Something that gets said to me sometimes is “That’s not very mindful” and I think people often mistake mindfulness with perfection. In reality, it’s quite the opposite. There are so many facets of mindfulness and none of them point to perfection. Personally, I’m kind to myself, I don’t seek perfection. Since perfection is different to each person it’s truly a mirage and unattainable. If I can be 80% mindful and 20% average then I still believe I’m winning. 80-20 rule applies. We all slip up and we all make mistakes and sometimes we lash out when our ego is taking over. The ‘not being mindful’ part is the part where you beat yourself up and get into a cycle where you end up making the same mistakes over and over again rather than saying ‘ok, I screwed up here. Let’s move on and remember not to do it again’
Let’s talk a little bit about some, not all but some of the important aspects of mindfulness:
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
It’s not about being perfect all the time. But it is about letting mistakes go. Go easy on yourself, you are only human. Say sorry and don’t do it again. Let shame or embarrassment go and remember that no one is perfect. Not anyone.
LET GO OF RESISTANCE
Much of mindfulness is about dealing with your true motivations and emotions. Learn to accept they are there and let them pass by. Let go of resisting change, change is inevitable so learn to ride the waves by practising mindfulness exercises for a few minutes every couple of hours.
GET CONTROL OVER ANGER
Now, I’m not saying don’t get angry. Not at all. Anger is a valid emotion. Once you are in the habit of practising mindfulness you will find you can put some space between anger and action. The result of which means you won’t lash out as much (80-20 rule).
BUT HOW DO I DO THIS?
Mindfulness is a practice. It’s not an overnight cure. Just like learning an instrument or building muscle, you have to work at it regularly. Thankfully it’s actually easier than either of those examples. There are many exercises to practice, one of which I will give an outline of here. It is recommended by researchers and medical professionals to do an 8-week course to change your brain chemistry. Eight weeks is the perfect timeframe to get into good habits and by following a course you understand the different facets enough to be able to take your own path on the mindfulness journey.
A SIMPLE EXERCISE
Well, I say simple. It seems it when written down but takes practice to get good at it. The aim of the exercises is to get to the stage where you can really take time out from the overthinking, stress and worries and actually observe your thoughts and emotions without judging them. As I said it takes practice! So here goes;
Find a window to look out of.