“Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life.”
There’s a quiet movement happening. More and more people are waking up and questioning the norm. More and more people are becoming aware of their actions, conscious of their decisions. More and more people are choosing themselves, and taking back control.
From living mindfully and reducing stress, to changing habits and following your passion, hopefully these FAQs and articles will help you make a little sense of the madness.
What is mindfulness?
For me, to be mindful is to be acutely aware of the present moment. It’s paying attention to the stuff that’s going on right now, inside and out, without judging it. It’s letting go of the past, and not fretting about the future. It’s returning to a peaceful state, like when we were children.
How can it benefit me?
Becoming more mindful can change your life. I’m far from a Shaolin monk, but practising mindfulness has helped me feel more calm, more peaceful. It can reduce stress, and help prevent disease. It can allow you to discover who you really are, and what your place is in the world, which opens up endless opportunities to improve, grow, and help others.
How can I become more mindful?
There are many different ways to develop mindfulness. Some will work for you, and some won’t. Everyone is different.
One thing that often helps is to observe the habits of mindful people, like those outlined in our guest post by the lovely Kate Wilson.
Perhaps the most talked about mindfulness technique is regular meditation and deep breathing. I also like to use movement as a practice, and various hobbies like martial arts.
We can also develop mindfulness by practising gratitude, serving others, and by letting go of the attachment to outcomes we can’t control.
I find that getting outside in nature often and disconnecting from technology regularly can also really help.
How can I meditate regularly?
I’ve outlined a step by step guide to building the meditation habit in this post here. As well as using those tips, I also like to use guided meditations. If you’re interested, check out this collection of the best free guided meditation sites on the web.
How can I start to change my habits and reach my goals?
Most of us know what we need to do to get where we want to be, but putting that into action can be the hard part. Often we set the bar high, and try to change everything at once. This can work for a week or so, but eventually we revert back to our old ways. I’ve done it loads of times. But through my failures, I’ve learnt a few tricks that have helped me create lasting, sustainable habits, rather than those that fizzle out after a few weeks.
The first step is to have a good reason to change, one that’s aligned with your values. Don’t change just because someone else wants you to, or because of some false idea portrayed by the media. If you don’t have a good reason, it’s unlikely you’ll stick at the habit in the long run.
When you have a good reason why, maybe try setting a big goal or visualising where you want to head towards. Then work backwards from that vision to find the smallest thing you could do today that will move you closer towards it.
Start with just one or two simple actions or habits at a time, making them as easy as possible to reduce the chance of failure. Over time, gradually begin to build upon that habit, inching a little closer to your goal.
To help keep you on track, use triggers and reminders. Like a post it note by your bed, or a reminder on your phone. You can also hold yourself accountable to a friend, set consequences for failing and rewards for succeeding, and and build community around your goal or habit.
But I’ve failed so many times before…
Don’t beat yourself up. You likely made your job a bit too difficult. Willpower is not an infinite source. Make your habit or goal a little easier, and start again.
Keep in mind that perfection is an illusion. We all make mistakes, we all have our flaws an blemishes. They’re what make us human and give us character. Pick yourself up, and move on.
How can I follow my dream career?
When I finished university, I decided to chase my dream career, and I set up Health Room. Although I had no idea what I was doing and I made a lot of mistakes along the way, I’ve somehow managed to make it happen. I’m no expert, but here are a few things that I learnt on the way:
- Have a big reason why, then be prepared to work hard.
- There will be a lot of unknowns and uncertainty. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- Many obstacles will pop up up unexpectedly along the way. Don’t resist against them, be flexible. Flow like water.
- Take baby steps. What is the one step you can take that will take you a little closer today? Do that first, then move onto the next step. Repeat often.
- Have faith and trust yourself and your intuition above anything else.
How can I stop procrastinating?
We all do it. We procrastinate, delaying our dreams, our goals, and our wishes. We put on hold those tasks that perhaps aren’t urgent, but are often the most important, and we substitute them with unimportant tasks, things that don’t get us closer to where we want to be.
Check out this article on why why procrastinate, and what we can do about it: How to Stop Procrastinating And Act Now.
What’s the difference between reactive and proactive behaviour?
Reactive people are often affected by external factors that they can’t influence. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and performance.
Proactive people carry their own weather with them. They don’t let external factors that they can’t control determine how they live their life. You can find out more in the article: Proactive Vs Reactive Behaviour: You Choose.
How can I reduce my stress levels?
Stress is resisting against whatever is going on right now, by projecting into the future or fretting over the past.
So if you can, try your best to just accept the present moment, and only try to change the things that you can change. If that fails, here are forty more tips.
I’m stuck in a rut. How do I get out?
We all face hardships in our lives to some extent. If we don’t deal with them properly, they can begin to pile up on us and start weighing us down. Here are a few methods I’ve found that work quite well for me when I’m feeling stuck in a rut.
How do I become the hero of my own story?
Our lives are typically run by the stories we tell ourselves. We’re the person who eats too much, or never achieves anything. We beat ourselves up, and tell ourselves that we’re not good. But these are just stories. They don’t represent the version of you that’s here right now.
Change the inner dialogue. Let go of the past, and let go of those negative stories you have created about yourself. Start writing a new story today, and start creating habits that back that story up.
You can be the hero. You can be your own version of spiderman, or a modern day samurai warrior.
Remember that every hero has their struggles. Every hero makes mistakes. But they keep moving forward. They chase after what they believe in, and they don’t let adversity pin them down for good.
By Luke Jones