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5 Ways to Practice Mindfulness That Will Make Life More Enjoyable

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10 years ago, there were relatively few people in the western world that actively took part in meditation or mindfulness exercises on a regular basis. Now, mindfulness is top of mind (pun intended), and individuals and organizations are starting to see the real benefits associated with teaching and training methods used to focus one’s thoughts and momentarily reconnect with a deeper sense of self.

Studies have shown that people who practice mindful meditation on a regular basis are happier and exhibit lower levels of anxiety than others from the same group that do not practice mindfulness. Interviews with top performers and leaders around the world have also uncovered that a vast majority of them attribute their success to the benefits derived from regular mindfulness activities.

But finding the right mindfulness regimen or meditation practice isn’t as simple as picking what to watch next on Netflix. I have practiced one form or another of meditation for over 15 years, and I have yet to find one system or mindfulness regimen that suits my needs perfectly. Ultimately, meditation is a personal journey towards the better understanding of oneself and one’s purpose.

Consider these five approaches to mindful meditation below to see which appeals to you most:

1. Concentrate on one thing or on nothing in particular

The intent of this approach is for you to focus your mind on one object, sound or image through intense concentration so that all other thoughts evaporate and you are left with a clear mind. This type of practice is often partnered with some kind of mantra or chant, although it does not have to be.

Next time you are feeling anxious, angry or frustrated at work or school, take 2-3 minutes to sit somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and allow yourself to direct all of your energy and emotion towards one object, sound or image until everything else floats away.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

2. Pay attention to those things in your sphere of influence

This approach is what most practitioners would refer to as true “mindful meditation”, and it is widely recognized as being able to alleviate stress and even treat depression. The emphasis of mindful meditation is in cultivating highly receptive attention toward any action or objects within your sphere of influence.

Described in a different way, mindfulness is a human’s capacity to be fully present in the moment while not getting overwhelmed or overreacting to the world around them. Anyone can practice mindful meditation in any particular moment, in as little as 10 seconds. Mindful.org has a great description of what mindfulness meditation actually is, and how to integrate it into your life on a regular basis.

3. Reflect openly on one question or problem

Often described as “thinking meditation”, focused reflection requires the person to come up with a specific question, theme or topic and then conduct a thorough analysis of the question over the course of meditation.

The more you practice this type of disciplined thinking, the less frequently your mind will wander, and the more clearly you will be able to develop arguments and perspectives based on your observations. This type of meditation is particularly useful for business people or entrepreneurs looking to work through work challenges or come up with new ideas.

4. Focus on strengthening one personal quality or targeting one goal

Visualization is a powerful tool that can help to set far off goals or strengthen existing personal attributes or qualities (i.e. kindness, compassion, focus, etc.). There are many ways to practice visualization, but for me the easiest way to start is in one of two ways.

The first way is by imagining “My Perfect Day”. Take the time to imagine, in great detail, your ideal day from start to end. Where do you wake up? Who are you with? What do you do for work? How do you spend your day? Do this in your head or on paper. You’ll be surprised what you come up with.

The second way is to consider one personal trait that you feel could be improved upon. Now, visualize the pieces that make up that attribute, and imagine that you are the human embodiment of that trait. Again, think about this in your head, or write down your visualization on paper. The choice is yours. What you have to remember is that, just by visualizing yourself as having this trait or imagining yourself in this perfect day, you are subconsciously training your brain to want and seek out that end goal.

“You must see your goals clearly and specifically before you can set out for them. Hold them in your mind until they become second nature.” – Les Brown

5. Express gratitude and compassion

Perhaps the most powerful of the five, meditating on gratitude and compassion is one of the best ways to reduce stress and gain a deeper understanding of the world around you. By focusing on others and by sharing yourself with those around you, you will find that the worries and cares you once thought were important simply slip away. In the grand scheme of things, this type of realization will take you in all sorts of new directions.

I’m curious to know what you’re doing. What ways are you practicing mindfulness/meditation? Please leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

McVal is the founder of We Write For Growth, a platform for businesses to connect with talented writers and researchers and growth hackers. He is also the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant. 

