Mindfulness: The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something; a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings and thoughts.
As a practical matter, how do we achieve mindfulness? Here is a simple three step guide. First, by understanding. Second, by committing to a process. Third, by reflecting daily.
- Understanding:Mindfulness is simply being aware of everyday events as they occur around us and appreciating how it makes us feel and how we interact, internalize, and respond to those events.
- Committing:Develop a process by identifying attributes that are important to you personally. As you set your intentions each day, select just one as your focus. Then throughout the day consciously seek to notice—in situations and in others—that one attribute, with an intention to acknowledge your feelings surrounding it and appreciating those feelings without judgment.
To help you get started, here is my current list: abundance, blessed, motivated, hopeful, optimistic, courage, love, confident, dedicated, positive, peaceful, wise, relaxed, and calm. My focus Tuesday was courage. As it was the first day of school, I witnessed touching acts of courage at the bus stop—students stepping onto the bus for the first time and parents watching.
Grand acts of courage, maybe-maybe not. But I allowed myself to be present in that moment long enough to watch the students take those first giant steps onto the bus and parents snap one last photo as their precious little ones disappeared from sight.
For those students and parents at that moment, it felt courageous to me. I allowed myself to feel those emotions, recalling my own experience, appreciating the feelings of fear, pride, anticipation, love, and courage surrounding that event. This is what it means to be in a state of mindfulness. Recognizing and feeling that moment for ourselves and others.
By focusing on one attribute daily, it provides a way to practice mindfulness that is practical yet inspiring.
Being present enough to observe in others attributes we admire as they go through their day (often without even realizing we’ve stepped into their world) enhances how we show up in life.
- Reflecting:Throughout the day consciously remind yourself of the daily attribute. Recall and share those moments with others, record those moments, emotions, and your response in your journal, or simply feel gratitude for giving yourself permission to notice them.
This daily practice enriches how I show up in the world and I believe it can for you too. It is a practical way to start your journey of mindfulness. Give yourself permission to start small because mindfulness is not a place you arrive—it is a daily journey. By embracing your journey and daily successes, it builds confidence for you to continue your practice.
And finally, remember mindfulness is like any other skill; in order to improve, we must first begin and then practice that which we desire to become.
Amy Garbacz is a wife, mother, and former teacher who turned her passion for helping others achieve into a successful online business. Using her experience and skills, she leads a team of like-minded entrepreneurs whose passion it is to serve, contribute, mentor, encourage, and guide others to live their life by design.