Sometimes, we move about our days as though we are asleep or at the mercy of someone else’s duties and dreams. In her book Head to Heart: Mindfulness Moments for Every Day , author and coach Jenifer Madson invites readers to awaken to our lives.
Specifically, she shares 365 meditations on purpose, presence and compassion. Here are 10 ways to cultivate mindful moments from her book.
1. Start your day with reflection.
Instead of staggering and stumbling through your days, begin each morning in quiet reflection. Find a serene spot where you can go inward without the distractions of television, smartphones or other people.
Connect with your body by asking what it needs. For instance, it might need to stretch or take a brisk walk.
Connect with your mind by asking what it needs. For instance, it might need inspiration or to examine what you’d like to do today.
And most importantly, Madson writes, ask yourself: “What is the spiritual connection you need to lift your soul?”
When we reach adulthood many of us forget to play and even how to play. Madson suggests readers engage in whatever ignites our imagination. This might include singing, dancing, writing, painting or taking pictures.
“Play, not for any other reason except that you can.”
(Here’s more on the power of play in adulthood and how to do it.)
3. Slow down.
The next time you notice yourself speeding up, slow down, and take a deep breath. According to Madson, this can mean: walking with purpose, not panic; softening the tone of your voice; and slowing your speech.
4. Be present to sorrow.
Being present in your life doesn’t mean only paying attention to the joys; it also means recognizing your sorrow.
Madson suggests asking ourselves these questions to help us face sorrow: “How can I work with pain to … strengthen my soul, not weaken it? Find clarity, not dullness? Find peace, not unrest?”
Remind yourself, she writes, that over time you will be able to grow from your trials.
5. Be curious about negative thoughts.
We can’t eliminate our negative thoughts. And often trying to stop them only furthers the cycle. However, what’s more helpful is to observe negative thoughts with curiosity.
Then decide what you’d like to do despite your thoughts, and find other ways to view your negative cognitions.
As Madson adds, “You’re not responsible for what pops into your mind; you’re only responsible for what you do with it.”
6. Be curious about people.
Be curious about what makes people tick, what they love, what they don’t love and why, Madson writes. Curiosity gives you perspective, which helps you see people’s shared humanity.
“And when you’re willing to see more sides of others, and to learn what they value, you will see aspects of them that remind you of yourself — the good, the great, and the not-so-much — which will remind you of our common humanity.”
7. Create a sacred space.
Create a space in your home with items that represent awareness, calm, creativity or anything else that helps you feel a sense of retreat when you’re there. Often this sacred space — and how you feel when you’re there — can spill over into other areas of your life.
8. Reset your day.
You can restart your day — and reset yourself emotionally and physically — any time you need it. “Simply stop what you’re doing, stand up, take a big, deep breath, stretch your arms wide open, and gaze up at the sky as you lift your heart and give thanks.”
9. Learn from the ordinary.
The most ordinary, unexceptional things can lead to extraordinary insights. Madson suggests reflecting on one of these ordinary events in your own life. Reflect on “where it led — whom you met as a result, what you learned, and how it changed you for the better.” Practice gratitude for the everyday situations that create growth.
10. Celebrate throughout the day.
“Don’t let the moment pass without a little bit of a party,” Madson writes. This might mean talking to a friend, high-fiving yourself, writing a mini poem or doing a little dance. Include bits of celebration in your days.