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?

My Perfect: Finding a Little Good in Each Day

Hands up if you’ve ever had a truly rubbish day…..

My Perfect

What if you’re unlucky and have had a series of rubbish days? These things start to bog you down. They make you tired, you feel low and it may become harder and harder to see the positives that are going on around you because you’re too busy wallowing or fighting through the negatives.

my perfectThis is where the My Perfect journal comes in. The brainchild of Ali Gill, this fun journal merges calming colouring (if you want to) with actively searching out a positive or a perfect in every day. I have this journal and have to say that once you’ve started using it, you subconsciously seek out something good in your day or even several somethings. It changes your outlook and encourages you to be more mindful of what is truly going on around you. 

Take last week for instance. I spent most of it in a mad panic as Christmas is fast approaching and I have a ridiculous amount of work to do. I have a bad foot and it ached with the cold pretty much all of the time, everyone seemed to be getting grumpy and a load of bills hit my doormat. All in all, a pretty crappy week. Or was it? T had a fabulous week at school, K was happy, I had a lovely breakfast catch-up with friends and one had fabulous news. I enjoyed a lovely half an hour with just me and my book and another fab morning with a super friend and her daughter. By focusing on the positives and recording them I was able to completely change the way my week went, and how I felt about it.

I’m now entering a ridiculously busy week. I finish for Christmas at midnight (and it will be midnight!) on Thursday. I have a ridiculous amount of work to do, still have some Christmas stuff to sort, it’s still cold and I have to fit a hair appointment in too. I’m already seeing the potential perfects for the week ahead. I know that when I finish piece of work x,y or z that I’m going to feel great. I’m excited about Christmas. My hair appointment might be time out of the working day but the salon I go to treats everyone as a VIP and rather than simply a haircut it’s an opportunity for some pampering.

My perfect

All of this from a journal? Yes, actually! There’s flexibility in how you use My Perfect, however, I would say try and do something daily as doing so helps you form a positive habit. I’m a complete stationery tart as many of you know and this journal just feels nice! I’m not a big one for colouring however even I’ve been tempted to doodle and colour a little. On days where I haven’t, that’s ok too. There are no rules, it’s all about creating a bank of perfects for you to reflect on in the present and to look back on in the future.

If you are looking for a gift for yourself or for anyone else the  My Perfect Journal is available via Amazon and is a wonderful treat, worth everything penny and many more asides.

*I was sent a review copy of this journal and fell in love with it. I’ve already mentioned it in my stationery gift guide but decided to do a bigger write-up, purely because I rate it so highly. Be assured that any reviews I do, I write up based on my experiences only, and nothing is written from a brand crib-sheet or similar.

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