The Mindful Person’s Guide to a More Meaningful Day.
Simple things you can do to make your ordinary life extraordinary.
Life can be one big “To Do” list, a colorless depressing heap of mandatory tasks that we check off before calling it a day and repeating it the next.
If you observe with an objective eye, you’ll begin to see twinkling bits amongst the rubble, like a beam of light pushing through a shaft.
So as you live each day, look around as if you’re seeing things for the first time, like a stranger in a different country or maybe an alien visiting earth for the first time.
Open your mind and heart to possibility and consider some the following.
Morning has broken.
It’s a brand new day, again. Look to the sky and watch the sunrise. Observe the subtle changes in light and the shifting colors. It’s a miracle, and it happens every day.
Be grateful that you’re still here. Inhale and stretch. If you had a good night’s rest, give thanks. If you didn’t, give thanks that you have a warm bed and a roof over your head.
In those initial waking moments, listen for the first sounds of the day.
Smell the Coffee.
Allow the aroma of that coffee or tea to seep into your nose, down your throat, and into your lungs. Allow it to prepare your taste buds for that first sip.
There is little to compare to the joy of that first cup of coffee. Listen to it percolate or brew.
Cradle that hot mug in your hands.
Close your eyes as you take the first sip.
Just relax. Drink the entire cup with your eyes closed, inhaling deeply. If you can do it in silence, so much the better. If not, be grateful for those in your life.
Journal or Meditate
Once you’ve put down that mug, pick-up a pen, or sit quietly.
Write down one to three affirmations. They can be simple: “I will count to three before I open my mouth and blow-up.” This one has worked wonders for me.
Set an intention. If you can’t think of one, how’s this: “I will find the positive, the flip side, of anything negative that happens.” There’s no dark without light.
If you’re meditating, listen to the sound of the in-breath going in and the out-breath going out. Set an intention. Let the breath become part of your muscle memory. It will come in handy in stressful situations.
See the Day.
As you step out the front door, notice that you’re stepping out the door. Look around you. If there is order and abundance around you, give thanks. Many live in poverty and war zones.
And you can walk. Feel your feet planted firmly on the ground, the earth supporting you and gravity holding you to it. If you’re walking pain-free, that’s another thing to notice.
Take note of each step. Breathe and go back to the feeling you experienced as you watched the sunrise or were meditating.
Can you smell flowers, trees, the ocean or clean, fresh air? Can you hear birds or laughter? All these things are small, precious gifts.
Whenever you have a chance, feel your lungs fill with air, your ribs spread. Yes, I’ve said this before, but you’d be surprised how often we hold our breath without realizing it.
The deeper you breathe, the more air you get. All it takes is effort. If you can do this without thinking, then chances are you are healthy.
Take time to breathe consciously. Breath in for three seconds. Breath out for three seconds. Feel your jaw relax, your shoulders relax. Stretch your fingers, roll your wrists.
Continue to breathe. Try to increase the length of your exhales so that they’re twice as long as your inhales. Breathe in for two, exhale for four. This type of breathing relaxes your nervous system, and it won’t cost you a cent or a second of time.
Where are you going?
If you work, then your destination is the same for several days a week. If you have a day off, don’t work or are retired, you’re choosing to go somewhere. Be grateful you have somewhere to go and people to see.
You are not in a wheelchair, the hospital, or a nursing home. You are free to go where ever you wish.
Freedom is a big deal.
Take this job, and…
Shove it or love it. Okay, that’s going a bit too far. Maybe you can just like it, but at least you have one, and it sustains you. Perhaps not in the style you’d like, but it provides your basic needs.
As much as you may not like or job, maybe you do even hate it and with good reason, write down five things you appreciate in your workplace. Perhaps it’s a person on your team, a computer that works well, or the fact that it’s quiet when you first arrive in the morning.
There’s something good no matter how bad the overall vibe is.
Take a break
Whether it’s a coffee break or lunch break, enjoy it.
Take time to check-in with yourself. Smell the coffee, again, chew slowly and really taste the food that’s nourishing your body. Be grateful you have food, and the money to buy it.
And if you’re eating with other people, enjoy their company. There’s no guarantee anyone will be here tomorrow.
Smile and see who smiles back. Keep count.
A smile can be healing to someone who is struggling or lonely. Everyone is dealing with something. It doesn’t take time or money to smile at someone.
In the end, it will make you happier, too.
Smiles are contagious.
It’s all about me.
What is it that makes you different? Everyone has their little quirks, and it’s what makes us so interesting. Take pride in your uniqueness, even if it’s something like an odd sense of humor or the way you walk.
No one else is exactly like you or me. We’re all like snowflakes, in a sense.
Try one of the things listed above for a day at a time. If you’re not the smiley type, that’s okay. Meditate or spend a few extra moments enjoying that cup of coffee.
But do whatever you do with complete attention to it. Check-in with your feelings and take note of other’s reactions. You’ll notice a subtle shift in perspective, and a new outlook will add variety to your life.
Our days and lives are made up of small moments, and they add up. You can make them add up to something good. It’s up to you.
And you can begin now.