Most people wish to be happy, but how do you obtain happiness in your everyday life? Being mindful is a great part of the process, so keep reading if you want to get closer to your goals.
Being on the go is a natural state for me: I thrive when I travel, explore, move. But living a life like that also demands calm moments with time for reflection. I know now that I couldn’t live without neither the vibrant nor the mindful parts of my life – they simply complete one another and make me feel grounded and content. However, it wasn’t always so. For years, I was unaware of the concept of mindfulness, and like many other people, I quickly moved on from one feeling, problem or condition to another – without going in to depth on how I really felt and why. So I slowly began my journey into meditation and mindfulness. I am no expert on the subject (I’m still learning!), but I’d like to share my thoughts on it. Happiness is something we all strive for and mindfulness is something we can all practice, so let’s get started!
To break it down, I’ve compiled a list of 5 steps that are highly efficient and easy to practice on an everyday scale. And the best part? You can use the tools to become a more mindful traveler – and from anywhere in the world!
1. Be grateful
This is probably the easiest step to obtain inner peace and fulfillment. Being grateful is the ultimate love declaration to life and truly feeling grateful will change your life. Sit down, relax and count your blessings – I’m sure there’s a lot of them! You can say it out loud or write down your thoughts on a piece of paper: as long as you cultivate the feeling of gratitude every single day.
Being born into this world and raised by a loving family should make you feel grateful – it’s the ultimate love declaration there could ever be. Be present in this moment and value that you have everything you need in your life and more.
2. Accept things as they are
There’s great power in acceptance. Once you stop fighting the conditions of your life and start embracing – and accepting – them, you’ll simply feel happier. Yes, it’s difficult learning to accept if someone close to you leaves you or passes away, but that’s the way the universe intended it. Sometimes we simply can’t change the our reality, so our only option is to face it and deal with it. Life is a roller coaster of happenings and emotions and every time one door closes, another one opens.
3. Practice meditation
It’s a proven fact that meditation increases awareness and has a positive effect on body and mind. Regular practice can actually change, or affect, the structure of our brains so that we become happier individuals. Also, meditation increases focus, memory, performance and creativity. Meditation is an obvious way to implement mindfulness in your everyday life, cause it’s basically the same thing: a technique that will teach you how to be fully present and aware in the current moment without thinking of past or future. Roughly, there are 3 different basic types of meditation:
- Mindfulness meditation: accepting your thoughts, sounds or sights
- Concentrative meditation: focusing on one single thing, e.g. your breath
- Contemplative meditation: opens your mind to reflect and consider the big questions of life
There are many approaches, or ways to meditate. Personally, I’m very fond of the free app ‘Insight Timer’, which contains thousands of guided meditations for all occasions, however, I also practice in groups. Beginners might opt for the last option as meditating alone for the first time, can be quite a task to overcome.
4. Recognize the little things
You’re not supposed to jump around in joy all day, but happiness comes easier if you open your eyes and recognize all the little details that brings glimpses of joy into your life. For me, these little things could be:
- Beginning the day with a nice breakfast (no phones or laptops allowed!)
- Focusing on the art of listening instead of talking
- Enjoy a clean, tidy working space just waiting for me to be creative
- Slowing down my evenings with a ritual (reading a book, making my favorite tea, doing meditation etc.)
- Sit and observe while taking the bus or train rather than checking my phone (it’s amazing how many things you’ll notice – and some of it might even inspire you)
- Writing down all my to-do’s in a notebook instead of doing them at once (aka multi-tasking!)