What if I told you that you could get rid of a lot of your unwanted emotional baggage if you learned how to change your way of being? It might sound like a bunch of hoopla, but to be honest, it’s 100% true.
Though we may not be able to control all of the circumstances that happen in our lives, we can ultimately modify how they impact us by altering the way we approach how we relate to and resolve these circumstances. Those who have ever practiced mindfulness know exactly what I’m talking about.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the art of concentrating on the present without judging it (including yourself and others). It is essentially the psychological process of accepting what is happening in the here and now without worrying about what has happened in the past or what may be in the future.
It may sound like a simple process, but those of us who have unrelenting feelings of doubt, fear, worry, mistrust, and so forth, are typically not engaged in a mindfulness practice, and will hugely benefit by doing so.
When you continuously commit to this new way of being you can significantly improve your quality of life and learn to build healthy relationships – relationships that are largely free of the emotional rollercoaster of conflict, blame and uncertainty.
If you would like switch off the destruction of autopilot living and instead experience the joy of wholehearted intimacy and the safely of consciously loving, then perhaps it’s time to embrace the art of mindfulness.
9 Behaviors Blocking Mindfulness
So what kind of behaviors and habits block your ability to practice mindfulness? If you would like to feel a sense of inner peace and reach a state of being that’s free of the shackles of fear and uncertainty, then these points will help get you started on your path to greater awareness.
Can you relate to any of these 9 behaviors in your life and relationships?
1. Overthinking circumstances – When something happens in your life and you go back and forth as to why it happened, how long it will last, why you’re the only one going through it, etc… you’re overthinking it.
2. Not allowing yourself to feel – Feelings, especially painful feelings can be hard to express. Some of us might even suppress those feelings for fear of feeling weak, vulnerable or naive.
3. Unwillingness to accept change – Change is a constant and natural occurrence in life. If you find it hard to accept change (good or bad) this can impact your ability to be mindful.
4. Holding onto the past – When bad things happen to you in the past, letting go can be one of the hardest things to do. Some of us may even believe that we have let it go, but subconsciously, we hold onto it. You then take this baggage with you and it alters your ability to experience life in the here and now, which can create unnecessary issues in your love life.
5. Trying to predict the future – While it would be nice to have a crystal ball and know what’s going to happen to us tomorrow, or five years from now, we don’t have those abilities. If you’re trying to determine how a circumstance might affect you in the future, you’re not being mindful of the present, or enjoy if for that matter. Have you ever got ahead of yourself with a man – wanted to know what was going to happen before the relationship even started?
6. Expecting the worst – This is another behavior that tends to happen over time and through painful experience. When things get you down over and over, you tend to believe that the worst is bound to happen, putting your guard up, which can hinder your ability to have healthy relationships. i.e. Maybe when a guy doesn’t call you back in a few hours you think he’s not interested, or maybe you start thinking that the relationship is doomed?
7. Trying to take on too many tasks – Though multi-tasking is something that is welcomed in the workplace, it can get out of hand in life. When you’re trying to focus your attention on too many things, you cannot be mindful of what’s happening to you in the present.
8. Procrastination – Procrastination is one of the quickest ways to cause the mind to wander all over the place. When you wait until the last minute to handle things, they have a tendency to pile up on you, leaving you stressed out and unable to just live in the moment.
9. Lying to self (inability to accept what is) – Similar to the inability to accept change, lying to yourself can also hinder mindfulness. Being in denial about a negative circumstance, or even talking yourself into believing something is what it isn’t can be harmful. For instance, knowing in your heart of hearts that a guy is not right for you, but talking yourself into believing he is or denying that he’s a bad guy to begin with may cause you to stay in a relationship that isn’t healthy or right for you.
The list goes on, but these behaviors can seriously hinder our ability to be mindful of the present and in the moment of now.
So how did you go with the list, were there any points that struck a chord with you? If so, there is certainly nothing to be ashamed of…
You are human and through your experiences in life you learn to think in certain ways. The good news is that you can “retrain your brain” so that you can ease a lot of the energy draining baggage that comes along with these mindful blocking behaviors.
10 Ways to be More Mindful
So now that you know what behaviors can block you from living mindfully on a daily basis. Now, let’s look at some actions that you can do to practice mindfulness 24/7.
1. Focus on One Thing at a Time – As we discussed above, multi-tasking can sometimes be the culprit for frustration and lack of concentration. It doesn’t always allow you to be in the moment. As you begin to be more mindful, try cutting back on the many “hats” you have and focus in on one thing at a time. Commit all of your focus and energy to each task. In doing so, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the matter at hand. Effectively, slow down, which leads to…
2. Take The Time To Do Nothing – When you live in a fast paced world, it can be easy to get caught on the “hamster wheel” of nonstop movement. As you can imagine, when your mind and body are constantly on the go, they begin to wear down. So whether it’s 10 minutes or 30 minutes a day, find the time to “just be” and do nothing.
3. Breathe – When you feel your mind or emotions going all over the place, take a few moments and just take conscious, deep breaths. It can make a world of difference. Don’t underestimate the healing benefits of breathing consciously.
4. Meditate – Meditation is an extension of controlled breathing and can help to relieve stress and refocus the mind. Mindful meditation is a practice that can have a ripple effect – the benefits of meditation will often extend into your daily life (including your relationship) and help you to be more centered and at ease throughout the day.
5. Do Something You Love – There’s so much going on in life and in the world around us, sometimes you just need to take time to do something that really makes you happy. Whether it’s reading, painting, dancing, or just binge watching your favorite show, don’t forget to take care of yourself.
6. Listen Attentively – How many times do you find your mind wandering as you’re listening to someone talking to you? In order to be present in the moment you need to listen attentively. Focus on the conversation at hand so that you can respond as necessary.
7. Speak Mindfully – Words have very powerful meaning and many believe they can shape your present and future. Before addressing anything take a few breaths, think and then speak mindfully so that you do not act on impulse or reactive emotion. Many arguments could be avoided simply by stepping back from the situations for a few moments before responding.
8. Be of Service to Others – As a coach I’ve found that there is no greater joy than helping others. Being of service to others also takes your mind off of you, your emotions, and circumstances and allows you to be present to tend to the needs of someone else (of course if you’re an over-giver then perhaps this point is not so much for you, something to be mindful of).
9. Allow Yourself to Feel – Suppressing feelings will only allow them to fester into something bigger. So as things happen in your life, don’t be afraid to feel those emotions. Cry, shout, or laugh, whatever it is you are feeling at the moment experience it. You’ll find it makes it easier to move past later on.
10. Put Good Things in (Get Good Out) – From overeating to stuffing the mind with media garbage, these behaviors can cause you to be less aware of what’s going on now. Be mindful of what you’re putting in your body and in your mind. Eat healthier and limit the amount of unhealthy exposure you consume on a daily basis.
It will take time for you to get to a point where mindfulness is a part of your everyday living. However, if you start by recognizing the behaviors that are blocking you from being mindful, and then start applying mindful practices to your day, you will get better at it.
This is not to say you won’t have moments where your mind is all over the place or stuck ruminating on an issue, but one thing I can promise is that you certainly won’t be as stressed, and through it all you will find that inner joy and happiness is a lot easier to achieve than you may have originally thought.
Being mindful will open so many new doors for you. Not only will it help you to be a more grounded person, it will help you to build healthy relationships with the special people in your life.
MORE: Have you ever thought that maybe your emotions get the better of you and have effected or even ended a relationship? Do you want to know how to make sure this never happens again? ==> Find out here