Becoming mindful of ourselves allows us to go through life with intent and purpose, opposed to mindless thinking which entails a programmed, single-minded thought, rigid against surprise. Mindfulness training requires a deep connection with our bodies, minds, and surroundings.
The benefits of mindfulness stretch far and wide from relationships, work life, family and our inner-self. It calls for an orientation into the present moment, treating new information in the context in which it is delivered, and inviting openness for surprise.
The cultivation of kindness in ourselves and those around us is a good first step on the way to mindful thinking. Practicing everyday kindness begins with believing in yourself.
Thank Your Inner Champion
The competitive world in which we live sometimes breeds what seems to be a necessary need to be hard on ourselves in order to achieve success. In these moments, it’s important to remember that fundamentally we are actually on our own side.
We can often be our biggest critics, but recognizing how our actions are in our best interest and for our own good is important, even though it may not always work out the way you expected. Developing a gratitude for everything you do for yourself is an important step in realizing you are doing the best you can.
Taking a few minutes to close your eyes and thanking your inner champion when times get tough and you’re needing that extra push, is a great way to treat yourself with kindness.
Name the Demons
We all sometimes get into a slump and our negative thought patterns arise, anxiety, self-criticism, doubt and fear of missing out are some of our inner “demons” because they essentially make our lives hell. Another metaphor for these patterns of thought is seeing them as roadblocks because they stand in the way of our thoughts intended for personal growth and progress.
A powerful first step to freeing yourself from these demons is to name them. By ‘naming them’ I mean, when they arise, recognize them and call out loud to them: “hello worry!”, “hello doubt”, “hello jealously!”
Recognizing the guest appearance of the arrival of the demons begins to create distance between yourself and them and puts a temporary halt to the negative thought process and unproductive spiral of thought, allowing you to get back on track. Next time one of your demons becomes a roadblock, try calling them out.
Dialogue, Not Monologue
Another form of showing kindness is by giving your wholehearted attention to someone and truly listening. Few things in life are truly as generous as lending an ear to a friend and listening with our whole mind and body – owning a complete presence while receiving their words. So often our conversations are portrayed as two monologues, each converser waiting for the other to finish so they may begin.
A meaningful conversation, filled with intent, requires active present listening from both sides, receiving each other’s words and thought with complete presence. Providing support in this way will circle back to you and your next conversation with a friend may be defined by the richness of true dialogue, instead of two monologues. Think of your active listening and presence the next time you and a friend share thoughts with one another.
Mirror of Joy
Tuning into the happiness of others can sometimes cultivate happiness and joy in ourselves. Engaging yourself in someone else’s happiness and positive attitude has the wonderful benefit of inspiring a sense of happiness and positive thoughts within ourselves. This reflection of happiness results from recognizing the light in someone else’s life and allowing that light to creep into yours; telling someone how lovely is it to see them happy will inspire a true warmth on your heart. It really is magical!
Sometimes our demons arise when we are witness to others’ success, making us feel jealousy or resentment. If they do come up, recognize them and think “that’s interesting” while trying to tune into the happiness all the same. Next time you notice beauty, lightness, or joy in someone else, see if you can feel the reflection of their happiness affect your own experience.
These tips are just the beginning when diving into the world of kind thought and action. Once the seed of kindness is planted in yourself, its infectious ways will allow you to see it grow and be reflected in many aspects of your life. When approaching mindfulness, and specifically kindness, with a creative open mind, the reciprocal benefits can be transformative.
On Saturday, June 4, 2018, The Mane Intent is hosting a Women’s Wellness Day themed Cultivating Calm. The day will focus on self-care and overall wellness. You’re invited to engage in on-the-ground horse-based activities for a renewed heart, body, mind and soul. (No previous horse experience is required). See details here:
About the Author: Juliana Newport is a summer intern supporting the experiences and programs offered at The Mane Intent Inc. Along with her love for horses, she has just finished her third year as a Psychology Student at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. With prior insight into how horses yearn to create relationship and provide loving, non-judgmental support for people, Juliana hopes to deepen her knowledge of the connection between horses and greater wellness while working at the farm this summer.