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How to Make Mindfulness a Practical Skill

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My journey from glossing-over life to immersing myself in life has been far from glamorous but one dripping with satisfaction that comes from self-growth. From only being able to academically spell m*i*n*d*f*u*l*n*e*s*s to making it a practical way of life is now my personal mission.

I have approached mindfulness like a curious child to understand how I can make it work for me. Some of the questions I asked were, what will it do for me? The answer to that was – there is only one way to find out, and that is by immersing myself.

I am sharing 5 nuances of Mindfulness that are now entwined in my life. It took many years of understanding and then implementing before I could find the right language to express them and make them into bite-sized workable thoughts.

Here are 5 ways to make mindfulness practical:

1. Being mindful

Being mindful is being attentive, alert, and present to a situation. Come to think of it, mindfulness has been an expectation from us throughout our lives.

Long before mindfulness became popular in the spiritual sense, the corporate world used the term extensively. ‘Be mindful that whilst you make this change, it will impact the bottom-line,’ or the board rooms usually echoed with ‘bear in mind that we don’t have a big budget.’ Mostly it was someone a level higher with broader responsibilities reminding us that there were more factors to consider when making a decision, ‘so, don’t overlook them.’

This is quite aligned to life. Mindfulness means we are alert and present and consider all possibilities. ‘Being present’ is also no different from how our schools made us respond to the daily attendance roll call.

So, check-in with yourself as often as you can – am I present when drinking this coffee or when talking on the phone? The more frequently I asked myself this question, the more alert I became to the situation at hand and that was the first step towards mindfulness. It expands your range of thinking like nothing else can do. And that opens doors of possibility.

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”- Buddha

2. Work hard, party hard and in between the two, sleep enough

Working on a few hours of sleep was a badge of pride I wore just like a lot of my colleagues during my prolific corporate career. The coffee machine was the holy ground for discussing the hours of sleep we all had the previous night. The more senior the person and the fewer his hours they slept made them a bigger hero in everyone’ eyes. We thought that’s what we all needed to do to grow. So, we continued to campaign – work hard, karaoke hard, and party hard.

It took me many years to realize how lack of sleep was hollowing out my productivity, my alertness, and my mood. Very casually, I started listening to the timeless rules of sleeping for a productive day. I cannot even begin to tell how it has transformed my life. 

You will usually find me in an upbeat mood and generally energized and enthused in life. I hear myself even laughing a lot more. Why had I not done it all these years? Oh well, there is never a good answer to that. But we can start now. Sleep is a gift we can give ourselves every single day. So, let’s do it.

3. Self-Love

Over the years, I have been working on making self-love practical. It is a big subset of mindfulness because it means we listen more to ourselves. So, here’s one thing I do: At the cashier at Zara or any similar store, when they ask me if it is a present, I smile and say ‘Yes, it’s a present for me.’ This has almost always made the cashier smile too. But sometimes I do let them wrap it up especially if it was underwear or bath oils.

What does it do for me? I build a special connection with myself. Every time I open those ‘presents for self,’ it’s self-love in action and reminds me it was worth waiting at the counter to let them pack it. That’s a micro-anchoring of mindfulness as you don’t rush out of the store but patiently wait, acknowledge the cashier, and engage in a dialogue which is more than handing out your credit card. All this is done with a small smile at both ends. It’s a win-win. This may sound innocuous but give it a go ‘experience’ for yourself.

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” – Brené Brown

4. Self-Belief has runner’s legs

It can take you to take places you cannot imagine. Make sure you start with the smallest sprint. Believe in the silliest, most insane thing you can do today then go ahead and do it. Here’s the catch, don’t expect the outcome others have had or what the books tell you. Just do your best and be prepared to embrace ‘your’ outcome.

5. The human body is far wiser than the human mind

The mind can often give an incorrect intuition. Our mind is layered with our cultural conditioning. Often, our decisions are loaded with judgement instead of objectivity. Negativity bias is another insidious ‘devil’ that makes us remember the negative stuff more than we remember the positive things. Our mind also has an inner critic that can damage our self-esteem and self-worth when it goes on a rampage.

The body on the other hand has its own intelligence for ‘fixing.’ A femur set properly can heal in 6 weeks but if someone calls us stupid 20 years ago, our inner critic does not let us forget that. The body thus is a very sophisticated operating system and works the way nature does.

So, when you feel conflicted try and listen-in to your body. The body works with the same precision as nature. Both do their job meticulously, slowly, and little by little. A tree takes 20 years to grow, just as teaching our lungs to breathe fully again could take a few years.

But this type of gradual change is usually irreversible. Just as we can’t reverse a fully grown tree into a baby-tree, similarly a wise body does not forget how to breathe deeply. The slow but sound approach of the body is quite-fail proof and also the reason why doctors can’t speed up the process of healing and recovery after a surgery. We just have to allow the body to take it’s time.

So, the next time you feel conflicted – try and listen to your body and the thoughts that don’t constrict your chest or knot your stomach are ‘usually’ the right ones to go with.

Closing thoughts

Life is a series of events that are not necessarily sequenced in the same way as we had imagined when reading bedtime books at 7. I have come to believe that in 24-hour cycles, things go just as we wanted them to or they can also go completely wrong. Regardless, it’s in those micro-moments that lies our expansion and growth. Let’s continue to make mindfulness practical.

How do you practice mindfulness? Share your thoughts with us below!

Pallavi Sidhra is a Cancer Survivor. She identified herself not as an expert at anything but a Mindfulness Junkie and a Consciousness explorer. She believes that the quality of our life depends on two things – How we treat ourselves and how we break away from our default thinking patterns to rewrite our story. When you don’t see her gulping oxygen or in a yogic posture you will see her immersed in conveying scarps of wisdom about life, health and wellbeing. She channels her thoughts at her website www.magiclieswithin.com and selflessly dishes out strategies for Positive Wellbeing on Instagram and Facebook.

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A Simple but Effective Technique to Be More Confident

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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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