10 Intentional Ways to Start Improving Your Life Today
Mindfulness has become quite popular in the areas of self-awareness and self-help. Living in the moment–with greater intention for the present–is not just a great philosophy. Mindfulness is good for your health having been proven to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety, among other things.
Being grateful for what you already have in your life. Start a gratitude journal, and write down the blessings from each day before you fall asleep. Make a gratitude list to post on the fridge as a reminder for those moments when you feel overwhelmed and stressed out.
Our breath impacts our emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being. The wonderful thing about mindful breathing is it’s available to use everywhere. Utilize yogic breath when you are sitting at the stop sign and are late for work, or in the waiting room at an over-booked doctor’s office, for example. Please see our Free Resources tab, under the heading Self, for a free downloadable handout on yogic breath.
Self-Care is the foundation of all that we are and do. Mindful self-care is often a foreign concept to most. It’s critical to take care of yourself in order to fulfill all the roles that you take on in life. The analogy of the flight attendant telling passengers to put on their own oxygen mask before attempting to help others is a good one. You will become exhausted, angry, depressed and burnt out if you don’t practice self-care.
Be in Nature
The peace we can experience when we are still in nature is beyond comparison.
Mindfully using all of our senses makes the most of our time in nature. The best mindfulness practice is to pay attention to what we smell, see, hear, etc. wherever we are. And nature provides our senses with a wide array of soothing stimuli. As the great writer Frank Lloyd Wright advised “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
Once we learn to go with the flow, to ride the wave, to relax the need to control the outcome, we are on the path to mindfulness. Letting go is not about no longer caring about how you live your life. It is about trusting the universe to provide you with the right outcome. Make your mantra I will let go and just flow.
Creative visualization is the art of using mental imagery and affirmation to generate changes in your life. It is a powerful technique to manifest our desires. Studies have found visualizing the results you desire improves performance in areas including sports, public speaking, and attaining life goals.
Learn to Receive
Vulnerability is difficult for most of us. We receive the message be strong from parents and role models, it’s everywhere we look. However, we must change our perspective on vulnerability–it is not a sign of weakness. Really, it is being brave enough to ask for what we need, and willing to receive with an open heart and mind.
Clear the Clutter
Clearing the physical clutter in your environment not only impacts your space, but also your emotional well-being. When you have a cluttered home or office, it is tough to relax and be productive. Try getting rid of stuff you don’t need first, and then get organized with the remaining items.
Pay it Forward
Kindness is the current buzzword; the message to practice kindness is everywhere. Kindness in its simplest form is defined as being considerate or helpful. Holding the door for someone, smiling at a stranger, or phoning someone you know is struggling are all simple, yet significant acts of kindness. It doesn’t need to cost you a penny, but might just be the one connection that helps another person make it through their day.
Only you can determine what feeds your soul, provides you with joy, and motivates you toward change. Have you always wanted to take an art class or learn to downhill ski? Follow your career dream of becoming a designer? Do you want to travel more? Become an advocate for homeless animals? We all need something that we are passionate about. If you aren’t sure, start an intentional search for what is missing in your life.
Living your life mindfully takes practice and persistence. Midlife is the perfect time to make changes to improve your life. And if you are like me and have monkey brain, it takes a bit more effort. Be patient with yourself as you practice this state of being present; it often goes against how we have lived for a long time. Mindfulness is well worth the effort, leading you toward connecting to your true self, and living an intentional life.
“In today’s rush we all think too much—seek too much—want too much
—and forget about the joy of just being.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Till next time, Sandra
Have your pictures turned into a work of art at Drawberry!