Let’s bring mindfulness into your self-care world
Mindfulness and being mindful, in its core, is the beauty of being here and now, accepting and exploring everything within you and everything around you.
Would you agree if I instantly connect mindfulness with self-care? How do they unite in the name of your better life?
I still remember the WOW moment I had while reading Echart Tole’s book. The author’s theory is straightforward. 99% of the time when we feel pain it is not real pain. It doesn’t come from something that happens here and now. In fact, it is a projection of the past or worry for the future.
Let me give you an example we all could relate to.
Example: Try to remember the last time you were recovering from a devastating breakup. Recall the image in your head. Were you staying in the middle of the night, in your bed, crying and asking yourself why this had happened to you? Were you tearing yourself of regrets for the things you did (or didn’t do)? Were you anxious and scared that the future might never bring you another chance to love again?
Were you in pain?
Of course, you were.
Was that a real pain?
You were in your home, in your bed, safe. There wasn’t any real threat around you. You were not in danger, and you were not in the middle of the breakup either. Remember, you already broke up with that person (or they broke up with you). There wasn’t real action at this moment. But you were in real pain.
Here’s the deal…
Your brain doesn’t know the difference between past, present and future. In your body, time doesn’t exist the way we see it, in the outer world.
Everything that happens inside of you is a reaction here and now.
Every time you call the memory of something in your mind, your brain reacts to it with the same power as if that thing happens here and now. Hence, regrets for the past cause you the pain in the middle of the night. And it’s the same devastating pain you went through while you were breaking up with that person.
We go through the event once in the outer world and many more times in our inner world.
And that’s where mindfulness comes
Mindfulness is the power to focus on the fact that where we are (in the bed, if we follow the example above) isn’t a place of pain.
It helps us realise that we are safe and there are things to pay attention to, right here.
The question is… How?
I offer you 5 powerful ways to use mindfulness as part of your everyday self-care routine. Because mindfulness is precisely that – self-care, releasing the pain from the past, forgetting the worry for the future and enjoying life today.
1. Moving out of your comfort zone
One of the first things you are more than capable of doing when introducing mindfulness in your life is to start with things that require your full attention.
Things that are outside of your comfort zone.
Do you remember the first time you had to drive a car? Were you nervous? Did you think about the food you are supposed to cook in the evening? Were you worried that your boss told you something three months prior?
You were focused on that specific moment – driving, how and when to push the break, how to change gears, looking around at the other cars, the pedestrians, the traffic lights… You were trying to analyse every little detail around you so that you could react according to the surroundings. That’s mindfulness.
And it happens every time we approach something we aren’t used to.
So… Break the routine. Try a different route to work or back home, change the restaurant you usually go to in your lunch break, buy different magazine or newspaper, visit places you avoid visiting (nothing dangerous though).
Change something. It’s so refreshing and brings you an instant opportunity of mindfulness, focusing on the moment and staying in that moment.
2. What gives you pleasure?
Remember the last time you had fun with your friends? You were laughing and talking, maybe dancing and nothing else mattered at that point. You were mindful.
This mindfulness exercise for self-care isn’t to go out with your friends every single day. Instead, it’s about the things that give you pleasure.
Write them down.
It could be reading a book, having a long bath, exercising, visiting family, writing, playing with your pet… List them all.
And then choose one every day (ideally) and practice it with mindfulness. Enjoy the moment, dive into it, explore what excites you the most in it. Be here and now.
Need some inspiration? Here are 77 things that could instantly increase your happiness levels.
3. Mindful food
Can you recall your favourite cooking show? Do you hear the cooking? Can you recall the sound of the knife cutting the carrots, the boiling sauce in the pan, the steam, the colours of the food?
It’s almost like you could taste it just by looking at it, right? You could feel the pleasure of the food melting in your mouth…
You already have all that in your house. Why don’t you use it?
Next time you cook, switch off the TV, forget whatever happened during the day and focus on the food – on the sound of the frying onion, the hardness of the peppers and the crumbs of the salt while you sprinkle it on top of the crunchy salad… Focus on the taste of every bite, the texture of the food, the softness of the bread… Explore everything.
As a bonus, you will notice much faster when you’re full and prevent overeating. And that’s self-care.
One of the most popular ways to manifest abundance, to attract good things in life, to boost your self-confidence, the levels of your overall happiness and show self-care is gratitude.
The power of gratitude is so well-known that I will skip it here.
Instead, I will show you a way to use gratitude as a mindfulness practice you could do every day.
Write down three things you are grateful for. All of these three things must be present at the moment of writing. Is it the silence in the room? Maybe it’s the songs of the birds outside? It could be the peace you feel within you, the love you feel towards a person, the fact that your kids are happily running and screaming in the garden, or the smell of your aroma candle, the sun peeking through the trees… There are so many things you could be grateful for, and they are happening right now.
See them. Appreciate them.
5. Your friend in the mirror
There is someone you forget about all the time.
This someone needs your attention.
This someone is often neglected, forgotten, pushed aside and gets your attention only after you already gave it to everyone around.
This someone is You.
Look in the mirror. Appreciate yourself the way you look today. You will never be younger than that. You will never look the same way. Tomorrow you will be different. It doesn’t mean you will look or feel worse, but just different. Never again the way you are right now.
Look after this friend in the mirror. See his eyes and hear his needs. Say “Thank you”.
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