Letting Go of the Past Challenge – Day 2: Minding Your Mindfulness

People are confused by the term mindfulness. They think it’s the stuff of ancient, learned gurus on a high mountain ledge or some unexplainable mystical force only available to those with innate powers given to them by the ancestors.

Mindfulness, however, is neither of these. It’s possible, though, with some effort and application that both of these groups – and you and I – can put mindfulness to good use in our daily lives.

When you are mindful, you are concentrating on – and putting effort into – what is important in your current situation, whatever that situation happens to be at the time. For instance, when you’re at work, you should concentrate on your job and do the best job you can do. Try not to be daydreaming about your dream trip to Europe, or Hawaii, or wherever you’d like to travel to next.

Focus on the tasks assigned to you and make an effort to complete them to the best of your ability, in a way that reflects well on you and your career.

It’s okay to interact with other employees and talk about your personal life while at work. In fact, that is necessary to build good team dynamics. However, this should not be where you concentrate the majority of your time and effort. You will see people speak to their coworkers and work friends for long periods of time, getting distracted  and falling behind on their work. They are not mindful.

When you arrive at home at the end of your work day, leave work and it’s challenges behind at the office. Be mindful of your family and their needs – what has happened in their day? What successes are they celebrating and what challenges might they need your help or input on?

You also need to focus on your needs when at home – if you had a challenging day, what do you do at home to relax and de-stress? What about sharing those practices with your family? It could bring you closer and develop a deeper aspect of your relationship.

Once again, it’s okay to think about tasks at the office once in a while – sometimes considering them at home, in a different, more relaxed environment, will help inspiration come to you, but don’t obsess over them to the exclusion of everything (and everyone) else when you’re home.

Mindfulness also has to do with focusing on the present. You know that you cannot change the past, and the future hasn’t happened yet. The one true period in which you can make a difference is right now, the current period. Therefore, it’s best to focus as much of your energy as you can on that period. If you do that, you won’t have time to worry about the future or dwell on the past. You will keep busy and productive doing something that makes sense, i.e., being mindful of the here and now.

Though the present is important, and you should focus on it, you also need to make plans for the future. Going through life spontaneously jumping from one situation to another won’t get you very far.

You may get lucky – on occasion. But on the whole, you’ll get much more done, and done well, by creating a plan. Even here, it pays to be mindful of creating the right plan and sticking to it, unless there is a valid reason to alter it.

Mindfulness works and can help you to leave behind the past as well as deal well with the future. It allows you to create the proper balance in your life.