Watching our thoughts can be incredibly difficult, however, if we can make the effort to stop and ponder, we can change our lives tremendously. This in turn brings more creativity into our lives and it results in living a less stressful life. We should aim to increase the overall level of joy in the Now/Present. Complaining brings more chaos into our lives, thus we must try our best to avoid it. If we can't avoid it, then we must use the complaint to fix what we are dissatisfied about. Practice these 5 tips for 30 days and you'll enjoy the results it brings to your life.
1. Be mindful of what you are saying in a non-judgmental way.
Try to catch yourself when you're feeling like saying something that could potentially hurt someone if they heard it. Example: I went shopping on Saturday and the line at checkout was not clear. So I just formed my own line. There was a girl who seemed really upset that I was in another line but I just noticed her when it was too late. The cashier called the next person and I asked the girl on the other line if that was her turn to which she grumpily replied "yes." She was angry, I could tell, but I did not let that change my mood. It was an innocent mistake. I could've yelled at her or even asked her why she was upset but I decided that it was better for me to stay quiet and show grace. That day, other similar incidents happened and I remained calm, therefore, that day was amazing! This is all because I was mindful of what I wanted to say and how I wanted to react.
2. Interrupt negative thinking before it interrupts your life.
Negative thinking creeps up on you when you least expect it. It happens most often when you're feeling vulnerable and weak. Make sure that you are:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating well
- Moving somehow; like walking, dancing or just regular exercising
- Being grateful everyday
- Helping others
- And having meaning in your life
3. Don't take yourself (your thoughts) and/or others (their thoughts) so seriously.
I was at a Thanksgiving dinner party at a friends' home and someone made a comment to me about my accent. In the past I would've excused myself and rush to the bathroom to cry. However, I decided to stay seated and smile. The lady asked me where my accent was from and when I arrived at the USA. I replied and she mentioned that her daughter does not have an accent and came to the US at the same age. She went on to ask me why I still have an accent as if that was a sin. My first thought was that I must be dumber than her daughter because she was able to adapt better than me. The next thought saved me because I decided to not take her inquiry seriously. I decided to take it as a sign of curiosity from her part. That was a huge shift in mindset that completely changed how I react when asked about my accent, which was something that would always hurt me.
4. Positive thinking is usually forced and doesn't typically work for most people.
We must not think that one approach will work for all of us. That is dangerous thinking. Positive psychology applies at certain moments of the person's life. Life is a cycle so if you only apply positive thoughts to your life, you won't be really experiencing the cycle of life. There is suffering in this world and one must acknowledge that in order to live a rich life. Sometimes our suffering brings us meaning. When my mom died, I thought I was being punished for not being the perfect daughter, even though I was only 10. It took me 20 years to realize that her death had nothing to do with me. Also, I realized that I'd much rather suffer myself than see her suffer if I died first. I would suffer more if I saw her cry for me. Therefore, I accept my suffering and I am using it to give my life more meaning. This in turn will lead me to help others in similar situations.
5. Focusing on self-improvement too much puts you out of simply enjoying your life for what it is and what it is not right now.
I've read countless books on self-help and felt so broken for a long time. I've decided to read those books and only take the golden nuggets in them. I choose to be a whole person who just needs to accept herself fully and learn to cope with life's curveballs. Also, reduce the toxicity of complaining from your life. And, as a result, you can experience; better health, happier relationships, greater career success, and significant increases in happiness.
How do you stay mindful throughout the day?
With Love, Dania