“The past is history, the future’s a mystery, the present is a gift” (origin unknown)
Mindfulness is a meditative practice which originates in Buddhism, but has gained worldwide popularity as a distinctive method to handle emotions. (definition from Wikipedia)
There are many thoughts on this subject and ideas of how to be mindful. They range from a complete mindfulness experience training for two weeks, workshops, and counseling sessions, graduate courses, and books. I encourage you to try any of those offerings, but If you feel like this is not for you or your kids, I will let you in on how I understand and try being mindful. To be mindful is to be in the moment. It is simply paying attention and staying focused on the present moment. This also usually helps me to feel grateful for each experience I have, ordinary or extraordinary. Your time to make a difference is NOW. Try not to think about things that happened in the past when you are enjoying your day. Try not to worry about things that are coming up in your future when you are enjoying your now. I know this is easier said then done. It takes practice.
Some things that have worked for me to be more in the moment:
Visualization has worked for me to keep my past in its place.
Creative visualization (sports visualization) refers to the practice of seeking to affect the outer world by changing one’s thoughts and expectations. Creative visualization is the basic technique underlying positive thinking and is frequently used by athletes to enhance their performance. (definition from Wikipedia)
Visualizing can be used to help start your day, do well on a test, or to help yourself manage your thoughts. Managing your thoughts can help you stay in the moment. An example of this is when I was experiencing some memories that were interfering with my daily life. I took a moment to visualize the memories being placed into a box. I then visualized storing the box in a way that was meaningful to me. If you try this “box” you can store it like you do your belongings….in an attic or closet. Some people may choose to use what they believe in spiritually to help them store their box. Visualizing is like dreaming which you do purposefully. After doing this, the memories stopped coming up in my daily life and I felt more at peace to be myself in the moment.
Affirmations is another way I have been able to be mindful.
Affirmations in New Thought and New Age terminology refers primarily to the practice of positive thinking and self-empowerment—fostering a belief that “a positive mental attitude supported by affirmations will achieve success in anything.” More specifically, an affirmation is a carefully formatted statement that should be repeated to one’s self and written down frequently. For an affirmation to be effective, it needs to be present tense, positive, personal and specific. (definition by Wikipedia)
I have tried using very simple affirmations that help me to focus on what I want. The first one that was successful for me and my family is simply “Happy, Healthy, Strong”. I began this one with myself and would try to say it everyday. I then taught it to my children and we say it at specific moments daily. It has become part of our family cheer! My children now say it on their own and it has become a “Happy Habit”. Writing it down and having it displayed somewhere you and your family will see it also reinforces its purpose.
Another affirmation I use helps me to push unwanted thoughts out. When I have a thought that is negative and I know it is probably not true, I say a statement to myself to keep that thought at bay and focus on my positive thoughts instead. This kind of statement is really unique to you depending much on your beliefs. I use a simple “I intend to be ______________________.” You can fill in the blank for yourself. Some examples are good, calm, or more focused. I would be interested to receive feedback on a statement that has worked well for you or your children when and if you try using affirmations.