What does it mean to live fully? How do you exercise your mind to shift into optimal perspective? Here are some proven methods to incorporate into your daily regimen.
Meditate-I could go on and on about the scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of a regular mindfulness practice. Suffice it to say that you will notice the positive shifts in your life when you begin to meditate daily. You will be able to create enough inner space to make room for both the joy and pain of your human experience. Meditation cultivates a neutral mind with less judgments and futile attempts to change reality. The more you practice exercising the muscles of your awareness, the more you fully experience and accept life just the way it is. This practice leads to a greater connection to yourself, other people, and events of your day. It can take as little as 5 minutes a day to meditate for as little as eight weeks to see notable changes in your mind.
Self-compassion-This practice goes along with meditation because it is a huge component of mindful attention. Developing an attitude of kindness and friendliness towards yourself will increase your level of self-acceptance and self-love. To begin, imagine what you would say to a close friend having a hard time. Then aim to keep your inner dialogue at that same level of compassion. Say kind things to yourself, write yourself a love letter, and put sticky notes on your mirror that reflect your admiral qualities. Working on self-compassion opens you up to make room for being ok just as you are.
Gratitude- What details do you tend to hold onto at the end of the day? A gratitude practice is a simple way to reshape your perception of life for the better. Keep a journal by your bed to record 5-10 things each day for which you are grateful. This is a quick and powerful way to shift your focus into a state of gratitude.
Incorporating these simple practices will add to the quality of your one precious life. And of course, this moment is always the perfect time to start.
*An abridged version of this article to appear in the Summer 2017 issue of Maui Vision Magazine*
Tanya Gabriel, MA, LMHC provides affordable counseling and mindfulness instruction. She is passionate about teaching present moment awareness to her community.