Mindful people aren’t magical beings. They are merely aware of their thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. Being present in every moment helps mindful people navigate life with the skill of a sea captain. If they find themselves trapped in a storm, they steer the ship in a different direction until they find a calmer place. If you want to be more mindful, never do these three things (#1 is an enormous risk!).
1. THEY DON’T SPEAK BEFORE THINKING.
Every thought shouldn’t be spoken. Take a moment to compose yourself before you say a word. How often do you send a text or email that you end up regretting? Everyone does it sometimes. This is why it’s important to pause and reflect.
Developing superb communication skills influences every aspect of life in a positive way. Your relationships will grow stronger. Your workflow will become more efficient. Your stress levels will take a nose-dive. Allow me to explain that last one.
It’s upsetting to be misunderstood. Before you send a message, read it from the perspective of the other person. Be as unbiased as possible when you answer this question: “Did I express my thoughts and feelings in a way they will comprehend?” If not, try again. Imagine how many fights and arguments this simple action could prevent. Try this tip today. You won’t regret it.
2. THEY DON’T PUT WORK ABOVE ALL ELSE.
Work might pay the bills, but it will never bring you joy. Only love can do that. Never become so absorbed in hustling that you sacrifice family and friendships in the process. Every human has a need for connection. Addictive, self-destructive habits grow when that need remains unfulfilled.
Indeed, studies reveal social isolation is a common cause of drug addiction. Addicts don’t lack self-control or willpower. Anyone can grow these traits with practice and patience. Instead, many addicts lack a genuine connection with other humans. In the absence of that, drugs (and other substances) seem alluring. The void must be filled at any cost, consequences be damned.
Please remember this point the next time you gossip about a smoker, alcoholic, or drug addict. They don’t need judgment. They need support. You could be the person who encourages them to put down the pipe, syringe, bottle, or whatever they abuse. Was that a tangent? Apologies. Now go kiss your partner, hug your child, pet your dog, or call a friend you haven’t seen in years. Anytime you feel down and need help, don’t be afraid to ask. That’s what friends are for.
3. THEY DON’T BELIEVE EVERY THOUGHT THAT OCCURS TO THEM.
Your mind is a convincing liar. How many times have you believed a thought about how worthless you are? Approximately a thousand for me. I call this nasty, negative voice the inner critic. It’s especially common (and noisy) in the minds of folks who had a perfectionist parent.
Imagine a mom or dad who never thinks you’re good enough. In case my parents ever read this, disclosure: this was not the case for me. I’m speaking generally, not specifically. You get a B in school and your dad says, “Why didn’t you get an A, moron?” You win second place in a beauty pageant and your mom says, “If you weren’t so fat, maybe you would have got first prize.”
If you have kind and compassionate parents, those statements will sound like something from a trashy reality TV show. If you had controlling and demanding parents, those same statements might sound strikingly familiar. Either way, this is how I want you to perceive the inner critic living inside your skull. You will never be able to meet its impossible standards. Let go.
Don’t try to force negative thoughts out of your consciousness. You cannot bury or repress them. They will come back to life faster than a horror movie monster. Here’s what you can do. Be aware you are not these thoughts. They have no power over you until you get attached to them. Observe negative thoughts as if your are an innocent bystander (not an afflicted victim). See the difference? It’s huge. Only identify with positive thoughts that inspire you to take action.