• Mari Hoaglund

"Always remember, your focus determines your reality..."

Trust me when I say George Lucas KNOWS what he is talking about. How many movies and millions later?!?!

This is a topic I talk a lot about with my clients. So many of us have been conditioned to think that mindfulness equals meditation. When in reality, mindfulness is a state of being, which we strive to be in, while also participating/completing in other tasks.

Here are 4 ways to start practicing mindfulness in your every day life.

1. Observing your breath: Focus your attention on your breath, inhaling and exhaling. Observing your breath is a way to center yourself. You can do this while you’re driving, while you’re walking, etc. Another fun way to observe your breath as well listening to different pieces of music to see if there is a difference when listening to indie versus listening to rap.

2. Half smile: this is a way to except reality with your body. You are making a conscious effort to half smile. No matter what emotion you’re experiencing. Make sure that you are relaxed and turning the corners of your mouth upwards, this is not meant to be a smirk, more so meant to be a relaxed grin. Suggestions of when to half smile would be when you first awake in the morning, during free moments, when listening to music, and for an additional challenge – when you are irritated. This is practicing a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy skill called Opposite Action. We will learn more about that later.

3. Awareness exercises: awareness exercises can be practiced in any time and place. You are to focus your attention on your breath and noticed the purpose of what you were doing. So for example you might be going on a walk and saw the purpose of that walk might be for exercise, it might be to walk your dog, or it might be to enjoy a beautiful day. The purpose doesn’t matter however calling attention to it is being mindful. You are focusing on yourself and your emotion in that moment.

4. Calling out gratitudes when they happen: This is my favorite mindfulness exercise! When I have something particularly great happen to me, I call it out. If I make all the green lights on the way to work, I thank the universe (whatever you believe in) for giving me a couple extra minutes to myself. If I am able to get a workout in, pack everyone’s lunches and get ready for work with time left over, I call out my gratitude for being able to be so productive before my day really begins. So not only does this keep us mindful but it also helps start to switch the lens in which we view the world from, possibly, a negative view to a more positive view.

Practice these four steps, on a daily basis, for the next 21 days and see if it doesn’t help you become more aware of yourself and mood!!

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