Hi! Today I’m going to be a bit vulnerable and share a little about the way I strive to live my life, and why I think this mantra I have chosen is something that can benefit anyone anywhere when focused on. If you read my very first blog post, Here’s to Firsts, or my About page, then a few things I say here might sound slightly familiar. But don’t stop reading now, because I really think you will get something out of this!
If you haven’t already noticed, the tagline of my blog is ‘living mindfully’. This is a reflection of my life mantra and a reminder to always come back to being thoughtful in all I do. Now first of all… what exactly is a life mantra? Well, the origin of the word ‘mantra’ is Sanskrit, and it refers to a commonly repeated word or phrase. Nowadays it is often times used to describe a concept, formula, phrase, or something similar that is repeated and meant to be used as guiding advice in a certain situation or just in general. ‘Carpe Diem’, for example, is a popular mantra we have all heard. All of this being said, ‘live mindfully’ has become my personal life mantra. But why?
In the past few years, as I was going through college and everything seemed to fly by in a chaotic manner, this became something that was very important to me. By staying determined to live mindfully, I continuously reminded myself to slow down, take in my surroundings, and enjoy the now. We always hear the cheesy saying ‘live in the moment’… this is definitely a similar way of thinking, but I see ‘live mindfully’ as a reminder to take a more wholesome approach to staying present, recognizing all components of our environment and ourselves within it.
So, what does ‘live mindfully’ even mean? It can mean a whole bunch of things… but I think this little book, Mindfulness on the Go, explains it pretty well. This book has not only defined for me more clearly what mindfulness is but it has taught me ways to implement it in my everyday life in more intentional, thoughtful ways.
“Mindfulness is deliberately paying full attention to what is happening around you and within you – in your body, heart, and mind. Mindfulness is awareness without criticism or judgment.”
To me, living mindfully simply means to constantly make a priority out of being mindful throughout everything I do in life, as the quote stated above says. It is a way of purposefully taking in what’s happening in and around me.
Don’t get me wrong – I by no means have perfected this… it’s easy to succumb to our society and distract myself with technology or let my mind wander to consuming thoughts of times and things other than what’s happening in the present. Everyone struggles with this, especially when we have a lot on our plates… and at times it is PERFECTLY FINE to let our thoughts drift or take time to relax and look at our phones or watch TV. However, if we are constantly in this state of distraction and aren’t 100% present where we are, we’ll often find ourselves dissatisfied and/or unable to really appreciate life.
Here are 3 of the many reasons why I have chosen ‘live mindfully’ as my mantra.
1. I find myself feeling happier and more alive
Can you recall a time when everything was clear and vivid and you experienced something genuinely or unusually beautiful, almost like you were in a trance? It doesn’t have to be something dramatic – it could just be when you were looking around while walking down the street and felt a wave of bliss, happiness, or just in awe of the world. You were most likely completely aware with all 5 senses in that moment. As a result, you probably felt more alive and connected to your environment, and I bet you had a pleasant look on your face without even knowing it.
When I do my best to be mindful, I can fully appreciate my circumstances and what they entail, meaning I end up more able to experience happiness and positivity since my mind isn’t elsewhere. For example, if I’m hanging out with my family and am actually talking and relating with them instead of being on my phone or thinking of what I have to do later on, I feel happier at the end of the day.
In the book I mentioned earlier it states “Much of our dissatisfaction with life will disappear, and many simple joys will emerge, if we can learn to be present with things just as they are”.
2. New information & opportunities come my way
In being mindful I am automatically more aware and therefore more thoughtful and analytical. I take the time to think deeper, which stimulates curiosity – something I think is crucial for continual growth in life! When we’re curious we often seek new information or knowledge that we weren’t familiar with before. And finally, I notice new things in old places. I remember once for a class in college we had to refrain from using our phones except for a few necessary calls a day… I saw so many new things across campus when I wasn’t preoccupied while walking from class to class.
This is huge in today’s culture that is so intertwined with and dependent on technology. Think about this one for a second! If we were mindful while waiting in lines, instead of checking our email or looking at Instagram, we might spark up a conversation with the person next to us. And who knows – maybe they could be the gateway to our dream job, or refer us to a new restaurant we might love. Try it next time you’re waiting for something! (Unless, of course, you’re stuck waiting at the DMV for hours… in that case I would say it’s totally acceptable to entertain yourself with your phone for a bit.)
3. My memories are more clear and easier to recall
Ok so now I want you to think of one of your favorite memories. I bet you remember what time of day it was, who was there, the colors, what it smelled like… once again this is because you were living mindfully, present in the moment.
Mindfulness helps us create memories that are more clear in our mind, making it so that they are more attainable. Our past is less fuzzy and easier to look back on when we’re thinking of times when we were living mindfully with all of our senses activated.
This is why I get so frustrated when the people around me at a concert are videotaping the entire thing… I get maybe taking a couple videos, but are you really going to go back and watch that whole video at some point? It’s much more enjoyable to be immersed in your surroundings than worrying about the shot you’re getting in your video and prohibiting yourself from making complete memories.
Although there are many more, these are just some of the reasons why I have decided to focus on living mindfully. This mantra is so meaningful to me – I have gained so much from living by it and will definitely continue to do so (or at least try).
I do want to quickly address the fact that this must seem silly coming from me, someone who’s recently started this whole blogging thing and has to spend a fair amount of time online to keep it going… BUT I will say that is part of why I chose to start autumnsorelle.com. I want to maintain a value of trying new things, going new places, and meeting new people – all while being sure to stay mindful so that I can recall the moment clearly later on and maybe even write about it. I want to be mindful about how I express and present myself through style, and stay creative throughout all aspects of life.
I highly suggest making a point to live mindfully for at least a period of time, and then reflecting on the differences you noted in your life. If you’re curious or even slightly considering doing this, I recommend buying the book I mentioned throughout this post, Mindfulness on the Go: Simple Meditation Practices You Can Do Anywhere by Jan Chozen Bays. It is available for less than $10 on Amazon – click here. I use it as a guide to being more intentional about mindfulness. To give you an idea of what to expect – the book includes ideas of ways to be mindful in your daily life, such as tip #4: When Eating, Just Eat (something I mentioned in my recent post on fish tacos). I personally have loved it since it is not overwhelming and gives simple suggestions!
Remember – to live mindfully is to live fully.
Thank you for reading! If you liked what you read and feel like you got something out of this post, please feel free to share using the buttons below. Also, I would love to know what you think in a comment. Have a great day!
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