By David Joel Miller.
Increase your productivity and happiness starting now.
People who practice four mindfulness skills become more successful in less time than you might think. Mindfulness is applied by highly successful people a lot more often than we suspect.
Mindfulness is a very practical skill. While it is often linked to meditation and eastern practices it has applications that will improve a student’s grades, make a businessman more productive and reduce emotional conflicts at home or on the job.
Mindfulness means making more efficient use of your brain by practicing 4 thinking skills.
Have you seen someone walking along occupied by their electronic device that walked into an oncoming car? What about that person who is talking on a cell phone who drives straight through a crosswalk full of people?
Lack of mindfulness, that failure to be where you are and to think about what you are doing is epidemic in our society. We all suffer when people do things in a mindless manner.
Here are four ways to apply mindfulness to your daily life and become happier and more productive.
1. Observe More.
Humans are cognitive misers. We spend the least amount of time observing things and the most amount of time preoccupied with things that are in other times and places.
Happy thoughts and good ideas take some time to soak in. Every day we walk from our homes to our cars but on each of those days, things around us are changing. For some of us, that flower blooms and fades unnoticed. To hold that image of the floral bloom requires as little as 30 seconds of time to pause and really genuinely notice that plants celebration of the day.
Observation is not limited to things but should include feelings and processes.
How many government agencies are still having clients fill out lengthy forms with places for several addresses and phone numbers while missing that the clients waiting in line are texting and emailing?
Successful businesses notice the changes in their customer’s patterns and respond to those changes rather than trying to maintain the status quo.
2. Describe more things.
The more words you are able to use the more thoughts you can activate. Most of us have difficulty managing our emotions because we are short on vocabulary to manipulate those feelings. To be able to work with something you first need to see it exists and then you need a word to categorize it.
Men in therapy often struggle with this issue. Men feel good, bad or ticked off. When we feel “bad” we try to change that feeling. But bad might also include sad, regretful or nostalgic.
Sometimes we need to sit with that feeling and see how it might influence our actions and responses to the life we are living.
Feelings are not interference’s with our lives, they are useful guides to action.
3. Act with awareness.
Impulsive acts get us in trouble. That few seconds pause to consider if this is an act that will benefit us, in the long run, can make one’s life more effective.
Being on autopilot is not the only way to live. Paying more attention to the things you do throughout your day can increase your efficiency and effectiveness.
As you move through your day pay special attention to the things you are doing and how you are doing them. Are there more productive ways to do them?
Outside consultants get paid big money to come in and point out patterns of inefficient activity, specifically because those who are doing these actions every day have become unaware of what they are doing and why.
4. Accept things without judging them.
Being more mindful will mean noticing things we do that are not as perfect as we would like them. Accept that not everything you do will be perfect. Acceptance does not mean you allow things to happen to yourself or others. You can accept that the thing happened and still mindfully move to change it.
Natural disasters happen more often than we would like. People can become fearful and immobilized or they can choose to spring into action and do what needs doing.
If you fail to accept that something bad has happened, you will stay stuck in the “it shouldn’t, we can’t” stage for a long time.
Denying the realities of life is one defense mechanism that needs to be discarded as soon as possible.
Accepting that things happen whether you like them or not and that you do what you do for better or worse allows you to move forward rather than stay stuck in the negative emotions of regret or self-blame.
There you have four mindfulness skills that can be practiced every day whether you practice any medication or not. Using these four skills can make you happier and more productive.
Do you practice any mindfulness skills? How has mindfulness helped you?
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books