By now, you have likely heard the term "Mindfulness." It has become an extremely popular tool to help with a variety of mental health issues, and to increase enjoyment and quality of life overall.
Mindfulness is simply awareness of your thoughts, which influence your emotions. Thoughts are incredibly powerful, and learning how to control your thoughts has a significant impact on your happiness.
For example, let's say you wake up every morning and dread having to get out of bed and go about your day. You look at everything that you have to do during the day as something that you HAVE to do, not something that you GET to do.
Well, then your day probably isn't going to be very enjoyable. But, if you got up excited to have a wonderful day, then you will likely enjoy your day!
A key concept in understanding mindfulness is realizing that the only things that you truly have control over are the things inside of you– your thought, your emotions, and your choices.
Once you realize that you cannot control the outside world, you can begin to focus on your internal world.
Each of us has a voice inside our heads that tells us what to do and judges everything. Author Michael Alan Singer calls this voice your "inner roommate." In his book, The Untethered Soul (highly recommend it!) he explains why this voice is in fact just a voice, though we often equate it with who we are.
Once you are aware of this voice, you can decide whether or not you want to listen to it.
Thoughts have to power to shift your emotions, which can affect your hormones, like dopamine, serotonin, adrenaline, and cortisol. These hormones affect your state of mind and your physical health.
If you are constantly thinking negative and stressful thoughts, your body is going to produce an excessive amount of adrenaline and cortisol which impacts your sleep, focus, and digestion.
So, if your thoughts are so powerful, how can you use them to create greater happiness in your life?
There are many practices to help take control of your "inner roommate."
Mindfulness practice is simply the act of building awareness of your thoughts and emotions, processing them adequately, and choosing how you want to proceed.
Here are a few great tools to help you increase your mindfulness
Starting a mindfulness practice can be difficult and intimidating. Take it slow. Using the take2minutes platform is a great way to start adding some positive mindfulness practices, like gratitude journaling and positive affirmations, into your day.
You can start by setting a five-minute timer on your phone and try to sit still and clear your mind. Guided meditations are a great option if you don't know how to get started with meditation. Take2minutes has tons of great meditations for you to try!
Whatever your journey with mindfulness is, be kind to yourself and keep moving forward!
For you bookworms out there, here are a couple of books that have helped me significantly on my mindfulness journey.