The world is a busy place, and most of us spend our days rushing from Point A to Point B with no real connection to our thoughts, emotions or basic needs. Our culture is undeniably sleep-deprived, distracted and overstressed… and that takes a serious toll on our overall well-being. At Johnny Was, we believe that inspiration is wherever you find it, but it’s hard to get inspired when you’re disconnected from your innermost self. If you’re in need of some inner peace, then the pursuit of mindfulness is an excellent place to start.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is defined as “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something,” and it also refers to “a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.”
Many people instantly equate mindfulness with meditation. While the two are certainly connected, they’re not one and the same. Meditating can help you feel more centered and calm, but its primary goal is to move beyond the mind to find a sense of stillness. Mindfulness is the ongoing process of making yourself more aware of your innermost thoughts as well as your present surroundings.
8 Important Concepts of Mindfulness
Mindfulness requires a great deal of practice and patience -- but its therapeutic impact is incredibly rewarding. The following concepts can help you learn to become more mindful in your everyday life.
- Mindful Intention
One of the most common barriers to mindfulness is our society’s idolization of multi-tasking. Many people juggle such a wide variety of personal and professional tasks each day that we miss out on the day altogether. From work deadlines and family responsibilities to long lists of never-ending chores, most of us are so overwhelmed that we only stop to eat or sleep -- and even those activities are hurried or neglected. Take the first step toward a more mindful tomorrow by de-cluttering your life and simplifying your routine. Ask yourself what really needs accomplished each day, and prioritize your to-do list accordingly.
- Mindful Listening
All too often, we spend our days so caught up in our own thoughts that we don’t give the people around us the attention they deserve. Mindfulness encourages you to actively listen to others rather than zoning out, daydreaming or crafting the perfect reply. When you really, truly listen to a person’s words and body language, you can drastically improve your day-to-day communication and avoid potential misunderstandings.
- Mindful Creativity
All work and no play makes for a dull existence. Find a hobby that you love, take an art class, experiment with new clothes or start a journal. Engaging in creative pursuits helps you on your path to self-discovery and allows you to become better acquainted with your true desires. It’s also an incredibly productive way to de-stress.
- Mindful Exploration
Our planet is full of amazing sights to see, and there’s so much to explore. Spend more time in the great outdoors, travel to new cities or just take occasional day trips to surrounding towns. Awaken your inner wanderluster, and get to know the world around you.
- Mindful Reflection
It’s surprisingly easy to go through your daily routine without giving a second thought to your own thoughts, emotions, wants and needs. Challenge yourself to take regular timeouts and reflect on each day to help nurture your self-awareness. You’ll likely make some important discoveries along the way, such as what you actually want out of life (and what you can do without.)
- Mindful Solitude
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, mindfulness requires getting comfortable in your own skin. Center yourself for the day ahead with a cup of coffee in the morning, or unwind at night with a soothing bath. Solitude is one of the best ways to acknowledge your deepest thoughts and emotions.
- Mindful Self-Care
How we treat our bodies is a direct reflection of how mindful we are in our everyday lives. Nutritious food, regular exercise and restful sleep are critically important to your overall health, and they provide you with a strong foundation for mindful living.
- Mindful Appreciation
Every day is a gift, and there’s so much in life to be thankful for. Take the time to acknowledge the positives on even the most stressful of days, and spend less energy on the things you can’t control. Positive thinking does wonders for your emotional well-being, and it’s an essential part of living a mindful life.
Where do you find your inspiration, and how do you practice mindfulness each day? Let us know your tried-and-true techniques for mindful living in the comments below.