What is Mindfulness Anyway?

“Mind this, mind that, become mindful.”

Mindfulness has become the latest lifestyle craze, but what on earth does being mindful truly mean? In some context, it means making healthy choices or smart consumer purchases, while in other, it determines how to interact with yourself and others. Mindfulness is everywhere, and maybe that’s why no one knows what it is exactly.

YogiApproved.com states, “mindfulness is defined as a state of heightened awareness around your moment thoughts, emotions and experiences.”

While mindfulness can be as simple as making health-conscious choices, it can be so much more. It is living in and observing how you feel in the moment, then acting based on these observations. It leads you to live the life you have to the fullest extent and strive to create meaning from it for yourself.

Congressman Tim Ryan even published a book on the matter and recently hosted an event in Rocky River to share his journey in the practice of mindfulness and how to work into the everyday lives of Americans. “It seems to me that if we embrace these values individually, it will benefit us collectively. And our country will be a little bit better off as a result,” he said in his book, A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit.

This might sound hokey, but the core of this idea is to be aware of your life and check-in with yourself to make sure you are happy. If you’re unhappy, observe why and make the needed changes to bring you happiness while you live in the moment of unhappiness.

Mindfulness is a kind of ‘choose your own adventure’ philosophy to life, which isn’t far from how most of us live our lives prior to knowledge of the concept. This lifestyle may have come out of yoga studios, but anyone can easily incorporate the mantra in their everyday lives.

The first step to achieve this state of mind is to evaluate what you believe in and think about your actions. Do you disapprove of animal testing or inhuman treatment of animals? Do you want to be more environmentally friendly? Dig deep and ask yourself what is important to you.

The second step is to apply the passions and values you discovered to your life. If you believe in proper care of animals, start buying products that support human treatment of animals. If you want to be more environmentally friendly, start recycling and buying recycled products, or buy from companies with an environmental policy. You can even start or join a club to help spread your beliefs and make changes.

The third step is to follow the premises of your values, but not push them onto others. How would you feel if someone tried to push their beliefs onto you when you don’t share that belief? Always remember that you are only human. If you can’t follow through with something you believe in because it no longer fits you or your situation, don’t be too hard on yourself.

The final step is to live in the moment; take a deep breath, analyze how you feel and why you feel that way.

Mindfulness is just another lens to see life through. Maybe you like the thoughtfulness, or maybe the constant analysis of what you’re doing drives you crazy. Following this lifestyle craze is up to you, but it’s worth it to think about.

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