THE BLOG

7 Qualities to Cultivate for a Response-Able Mind

When we set an intention to regularly cultivate our minds, we enhance our ability to respond thoughtfully and not react when confronted with challenge or change. This ability to respond is what I call being response-able.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Every day, life offers us many opportunities to be adaptable, flexible, curious, and expansive. We can also expect that we will often be challenged by the unexpected. When we set an intention to regularly cultivate our minds, we enhance our ability to respond thoughtfully and not react when confronted with challenge or change. This ability to respond is what I call being response-able. To actively care for your mind and make it more response-able, try these seven practices:

1. Be Open

Allow yourself to consider possibilities. When the words "I can't," your usual excuses, or the limits you imagine show up in your mind, set them aside and give full consideration to what else might be. Although the comparative, judging mind has real value, try setting it aside in order to let other, more creative options come forth.

2. Be Reflective

Ask yourself, "Are my beliefs serving me?" Sometimes we respond to life on automatic pilot, following beliefs that were handed down from former generations, beliefs that served others in a different time. When you commit to reviewing your beliefs to see if they fit your current circumstances, you are making the choice to be thoughtful and reflective.

3. Be Adaptable

Habits and routines save us time and provide structure for our lives. They can also hold us back, if we cling to them for the sake of comfort and familiarity. If you notice a habit getting in the way of pursuing possibilities, consider whether the habit can be changed. Many habits can put the mind to sleep or to make us rigid and inflexible. If we want to be adaptable and expansive, we need to be willing to examine the role of our habits and our need for the familiar.

4. Be Curious

Curiosity involves pursuing novelty, asking new questions, and seeking answers. Making the commitment to learn may mean going outside of your comfort zone and being willing to be a beginner. If you want to learn something new or grow beyond your current capabilities, you could call on your inner Champion to support you. Empowerment comes with finding your way through unintended consequences or moments of uncertainty or confusion.

5. Maintain Balance

Giving your mind time to rest, be still, and wander allows it to renew and restore. I've found that when I walk by myself in the woods, listen to the birds, feel the breeze on my face, and notice the silence surrounding me, my mind has an opportunity to refresh itself. For you, gardening, swimming, biking, or any number of activities that you enjoy have the power to accomplish the same thing, resetting your entire being and restoring balance. Making a point of maintaining balance can stimulate creativity and helps you become more response-able rather than reactive in everyday life.

6. Be Aware

Making thoughtful choices about what you put into your mind affects the way you respond to life. Whether you spend your time online, in the company of friends, watching TV, or reading, be care-full about what you choose experience and view. Mindfully balance exploration with the commitment to be engaged with topics and activities that are life-affirming and for the greater good. Monitor your words and thoughts, knowing they create your reality. You become your choices.

7. Grow and Expand

Commit to allowing yourself to grow your mind throughout your lifetime. Accept that, as you evolve, your understandings and perspectives can change over time. Each day, with each experience, your choices will serve as evidence of who you are becoming.

-----------

HuffPost's GPS for the Soul app is based on two truths about human beings. First: We all have a centered place of wisdom, harmony and balance within us. Second: We're all going to veer away from that place, again and again and again. What we need is a great course-correcting mechanism -- a GPS for the Soul -- to help us find our way back to that centered place, from which everything is possible.

Because no one knows better than you what helps you de-stress and tap into that place of peace inside yourself, it's important for you to create your very own GPS guide -- a personalized collection of whatever helps you course-correct. Email us at GPS@huffingtonpost.com and we'll set you up with your very own HuffPost blogger account to share your guide on the site. If you're already a blogger, we encourage you to upload your personal guide today. We can't wait to see what you have to share.