Mindfulness can mean a great many things depending on who you ask. Essentially this is a tool and like any tool, it can be used in numerous different ways.
Specifically, mindfulness can be used to change what we focus on and to change the way we think. Too often we don’t pay attention to what’s going on inside our mind and that makes us victims of our emotions. We can be in a beautiful place doing fun things with friends, only to find ourselves thinking about work and getting stressed – not actually enjoying the situation we’re in.
Likewise, we can have everything we could possibly want in life and not be happier. And it all comes down to what we choose to focus on.
This is why you can use mindfulness, among other things, as a brilliant tool for making yourself happier and more at ease with your life.
Sometimes this is referred to as a ‘gratitude attitude’. All that effectively means, is that you’re putting yourself in a state of mind where you’re focussing on the things you’re grateful for and you’re happy for. And one very easy way to do that is simply to take a time out at the end of each day to write down those things and to think about them.
Try and end every day by writing three things that you’re thankful for and reflecting on them. Where possible, try to make these different things each day and avoid repetition.
Sometimes these will be obvious things: like your health, like the people you love and like the fact that you have access to food. Focussing on the people you love in particular is a great way to be more grateful to people and this can end up actually improving your relationship with them.
But at the same time, you’re also going to think about those smaller silly things. Maybe you’re grateful for the delicious cereal you’ll have tomorrow? Maybe you’re grateful for the fact that there’s a new film coming out that you’re very excited about? These are all legitimate things!
Now try to carry this over into your daily life. Each time you think of something you don’t have, or that isn’t the way you want it, try to think as well about the things you’re grateful for and what you do have. Don’t have that big flat screen TV? Well just be grateful you have a computer that can watch pretty much any film you can dream of on demand.
Likewise, you should try and think about language and the way you talk – which can have a big impact on your gratitude as well as on the way that other people think about you. For example, trying to stop complaining is something that is very worthwhile. The next time you find yourself saying anything negative, try and follow it up with a positive point that counteracts it. You’ll feel happier and people will think of you as a more positive person they want to be around!