SO WHAT IS MINDFULNESS ANYWAY?

We hear the term used over and over again, MINDFULNESS…but what does it really mean anyway? Many would describe mindfulness as having awareness of what is going on both externally and internally during our present situation. With mindfulness comes the ability to be locked into the present moment, not thinking about what happened in our past, or what needs to be accomplished in the future, but only what is happening in this very moment.

THE CHALLENGE…

Achieving a state of mindfulness proves to be very difficult for most people. We live in a world where we are always searching for more, more, more. That leaves us in a state where we spend a lot of our mental energy regretting what we have or haven’t done in the past that may or may not have been good enough and also stressing and worrying about how we are going to get everything done in the future to achieve all the greatness we are looking for. Our minds are constantly racing in circles about what has already been done and what needs to get done and most of the time we miss exactly what is happening right before our eyes, missing out on the true joys in life and actually being present in what we are experiencing at the moment.

Most of you can likely relate to this situation in your daily lives. You spend most of you day working at whatever it is that you do to make a living and while you are there you are thinking about all the things that you want to do or need to do outside of work; your family, friends, house, vacation, etc. Then when your day finally ends and you go rushing home and you are finally there with your loved ones, all you can think about is all the of things that you still have left to do at work when you get back to it tomorrow morning.

These moments when we are engaged in enjoyable activities with our loved ones should be blissfully happy and enjoyed with every ounce of our being, but many times we are only there physically and our mind is off somewhere else completely. Have you ever felt this way? I know I have and it can be exhausting, leaving you searching for moments of fun and excitement in your life, because we have missed the ones that just happened, allowing us to perceive that we don’t have any enjoyment in our lives. What has just happened is that you have essentially stolen your own happiness, by not being mindful and present in the moment.

HOW DO YOU BECOME MINDFUL?

Some years ago, I was struggling with this in my own life and went to my emotional coach looking for answers and learned a technique called compartmentalizing. I want you to think for a moment about the drawers and cabinets in your kitchen. If yours is anything like mine, you have things organized in certain compartments based on what they are so that they are with similar items that will not damage their surroundings. For example, I have food products in the pantry and I have cleaning products under the sink. I am sure to keep the cleaners away from the food so as to ensure that the food does not get damaged by the cleaners.

When utilizing the concept of compartmentalizing, we can think of our thoughts as the products in these different cabinets in our home. While we are in a certain situation (cabinet) we can utilize the thoughts (products) that relate to that situation (the things in that cabinet). Once we leave that situation, we then leave all of the thoughts regarding that behind, gently shut the door on those thoughts and move on to the next situation. We then open up the cabinet containing the thoughts for the new situation, we can only utilize thoughts in that cabinet while in that situation. If thoughts of other situations (cabinets) pop into our head (which they will) we nicely push them back into their cabinet and shut the door on them until it is the appropriate time to deal with them. This technique will allow us to stay present and mindful in each situation so that we can reap the most happiness and fulfillment out of each experience.

THE RESULT…

The result of this practice is that you can find the highest enjoyment and fulfillment out of each moment in your life. In my experience, I absolutely love the work that I do in helping others achieve greater success in their own lives and so I spend many hours committed to my work. However, when I was working, I found myself thinking about the things I needed to get done for my family, friends, or personally and it would cause periods of great stress which reduced my productivity and decreased my effectiveness and efficiency in my own business. In the evening when my family was home with me, I was physically spending time with them, but I was not fully enjoying them or completely engaged in the experience because my mind was off worrying about all the things I still needed to do to help my clients. At the end of the day, I was physically and mentally exhausted and felt as if I had not experienced any enjoyment in my day, even though, deep down inside I truly enjoy my work and my family. I was left wondering, why was I feeling so drained and unfulfilled when I was doing something I loved? What was happening was that I was stealing my own happiness, but not being present in either situation.

Once I learned to compartmentalize, my world changed. Now when I am working in my business I am only focused on thoughts that pertain to the business. In the evening when I am with my family, I push all of those work thoughts back in the work cabinet and I do not bring them back out again until I am done enjoying time with my family. This one small trick has changed my entire outlook on life because it can allow you to find true enjoyment and fulfillment in every single day.

Start sorting out your thoughts right now. Where are you and what should you be thinking about in this moment? Once you leave that situation, put those thoughts away until you return and move on to the next moment. It does take some practice and diligence to push those sneaky thoughts back into their cabinet and shut the door on them, but it is critical to practice this if you don’t want to contaminate the moments in your life with outside thoughts.

You now have the awareness and power to stop stealing your own happiness. If we can do it, why can’t you?

 

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