This week we’re taking a look at number 1 in our “15 Things Mindful People Do Differently” we shared a couple of weeks ago…
The reason babies and children are so happy is that they have quiet minds – they haven’t started to worry or give meaning to the events, circumstances, and situations that unfold. Babies and children observe life, they don’t think about life.
Adults don’t take the world in – most of the time we just concentrate on the endless parade of thoughts flitting through our heads instead of actually paying attention to life around us.
The definition of mindfulness is paying full attention to the present moment and observing it without judgement.
One of the fundamental principles behind mindfulness is that we all take our thoughts far too seriously. We think our thoughts always mean something. One of the reasons we worry so much and experience so many negative emotions is because we take our thoughts about the world more seriously than the world itself.
All kinds of ridiculous thoughts go through our heads. And sometimes you know not to trust them. When you’re tired, angry, or sick, you don’t take your thoughts as seriously. On some level, you know you’re not “clear headed” and your emotions are taking over control.
It’s when you’re having a tough day that you can easily get swept up in the multitude of thoughts leaving you totally stressed out. It’s those days when mindfulness can help you lighten up.
Here are some ways to practice mindfulness when you can feel yourself getting too caught up in your head:
- Observe rather that judge. Rather than attaching meaning to your thoughts, let them float by. You can come back to those that matter, when you need to.
- Return to your senses. Remember that your thoughts aren’t real – Life is real. To help you see clearly, focus on your senses and notice the world around you. How does that cup of coffee smell? What sounds can you hear around you? Rather than distract yourself, try immersing yourself in the world around you.
- Label intrusive thoughts. Give a negative/stressful/fearful thought a funny name that trivializes it: Oh, that film, “This is going to be a huge disaster.” is on again. Oh, look, that “I blew it again.” train has pulled into the station. Alternatively, you can choose labels such as “doubting”, “fearing”, “judging,” etc.