Mindfulness or Mindlessness: One Choice Makes All The Difference

Three Tips for Goal Setting Success Reading Mindfulness or Mindlessness: One Choice Makes All The Difference 5 minutes Next My Summer 2014 Goals


Life is a miracle to behold

From the glistening sheen of dew on the morning grass, to the sonorous chirping of birds outside my window as I write this, to the sheer fact that I am alive -- life and the world we live in is a miraculous endeavor.

But, it is not so much the physical nature of what is around us, rather, it is how we approach the world that ultimately shapes and creates our experience.


Only two ways to live

To give some perspective, I've been contemplating and jiving on mindfulness as of late. I have come to understand that there are only two ways of being in this world: Whatever it is we do, we either act mindfully or mindlessly.

To act mindfully means to be fully aware of the present experience through having open, nonjudgmental attention to our thoughts, feelings, and the world around us.

In other words, mindfulness is to actively live in the now. 


Where did the day go?

To be mindless is to float through life in a haze.

For example, have you ever had the experience of wrapping up a long day at work only to realize you can't remember what it was you actually did that day? You know you were busy, but can't seem to recall all that you did. Where did the day go?

Mindlessness is being unaware of your present actions, thoughts, and feelings.



What is on your mind?

Let's take an active moment: What are your thinking about right now? It's possible you're contemplating what you need to do today, or the funny story your friend told you yesterday, or what you want to eat for breakfast tomorrow; none of which has to do with the here and now.

This fluttery string of thoughts may not seem troublesome, after all, it is predominantly our standard operating procedure. But, consider the ramifications: To always be thinking of things outside of the present moment means we are never truly living.

To be mindful means that you are no longer beholden to the dramatic mood swings of your thoughts (ie., think a happy thought and you feel happy, think a sad thought and you feel sad, etc.), or are fearful or angry with the past, or stressed out by narratives about an unpredictable future. You are no longer disturbed by worry, you simply enjoy the present and the ebb and flow of the experience.



I needed to change, for me

Throughout my life, I find that I fall into ruts of negative thoughts, for various reasons and circumstances. I was sick of the constant worry, whether reflecting on the past or stressing about the future, so I decided to begin cultivating mindfulness through meditation and maintaining a "gratefulness journal." 

I've found that I am much more comfortable and at ease, I'm appreciative of my life and circumstances, and I truly look forward to each day and all that this world has to offer.

If you're interested in cultivating mindfulness, here are some practices that I employ:


Tips on how to increase mindfulness

1) Meditation: Practicing for 5, 10, 30 minutes a day has helped calm the mind and given me a skill to apply anytime I'm feeling anxious or stressed throughout the day. Here is my blog post on how to meditate.


2) Gratefulness journal: At the end of each day, I reflect on what I did and also what I am grateful for. I write about things I am grateful for from that day or about my life in general. Recognizing and considering various aspects of my life makes me appreciate the entirety of the experience.
3) 5 New Things: One skill that Dr. Ellen Langer, professor of Psychology at Harvard University, suggests is to make a conscious effort to notice 5 new things about a loved one, a friend, your job at work, or whatever it is you want to change your perception around. The simple act of actively looking for new things about someone or something means you are seeing the experience in a new light, and thus it changes the experience and the relationship itself.


Share your story!

Do you practice meditation or mindfulness? How has it affected your own life? What have been major lessons learned from your experience?


At CogniTea, we are dedicated to supporting our Community with whatever they set out to do. Share with us your mindfulness experience in the comments below or on Facebook!




Aaron is leading the charge with Marketing and Sales here at CogniTea. He is deeply passionate about helping people become their best versions of themselves, and loves being in the great outdoors. You can find him running around Boston/Cambridge/Somerville, organizing meetups, hiking, meditating, writing, and generally exploring the world! 

You can follow him on Twitter: @aarongerry


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