Updated February 11, 2019
Before my preemie was born, I have to honestly admit that I thought mindfulness was woo woo, mystical nonsense. However, when I found myself in the aftermath of having a 26-weeker, I felt I was drowning in a sea of chaos. I remember staring at my tiny little baby through the her clear isolette and thinking that I couldn’t change what had happened to her, I had no clue what the future had in store for her, and the only thing I could do was appreciate the present moment with her. It was then that my mindfulness journey began.
When you are starting to practice mindfulness, you will notice that a big part of it is changing your mindset. You will need to live more in the moment and focus on what is happening now, pushing all those worries and negative thoughts aside. Here are some selfcare tips that will assist your engagement in a mindful mindset
- Remove Negative Words and Phrases. One of the first ways to get yourself in a mindful mindset is to remove negative words and phrases from your daily life. If you write down your goals, remove words like won’t or may. These are words that suggest failure and that can have an effect on your mindset. Work to remove negative thoughts in your daily conversation and in how you handle speaking to others. This doesn’t have to be a happy about everything mindset. This simply means you aren’t setting yourself up for depression, stress, and worry with your own words.
- Failure Is Not a Given. Unfortunately, many people feel like failure is a given. You will likely fail in some way on your path to your goal. The truth is, your whole intention is to not fail. You set out to reach your goal regardless of the obstacles in your life. This means that failure should not be something you automatically assume will be there. Make sure you are focused on your goals, the path you are going to use to get there, and that you are removing any thoughts that failure is imminent.
- Happiness Everyday. Find happiness every day. This may sound very rose-colored glasses happy talk, but the truth is there is something to the process. Everyone has horrible days, but the problem is when you have several in a row and you can’t find anything positive about any of them. It sets you up for saying your life is horrible and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Instead make it a point to find one bright point a day. Just one bright point that could be anything from a tasty cup of coffee to being thankful for your soft blankets to end the day.
- Inquiry Practice. When challenging thoughts arise, ask the following questions without any expectations: What is the thought? Name the thought. Am I willing to have this thought? Notice what’s going on with your body. How does that thought make you feel? Identify emotions. Do I want this thought to direct how I live my life? Can I have compassion toward myself when I recognize this thought pattern?
- Caring Practice. Without any expectations, practice offering yourself universal caring phrases that you might wish for anyone and notice what happens over time. Say to yourself: “May I be safe. May I be well. May I be at ease. May I be happy.”
- Forgiveness Practice. Forgive yourself for all of the habit reactions to your thoughts, all the things you haven’t done that you wished you had, all the things you have done that you wished you hadn’t because of your thoughts, all the ways you’ve hurt yourself and hurt others. Say to yourself: “To the extent that I am able may I offer myself forgiveness. May I be forgiven. May I accept forgiveness.”
The six tips will help you to cultivate several important attitudes that foster a mindful mindset:
An empowering mindful attitude to have each and every day is gratitude. Instead of focusing on the bad things in your life, be gracious for the good things. This can be something you do in your mind, where you simply and silently are thankful for the job you have, being able to put food on the table, or even something as small as getting up early enough to see the sunrise. This becomes a positive habit, where you are suddenly showing gratitude for everything, as it changes your entire outlook on your life.
Accepting things as they are is another important part of mindfulness, and a positive attitude to start developing. You understand things are the way they are, and even if the situations are not ideal. You begin to accept the moment, instead of dwelling or focusing just on how negative things might be. This isn’t going to keep all negative thoughts from your mind, but the more you focus on acceptance, you will become less distressed.
An attitude you might not have thought about is how you perceive others. If you find yourself constantly judging others, whether for their actions, attitudes, or even their appearance, you are only hurting yourself. This constant judgment creates negative connotations in your thought patterns, hurting them and yourself. Stop judging others and you will notice how much more freeing it is. It is easier to have other positive attitudes when you focus on being non-judgmental.
Have some patience with people, things, and situations around you. Acknowledge the way things are right now, learn to accept them, and don’t over-analyze them. Be patient and let things change as they need to, instead of pushing it or becoming stressed when things or people are not acting quickly enough. This is one of the more difficult attitudes to learn through mindfulness, but also one of the most powerful. It takes practice being more patient, but in time, it becomes another attitude you focus on each day without thinking much about it.
By incorporating these attitudes at the start of your mindfulness journey, you can refocus your mindset and get it on track. Overtime you may find the need to revisit the tips to reset your mindset when you get off track. Just keep in mind, mindfulness is ever growing and a journey instead of a last stop.
Call to Action: Do you actively engage in mindfulness? If so, how has it helped you? If not, what is preventing you from engaging in this practice?
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Deborah Nichols says
Thank you so much for sharing. I loved reading your article.
Carina Hopen MD says
Thank you! I truly appreciate it.
I love that you focus on showing yourself compassion, especially when negative thoughts arise. That’s such an important part of self-care.
Carina Hopen MD says
Thank you Kayley.
Often times we can display so much compassion for others, and yet we can be our own toughest critics. Being kind and compassionate to ourselves will only help us discover our authentic self.
The way you speak makes understanding the practice of mindfulness so easy and I truly appreciate it. Wonderful job on the article, I will definitely be sharing with some friends!