So you’re twenty-something – most likely somewhere in between college life and surrendering to complete “adult life”. You tend to struggle with some old college tendencies of partying through the night while your body fights with you to just stay in every night, take a bubble bath, and go to bed. Being in this limbo can bring confusion, resistance, and a muddy view of what you want to come next.
“I want something more, I want something different, I don’t feel completely satisfied, I want to find something bigger that will lift me up” are just a few of the statements I have heard countless times from my fellow twenty-something friends.
However, let me preface this article by saying that the strategies I am about to share with you can really apply to anyone of any age that is seeking to be more spiritual in their lives. These techniques are meant to be used for anyone who feels as though they want to start scraping the surface of spirituality, mindfulness, peace, or whatever you want to call it that feels good for you.
If you’ve never done any type of spiritual practice by choice then starting with simple techniques to give you a feel for the incredible benefits is a great way to embark on your journey.
Let’s face it – we live in a fast-paced society with social media, music, television, radio, and advertisements bombarding us with hundreds of different thoughts at one time – no wonder it’s hard for some of us to find our inner peace. If we have never been given tools to lift ourselves above all of that, we can get brought down and stuck in the tornado of thoughts thrown at us each day. That is where these amazing techniques come in – to lift ourselves up, listen to our authentic thoughts, and be a part of this fast-paced world without being bogged down by it!
The purpose of sharing these techniques is so that we can all find ways to take those few minutes a day to connect with ourselves and listen to what we truly need to hear.
Because – what are we doing if we’re not contributing positivity to this amazing planet we’ve been given? We are the current generation that can start making a huge difference on this planet with more compassion, mindfulness, and peace.
These are just some of the spiritual practices I have incorporated into my life and feel like they tarnished off years of dust from my soul. Honestly.
Okay, here they are – please use one or all of these on a daily basis to start or improve your mindful practices:
1. Negative News
You know the seldom times you flip on the news and you start to notice that almost every story is negative? Or you’re going to check your e-mail and all of the highlights on the host site’s main page are those same negative stories you see on the news with horrific acts and events that just make you feel immediately drained?
Mindful technique: Take a minute (if that’s too long take a few seconds) and visualize the best possible outcome for all who are involved in the news story. Depending on what you believe in, you can also envision a gorgeous white bright light around the situation and affirm that the best outcome will manifest for that situation. Either of those techniques can send positive vibes or energy to what is currently being looked at by hundreds of people as a negative situation which in turn sends out negative vibes if not careful. More peaceful thoughts=more peaceful planet!
2. Mindful Meals
As a foodie, I can say that this one did not come easy for me but it has made a huge difference in my life. I grew up saying “grace” as a family before a meal and as I got away from all of the religious rituals, I also dropped that part for some time. When I get my food I want to just dive right on in, I mean, who doesn’t? As my spiritual journey progressed I began to take a minute to stop and think about how grateful I am for the mere fact that I have food. It puts a lot into perspective.
Mindful technique: When your food is placed in front of you, take at least a few seconds to stop and think about how fortunate we are to have food so readily available to us in our country. Depending how far you want to delve into this technique, you can acknowledge your gratitude toward all of the people who made it – for example, the farmers who planted the crops that went into making your meal, the person who delivered it or cooked it, etc. This takes your human tendency to shovel that food right on in down a notch or two and you’re able to enjoy your meal more thoroughly while incorporating more gratitude into your life. We can never have too much gratitude.
3. Notice Something In Nature
Utilizing what has been naturally given to us helps to improve mindfulness tremendously. Nature has this unique power to calm and nurture us when we give it the chance to.
Mindful technique: Notice nature – really notice nature. Take the time to stop and observe a tree, a flower, the sky, or whatever happens to draw you in. This can be done when you’re sitting at the office, riding the train, walking to work, or just have a minute to spare – stop and focus your thoughts on the beauty of it, the mystery in it, or just how grateful you feel to have these things naturally in our world. It will take your thoughts from spinning to settled.
4. Become Aware Of Your Thoughts
replace the negative ones with positive ones. Negative energy and negative thinking is more contagious than positive thinking so it’s not surprising that when we get in negative modes of thinking we continue to think of more and more things that “annoy” us. Ever notice that when you’re in that negative mode you seem to attract more negativity? YOU DO! So, to start to avoid these negative thinking patterns simply begin to notice the thoughts you’re having.
Mindful technique Begin your day by becoming consciously aware of the thoughts that run through your mind. Are they negative or positive? The way we start our day is so important and if we start the day off with the wrong mindset, chances are the day will reflect that mindset. If you notice that your thoughts are on the negative side then begin to replace them with positive ones. For example, if you wake up and your first few thoughts are “I hate Mondays.” “Today is gonna suck at work.” “I don’t want to deal with work traffic.” You can just stop, notice the negative pattern and begin to replace them with positive thoughts- “Mondays are a start to a brand new week that is filled with opportunity.” “My thoughts influence my reality so I’m going to declare today will be awesome.” “If I get stuck in work traffic I’ll make the best of it and rock out to my favorite music.”
5. Meditation Doesn’t Have To Be What You Might Assume
Meditation is something that is so useful, especially in the time that we live in, to drown out the hundreds and thousands of thoughts we have a day and just sit and be with ourselves. But guess what? Meditation doesn’t have to be in a specific place, within a specific amount of time, with specific people, in specific clothes, or even in a specific posture. Don’t get me wrong, those details can contribute to a deeper and earth-shattering type of meditation but you can still reap amazing benefits from simple meditation whenever you find a minute to spare.
Mindful technique: The main objective of meditating is just to focus your thoughts on the process of breathing. To start out (you can do this wherever you’re sitting) take 3 deep breaths in and out while taking your mind and visualizing your breath going into and out of your body. Our minds need a focal point and using the process of breathing as that is amazing to flush out the other thoughts. After the 3 deep breaths just begin to breath normally but continuing that focus on your breathing. Imagine the breath going in and out. You can even place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach and focus on the rising and falling of those areas during breathing. Other thoughts are going to come in your mind but just gently notice them and go back to focusing on your breath.
Most of all, be kind to yourself, be kind to others, and be kind to our planet. Go breath peace and love into this world Millennials; we got this ;).