3 Tips for Taking a More Mindful Approach to Life

mindful

One of the weirdest paradoxes of our times is that we are more materially comfortable than ever before, with technology allowing us to lounge around on the sofa for endless hours, in perfectly temperature-controlled environments, and with an endless array of interesting TV programs to watch on demand — but that, at the same time, we are apparently more stressed and anxious than ever before. With this in mind, we may all benefit from a more mindful approach to life.

For all the benefits that may come with a highly technologically-developed way of living, we also have to shoulder constant “static”, distraction, comparison to others, and so on. Finding the time and space to just relax with our thoughts and enjoy our immediate environments, has become increasingly difficult.

24/7 we’re comparing ourselves to our friends on Facebook, we’re gossipping on Twitter, we’re worrying about the latest news headlines, and we’re trying to absorb endless small information bites in the form of online articles and more.  The worrying thing is, this only describes the modern pressures that come with being digitally connected!

Finding ways to regain a more mindful approach to life can be very important in terms of our ability to unwind appreciate the moment. I completed a mindfulness diploma back at the beginning of the year and I have to say that I am glad I did. I was a very in-depth course and opened my eyes to mindful living.

Here are some suggestions for doing just that yourselves….

Dress More Mindfully

Take a more deliberate “quality over quantity” approach to your wardrobe. Many people deal with clothes in a pretty mindless way. They’ll grab whatever’s cheap and on sale, they’ll fill their wardrobe with all kinds of things they don’t really like, and they’ll feel vaguely discontented with their personal fashion. By “they”, I used to mean “me”. Taking a more deliberate, “quality over quantity” approach to your wardrobe can be a great way of reconnecting with the clothes you wear, in a mindful manner. Taking to time to inspect a stylish new ladies shirt collection and pick out a garment that really works for you, is better than buying 4 shirts cheaper shirts that don’t suit you. Consider how an item feels when you put it on, and how it makes you feel.

Consider Using a Fountain Pen to Write With

Most things that need to be written are typed, these days, and for those things that still get written out by hand, we’re more generally inclined to use cheap disposable ballpoint pens than to go to all the trouble of using a fountain pen. There are some good reasons to consider using a fountain pen to write with, however.For one thing, a fountain pen is almost a work of art. It’s an elegant device that can last you for years. It requires more attention when writing, and can produce much more attractive handwriting.There’s a whole ritual to using a fountain pen, from choosing the type of ink, to writing with intent. Writing with a fountain pen just makes the act of writing more meaningful. If this appeals to you, you might be interested in my book review of The Joy of Mindful Writing.

Reduce Your Screen Time

Use tools and services to help prevent you spending too much time online. The internet is a valuable resource, but it can absolutely be over-used, and when it is overused, you can find yourself falling through an endless abyss of clickbait headlines, videos, and memes. Use tools and services such as Cold Turkey Blocker to limit the time you spend online. With your new-found offline time, read more books instead. With a book, you get a much deeper, slower-paced, more engaging look into a subject than you do by skimming the web. Find great titles and reviews on GoodReads (web and app).

What do you consider a mindful activity? What would you like to do less of or more, to reduce the noise all around us and focus more on what is important, and what is going on around you?

Maintaining Positive Relationships

positive relationships

Roy and I have been married for 15 years and together a few more than that. I’m very lucky in that I didn’t just marry the man I love, I married my best friend. We have people ask us (we’re both very soppy when it comes to each other) how we’ve kept our marriage going so well so here are some things for anyone to consider. We’re not marriage guidance counsellors but these are good all-rounders for working on positive relationships, be this a partnership, marriage or friendship.

Spend Some Quality Time Together

Make sure you spend regular, quality time together. Get away from social media, the TV, and technology, and focus on one another for a while. You could go on weekends away, one date night per week or fortnight, or even plan regular vacations. Just bear in mind that one break every so often is unlikely to be enough to bring you and your partner closer together if you’re not spending enough time together during the week. We have busy weeks, children and all sorts going on but still make time to have date nights, even if they are in the house! It’s all about making time in your busy life to build and enjoy positive relationships.

Reconnect With Yourself

Work on finding your own passions and hobbies, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying yourself. When you’re in a better place personally and mentally, you stand to make your relationship far better with your partner, with family and with friends. Self care is important! When you and your partner aren’t happy in yourselves, it’s going to be virtually impossible to be happy with one another.

Be Creative In Showing Your Love

Find new and exciting ways to show your love to one another. Be creative, whether it’s writing one another love letters, making fancy dinners, or dressing up just to spend time with them. Show them that you still care in different ways and it’ll bring some novelty into your relationship – something all relationships need to stay fresh. For example, we don’t do Valentine’s Day, it just isn’t our thing but we surprise each other with daft and funny things at random times. These make us laugh and create shared positive memories.

Deal With Intimacy Issues

Thankfully this isn’t something we’ve ever had a problem with, but in the spirit of producing a well-rounded blog post with tips for all, it’s worth including. Intimacy is another important key to any relationship and feeling close to your partner. Work on ways you can be more intimate with one another, whether that’s saying how you really feel, or working on ways you can become more intimate in the bedroom. If you’re having problems in that regard, you could look at some treatment options for impotence, or something more suited to your problem. 

Bond Over Common Hobbies And Interests

Couples find that they bond more effectively over common hobbies and interests. If you both love art, go to galleries together. If you love thrifting, head to markets. If you love food, just try out new places to eat! There are probably all kinds of things you can do to bring you together and feel closer than ever before. For Roy and I, it is Dungeons and Dragons, shared geekery and more. It’s the same with our friendships, we all have things in common such as hobbies and interests.

Practice Communicating for Positive Relationships

Poor communication is one of the most common reasons that a relationship breaks down. I have seen real-world examples of this time and time again. Be it a married or a friendship, it’s important to be able to communicate openly and honestly.

Live In The Moment

Rather than living in the past or worrying about the future, try to live in the moment. Have more fun together spontaneously, and really make the most of your time together. There’s nothing worse than spending time with somebody who’s mind just isn’t there! After completing a mindfulness diploma last year I’ve found living in the moment fun and getting the most out of my time with people I have positive relationships with also easier!

 

Positive relationships make for a happier life, they really do. Surrounding yourself with people who understand you, who you understand, who are on the same wavelength and have shared interests is what makes for fun times, great memories and support for each other when needed. Make sure that you take time to nurture the important relationships in your life.

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