In the journey toward realizing your dreams, there will be a strong call for you to remain mindful about your deepest desires as competing interests distract you for your time, space and resources.
Yet, what exactly is mindfulness and why is it so important in reaching our goals? I use the word a lot in coaching and see it used widely in the profession each day—it’s assumed we all know what it is and how to use it. Since I do not believe we have as good of an understanding as we could about this word, today I’m going to break it down to help you understand its power and meaning in your life.
Webster’s defines the word as, the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.
The inclusion of non-judgment is critical in this definition. Being mindful, involves accepting that there is no right or wrong way to think or feel in a given moment. There are simply sensations and an experience. No more, no less.
Yet, there are many “judging” thoughts that come into your mind–attempting to evaluate the experience of the moment. This is where you have the power to step up your mindfulness game by observing and releasing your mind habits.
As you increase your ability to put wandering thoughts in their place, you will learn that you are not your thoughts, rather the watcher inside who is aware of the thoughts as well as your power to change them.
The Buddhists add that mindfulness must include full acceptance of the present moment. Thich Nhat Hanh shares that acceptance helps us avoid craving, “when we long for something to be different than it is right now.”
Furthermore, the Buddhist philosophy shares that it is completely fine to have desires, but when they lead us to rejecting the present moment— we create frustration and strong aversion, with further intensifies our cravings.
All this being said, mindfulness allows us to detach from our wild mind, feel the experience of the now and make decisions in service to our present self, accepting the world as it is.
Our wild mind is the culprit of many of the poor decisions we make that do not serve our ultimate goals. The wild mind wants to feed the craving, give into the compulsive thoughts—do anything to feel at peace with the dissonance between what it wants and what currently “is.”
Although we all seek different things in life, it is peace within our mind that we crave the most. This can cost you nothing or it can cost you everything, depending on how you choose to cultivate mindfulness in your life.
As you contemplate how to bring mindfulness into your life as a powerful tool to realize your dreams, follow the below steps to cultivate mindfulness.
- Pay close attention to your breathing, when you are feeling intense emotions
- Notice in the given moment you have, the sights, sounds and smells that slip by without your typical conscious awareness
- Recognize that your thoughts and emotions are fleeting and do not define you
- Label your thoughts as “just thoughts,” i.e. I’m having that “I’m not good enough” thought or “I’ll never find a partner” thought.
- When you have a craving, feel into the moment as much as possible—describe everything around you and express gratitude for what there already is.
A few more reasons on why to practice mindfulness….
- It helps you focus, tune out distractions and improves memory and attention skills.
- It enhances your relationships, making each partner feel more optimistic and relaxed, accepting and closer to one another.
- Fights obesity, encouraging healthier eating habits by helping people savor what they eat.
- Increasing your mindfulness has a directly positive correlation to increasing concentration.
As a coach, I have a lot of powerful tools and wisdom to share with people to help them change their habits. Nevertheless, the power that they seek to have sustainable change lies within them.
You have the power to change your life through building mindfulness, what are you going to do today to cultivate it?