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A Simple but Effective Technique to Be More Confident

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Many people want to learn how to be confident in different situations, but it’s not always easy. Maybe we’re too addicted to comparing ourselves or maybe social media has brainwashed us to believe that we should all be rich, famous, and in incredible shape. (more…)

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Knowing Your Message vs Delivering Your Message

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Have you ever sent a text message only to have it misinterpreted by the person reading it? Happens all the time. Have you ever given a presentation that you were totally prepared for only to have it fall flat? Happens all the time. Have you ever had someone ask you something like, “Why are you mad?” when you were not at all mad? Happens all the time. (more…)

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The 3 Most Important Things I Learned About Personal Growth

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When you look back on your life, what do you want to think about? Do you plan to reminisce on all of the good things that have happened and how they shaped who you are today? Or would you rather remember all of the bad decisions, challenging experiences, and mistakes made that hurt or wasted a portion of your life?

In my opinion, I think it is important to reflect on both. While it’s important to remember the hardships we’ve been through in our lives – without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. There are 3 very specific areas that I feel have helped me grow in a personal sense more than anything else in my life so far. 

These aren’t simple lessons in a book or a lecture that you can just absorb and apply to your life. These are things that I’ve learned through experience and reflection, and I’m still learning and growing today.

1. We determine how much we’re worth by what we think about ourselves, others, and life in general.

This might seem like a pretty obvious lesson in life but it’s actually one of the most important because we can determine our own worth by how we think about ourselves and the world around us. If you’re looking for success in any kind of business or social setting (dating), then I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t matter if you have 10 billion dollars or not – people are still going to judge you based on your thoughts and beliefs alone.

What determines our value isn’t necessarily what we do with our lives (which is often based on luck) but whether or not we believe that ‘our work’ is worthy or not in some sort of grand scheme or universe. We may not always be able to control what happens in our lives, but we can always control how we value ourselves and others.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

2. You don’t have to change your habits or personality just because someone else doesn’t like it – their opinions are THEIRS alone.

This is another one of those lessons that people tend to pick up on a little bit late in life, but if anything that makes its importance even worse! Basically, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to meet someone who has certain expectations of you as a person…but these expectations might not be realistic due to their motivations and personal beliefs. For example, sometimes parents might expect you to be a lawyer or doctor because that’s what they believe is best for their child.

However, this isn’t the case for everyone and so maybe your passion lies in music or writing novels. In this example, if you were also pressured into becoming a doctor – then there would obviously be some kind of conflict going on within yourself as a person. You should never have to give up something that you want to do just because someone else doesn’t like it! The reason why we’re put onto this Earth is to make our own choices and go after our OWN dreams instead of letting others determine what we can and cannot do with our lives .

3. You can’t change your life until you accept that you need to make a change.

When I was younger, I thought that this lesson would be pretty obvious – but as I got older, it really made me appreciate the fact that there are always different ways of perceiving our lives. For example, if someone wants to become rich and famous one day – their mind might simply overshadow any other possibility in their head because they feel like this is what they NEED to do right now.

However, this isn’t always true within our own lives because we think about things too literally instead of having an open mind. If you want to achieve success in any kind of business or social setting (dating) then you should be willing to try out different things instead of staying in your comfort zone. If you want something, then it’s up to YOU to actually go after it – nobody else is going to give it to you!

The three lessons above are some of the main things I want to pass on to everyone because they’ve come at an important time in my life where I need to start thinking about others instead of only myself. It’s great if we can learn to love ourselves first before anything else, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect everyone around you even though they might be your friends and family members!

If you enjoyed this article on the 3 most important things I learned about personal growth, then please share it with your friends and family! Also, check out my other articles on success & motivation as well as life lessons that could help people who are struggling with their life right now on lifengoal.com. Thanks for reading!

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​​4 Boss Level Growth Strategies That Create an Optimized Life

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Building a business is about more than sales, marketing, and flexing on social media. While those things tend to draw attention, they attract the wrong type of clients and are not how you build a sustainable and freedom-focused business. (more…)

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