Becoming more mindful is more than just practicing meditation. Meditation is, of course, a huge part of it because it helps us become more aware of others and ourselves. How we interact with the people and environment around is a holisitic approach to being a more mindful individual. Below are 10 suggestions on how to be more mindful in our personal and professional lives.
1. Be open and ACCEPT the differences of others.
If we want to live in harmony with our neighbors, we need to become more accepting of their religion, ethnicity, skin color, and political beliefs. There is too much strife and hatred in the world based on external, superficial differences. It's easy to jump to conclusions and form a judgment by what others say or by what we see on the news. However, if we take the time to educate ourselves about other cultures, we can create a more compassionate society.
2. Learn to regulate your EMOTIONS and don't let anger get the best of you.
We've all had experiences where our emotions, in the form of anger, have gotten us into embarrassing situations. Regulating our emotions is no easy task. When we're disrespected, contradicted, or confronted, we can become blinded by anger and end up in hot water. The key is to catch ourselves right at the moment when we're about to lose our cool. If we don't check our anger at the starting point, it can be too late. Anger can blind our intelligence and hurt relationships. This takes a lot of practice but is a great challenge to take up.
3. RECONCILE with a family member, friend, and colleague.
In this day and age, it doesn't take a lot for conflict and distrust to arise between two people. We misunderstand and misinterpret other people's statements and behavior and are quick to form lasting opinions without taking the time to get clarity on the situation. Maintaining relationships isn't easy but an absolute must in order for us have emotional stability and happiness. Let's go ahead and reach out to someone we have distanced ourselves from and see if the relationship can be salvaged.
4. Be compassionate when giving feedback to others and balance it with twice as much APPRECIATION.
Criticizing and pointing out mistakes of others is easy. The idea of providing feedback might even excite us but most of us don't like receiving it. It hurts our ego. Feedback needs to be balanced with appreciation. We need to provide 2 to 3 times as much appreciation before we even think of giving feedback, otherwise, we'll end up draining the emotional account in that relationship. Harsh feedback can leave us feeling uninspired. Being compassionate with our thoughts and words is essential when attempting to provide feedback to others.
5. Rejoice upon seeing the SUCCESS of others.
Witnessing the success of colleagues or even friends and family can be difficult. It all depends on the relationship we have with them. The less we like them, the harder it is to appreciate their success. It's even more difficult if we were competing for the same outcome and they happened to be the one to achieve it. When this happens, we can choose to think of all the ways they didn't deserve it, or just be happy for their accomplishment and even go up to them and congratulate them. No doubt, this is the higher road, so let's swallow our pride and wish others well when they succeed.
6. Understand that your MIND can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
How long does it take for us to snap ourselves out of a negative situation? Do we keep replaying it over and over again for days, week, months, or even years and allow that situation to cause us stress and lose sleep? This is a sign that our mind is our worst enemy. We're not choosing to replay the negative stuff in our life, the mind does that automatically. The good news is, the mind can be strengthened and trained to move away from the negative and towards the positive. Meditation is a powerful tool that can help train the muscle of the mind.
7. Develop a daily MEDITATION practice, even if it's only five minutes a day.
With an already filled up schedule, who has time to add anything else to it? Well, there's are a gazillion items of scientific research that suggest meditation will reduce your stress levels, improve your focus, productivity, memory, and emotional intelligence. It's no longer just for monks. Instead of setting an unsustainable daily goal, start with just 5 minutes a day and keep that going for 30 days and then increase it by 2-3 minutes. By the end of the year, you'll be up to around 30 minutes.
8. Regularly reflect on and express GRATITUDE for the wonderful things that are happening in your life.
It's easy to lose sight of all the positive things taking place in our lives and this is partly due to us constantly comparing ourselves to others and seeing what they have achieve. It also results from wanting more and more and not appreciating what we just achieved. At any given moment, if we sit down and reflect on our situation, we'll notice how many wonderful things are taking place. It's very important to continue to express gratitude for the positives, otherwise, happiness will always elude us.
9. See obstacles and setbacks as OPPORTUNITIES to learn more about yourself and grow.
Usually, it's during our failures that we become humbled and begin to reflect and introspect. Failure brings us down to earth and helps us reevaluate our strategies and figure out new and different approaches to our life. It's an incredible time for growth and maturation. Even though none of us wants to fail, failure will show up at the door. Our initial response to failing probably won't be a positive one, but allowing ourselves to accept what happened and seeing the potential for growth can be very uplifting.
10. Stop blaming others around you for things that aren't going right. Take a DEEPER look at yourself.
We've all played the blame game and realized that it gets us nowhere. The problem with blame is that it prevents us from looking at ourselves and the things we did to contribute to the problem. It prevents us from taking ownership of the situation and it only leads to more blame. We can spend our entire lives pointing fingers and blaming others when things don't go right, but we will end up getting more frustrated. So, in 2016, lets see if we can blame others a little less and do more self-reflection.