Have you ever had a day when you felt irritated, stressed and strained, and every little thing that happened seemed to make it worse?
People around the world, especially Americans, often report feeling overwhelmed by busy-ness. We’re surrounded by electronics, opportunities, choices and information, all coming at us at high speed, and sometimes our brains struggle to sort through the deluge.
People today have to make more decisions in 24 hours than our ancestors did in a year. Even little things, like buying a pair of athletic shoes, are more complicated than they used to be, with tens of thousands of options vying for our attention in this one small area of life alone.
Our conscious mind may not fully pick this up, but our subconscious does, and this constant stimulation leaves us overwhelmed, tired and stressed.
How do you counter this trend, so you can feel relaxed, present and alive?
I like to use a technique called mindfulness.
How To Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the ability to notice what you’re noticing. To notice that you’re taking a step while you’re walking, to be aware of the feeling of your child’s hand in your hand, the feeling of the sun or rain, or the beauty of a flower.
It’s being present enough to notice being alive, and to choose the way you experience life.
How does mindfulness help you de-stress?
Let me give you an example.
If I’m walking down the street, feeling crowded by the hustle and bustle and bothered by people bumping into me, I may start to feel irritated. If I notice that irritation and focus on it, that focus will cause the negative feeling to grow.
But if I practice mindfulness, I can notice that I’m in a negative, contractive state of mind that’s creating a negative experience. I can’t control everything around me, but I can control what I’m thinking about everything around me.
I can notice that I’m walking around outside, I’m breathing without the aid of a machine, I have life coursing through my body, and I’m experiencing a moment in my one sacred life that I’ll never have again in all of eternity.
I can notice the positive aspects of the experience, and focus on them. By doing so, I shape my own experience, even if I can’t control the events happening outside of me.
The benefits of meditation, which is a concrete practice to engage in mindfulness, equip you to shape your own lived experience.
You get to write your own life-story
Every single day has been a page in the book of your life, written either in wonder and gratitude, or in frustration and pain.
The important factor that most people miss is that it wasn’t LIFE that wrote those pages. It was THEM.
Life poured through them to create the results they experienced.
And now, as you learn about mindfulness, you’re learning how to direct that flow, so you can live a life that’s more expansive, fun and free.
The great thing about mindfulness is that you don’t have to go sit in a lotus position for 30-40 minutes, or take a big chunk of time out of your day. It’s a simple practice that you can implement in just minutes or seconds, any time you need to de-stress and re-center yourself.
How can you use mindfulness to improve your life today?
I’ve been using mindfulness practices since 1971, and today I’m going to share a simple but highly effective practice that immediately helps you become more present, happy and relaxed.
First, take a deep breath. Notice that you’re breathing, and feel the air flowing through your nostrils, going down into your belly, then rising back out of your body.
Next, notice that you can notice. Notice that you have that faculty, just like you have hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling and tasting faculties.
Notice the tip of your nose, your right index finger, your left kneecap, the bottom of your right foot, the tips of all ten toes, your cheeks, your chin, the top of your head.
The first step of mindfulness is choosing to be aware of what you’re noticing, to notice that you’re alive and that you can notice.
As you begin to notice what you’re noticing on a more regular basis, the next step is to check if what you’re noticing is empowering or disempowering, expansive or contractive.
Are you noticing the obstacles and problems in your life, or are you noticing the blessings and opportunities?
Are you noticing too many things at once, and trying to handle too much information at the same time? If so, use this practice to bring your awareness back to yourself and your body, and take a moment to let your mind rest and become present again by focusing on the simple sensations that tell you you’re alive.
How to Create a Life You Truly Love
Sometimes, circumstances or situations try to convince you that they’re bigger than you, and that they control your life.
And yet, you found your way here, and I don’t think that’s an accident or a coincidence. I think there’s a reason why you’re here, and that there’s a part of you that knows this – a part that is willing and able move toward a bigger, more joyful and expansive life.
In this article, I gave you the first step. If you make a regular practice of noticing what you’re noticing, your days will be lived in a state of mindfulness and appreciation, and you’ll be able to choose who you’re going to be and what you’ll experience in any given moment.
If you’d like to learn more about how to master your mind, experience your life, and to create a life you truly love – not just in your mind, but in your tangible reality – I invite you to take the second step, by accepting a special gift I’ve prepared for you.
This gift is a collection of simple yet highly effective tools that will help you create the life of your dreams, more quickly than you ever thought possible, no matter where you’re starting from.
Through your meditations and daily messages, mindfulness is beginning to be automatic, even in situations that normally would have stressed me out. Opportunities seem more abundant and ideas are flowing more freely. Thank you so much Mary for these empowering meditations, and all that you do and all that you are!