway, do you?

Being able to notice your feelings without reacting to them is a core part of living a mindful life. Viewing feelings from a distance – and deciding the cause and effect of those feelings – is how you learn to control what’s going on inside your head. The moment you have mastered your own emotions is a moment your life will never be the same again.

Breathe deeply to reset your mental state

Mindfulness BreathingDid you know deep breathing is the ultimate mental cleanser? The deeper you breathe, the more you saturate your blood with oxygen – which is used for almost every system in your body. Brains particularly require a lot of oxygen to operate. In fact, they can use as much as three times the amount of O₂ as muscles! With all that extra oxygen flowing to your head, you will be much more alert and clear-minded.

Slow it down

Whenever you notice yourself feeling anxious, melancholy, or angry, take a few deep breaths. You’ll immediately start to feel better. It’s almost magical! Mental benefits include toxin flushing, stress release, and reduced pain. If you want to get serious about deep breathing, look into some deep breathing practices you can add to your daily routine.

Keep a short daily journal

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Reflecting back on a day before going to sleep is a wonderful habit to have. Being mindful of your life’s details will only leave you better prepared and more motivated to dive into the future. Some of the greatest people in history kept a regular personal journal- including Beethoven, Mark Twain, George Lucas, and Benjamin Franklin. If it helped them, it can certainly help you too.

Make it simple

There’s no need to write a novel before you roll over and let your dreams take you. Nobody has time for that. Consider just a few meaningful things you can jot down for the day. What inspired you? Was there something interesting or surprising that happened today? Who did you spend time with and what did you do?

Mindful journaling is a habit that can give you direction and stability in your life. Try it out! Get a small journal and keep it right by your bed. Who knows? Maybe someday it’ll be famous.

Minimalism Art Classic Notebook Journal

Set a phone reminder

Mindfulness Reminder

In all honesty, it’s not easy being mindful. Our old habits and routines make it difficult to implement mindfulness into our lives. A perfect way to regularly practice mindfulness is creating a phone reminder to assist us. Program it to go off every day at a specific time. Try to pick an hour when you tend to be wrapped up in commitments and activities.

A simple title like “Be Mindful” will work great.

Here’s what to do when the reminder goes off

  1. Pause whatever you are currently involved in.
  2. Bring attention to your senses: What do you see, smell, taste, hear, and feel?
  3. Bring attention to your emotions: What is your current mental state?
  4. Decide on one simple action you can take to make someone else’s day a little better. For example, you could compliment your coworker’s new haircut or send a text checking up on an old friend.

Being habitually mindful will completely change your life. A phone reminder is hard to ignore and can help you immensely.

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Give these sevens tips a shot, and see what happens. Most likely, you will enjoy the results so much that mindfulness will become a part of who you are.

 

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Soundness

Meditation Posture Guide For Beginners

Does this situation sound familiar to you?

You’ve been meditating for a few minutes with great success. Everything is going blissfully well, until a nagging strain in your back starts to distract you from concentrating on your breathing. You sit up a little straighter, which helps. Back to breathing. A few minutes later, your neck starts to hurt. Then your shoulders. Gah- it never ends. What is going on? Staying focused during meditation is hard enough without having to endure aches from random parts of your body!

You’re not alone in suffering these frustrating distractions. Especially if you are a beginner, it can be common to cut sessions short due to simple discomfort. I was definitely prone to these aches during the first few months of daily meditation.

Luckily, the fix is very straightforward. Employing proper posture will wipe out these troubles faster than a diving falcon. By paying attention to my posture, I am able to meditate much longer and much deeper. I know this will work for you too. Let’s take a look at some time-worn tips for perfecting your mediation posture.

The Seven-Point Posture of Vairocana

Variocana Meditation

Buddhist culture is known for its emphasis on mediation. Vairocana is a celestial Buddha often pictured using a simple yet specific position while meditating. Throughout the years, people have used Vairocana’s posture to enhance their own practices.

Here it is, broken down into its seven main components:

  1. Sit comfortably with your legs crossed.
  2. Rest your hands in your lap or on your knees.
  3. Straighten your back. Imagine your spine as a perfect stack of coins.
  4. Spread your shoulders, like the wings of a large bird.
  5. Slightly lower your chin. Make sure your neck is balanced atop your spine.
  6. Relax your jaw and keep the tip of your tongue lightly touching your upper palate.
  7. Keep your gaze slightly lowered, peering over the top of your nose.

It might be a good idea to read over these seven points at the beginning of each meditation session until you can get into this position naturally.

Where to Sit While Meditating

Where you choose to sit before you start to meditate can make a huge difference to your posture. In general, it is best to sit on the ground. Western culture isn’t accustomed to this, so it may feel a little strange the first few times you do it. A pillow or other support is vital in keeping your tailbone elevated and pelvis comfortably rotated forward.

Zafu Pillow Meditation

Did you know there’s actually pillows made specifically for meditating?

These are called Zafu Cushions – and at the risk of sounding overly enthusiastic, getting one of these changed my life. Zafu Cushions are made to keep their form instead of compacting over time like the stuffing in normal pillows. The one I have is filled with buckwheat kernels, which I had never heard of before getting it. After using one of these for months, I’d call it a necessity for anyone serious about meditation.

Here’s a link to the exact cushion I ended up getting: Peace Yoga Zafu Cushion

Remember to keep your legs comfortably crossed while sitting. The key word here is comfortable. You probably have seen pictures of people in the lotus position, with their ankles on top of each opposite knee. I know I’m not flexible enough for the lotus position, but you might be. Crossing your legs normally is much easier and still acceptable.

Meditate

Find Out What Works for You

In the end, meditation is always a highly personalized experience. Everyone gets something different out of it, and that goes for posture as well. Follow the guidelines above but feel free to adjust them slightly to fit your body’s own tendencies. With a little practice, you’ll be pulling hour-long sessions without so much as a ping of pain from your back!

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