Are you present in your own life (and work place) to the extent that you are satisfied with?
If the answer is YES, my warmest congratulations and keep up the good work! If NO is the answer that shows up straight away, keep on reading so you can identify what stops you most from being present and from living your life consciously and mindfully as it is unfolding.
The truth is that mindfulness supports your awareness of what you need to feel happy and fulfilled. And a happy and fulfilled you can be a great inspiration for others in your direct environment. That would include a happy family, happy co-workers and team or a happy circle of friends. That is why taking a moment to stop and self-reflect is not only a considerable investment in your well-being HERE and NOW, but also in the well-being of the people around you.
Here's a quick check-list of 4 most common mistakes that can seriously impact your ability of living a mindful life:
Mistake 1: LIVING IN THE PAST
Frequently (or constantly) returning to how things were before, how it was better, how you were more happy in your previous jobs, with previous girlfriends, boyfriends or partners etc. It includes dwelling on your past 'mistakes' (just life lessons in reality). Mistake 1 comprises sense of guilt, disappointment, regrets, grievances, sadness, bitterness and inability to forgive yourself and others. By no means all the above are a space to unpack and live LONG TERM. Being a human, you can have a temporary melt-down, but as soon as you catch yourself going into one of the emotions above, acknowledge what you are feeling, let the thought pass and replace it with the next positive thought you can think of. Learn how to make peace with your past and with your role in it. Then consciously shift your attention to the part of your life that is happening NOW.
Mistake 2: LIVING IN THE FUTURE
Going into emotions like unease, anxiety, tension, feeling awkward (this one can be socially and culturally imposed in England, so be doubly careful), stress, worry, fears in all possible forms. Most of what you project NEGATIVELY never happens anyway, unless you insist. Your mind is a very powerful tool, but it needs a clever operator. Invest in personal growth, get training or coaching, read books and articles, watch videos that will support you in better understanding of how your mind works and how to get more control over your thoughts. Always remember that YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS, and surely not the most negative ones!
TREATING OLD BELIEFS AND ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT YOURSELF AS LIFE-LONG TRUTHS
This is a particularly tricky one, because it can keep you stuck for ages. All things like 'I'm fat', 'People laugh at me when I run', 'My brother is much more organised than I', 'I'm skinny', 'I'm hopeless in maths', 'My sister is more intelligent than I', 'Guys just don't think I'm sexy', 'All women want a rich guy and I always struggle with money' etc.
This is also the one where you say 'Oh, I've tried that before and it did not help me' which stops you from making another attempt from a different mindset. This is the one that protects you from getting really engaged in your process of change. And you change even so. Your body changes, your thoughts change, your preferences, likes and dislikes change with the time. So can you give yourself a permission to change your old beliefs and assumptions that NO LONGER work for you? Because you are work in progress and life is an amazing adventure with lots to learn, enjoy, experience and share, isn't it?
Mistake 4: REFUSING TO ASK FOR HELP
You know that we, humans, are social beings. Don't feel you are an expert on your life and your life problems. You won't be until you yourself are able to feel and identify your major issues that stop you from living a fulfilling life. If you constantly keep your problems to yourself , if you choose to go into your ALOOF mode with others, if you don't use opportunities to learn and process new stuff in personal growth training (where you suddenly discover that at least half of the group is struggling with the same issue) this means that you're guilty of mistake number 4. Careful: this one can also be socially and culturally imposed in England and in a number of other countries.
Go to support groups, form your own ones, keep a diary, share with friends, hire a coach, talk to people - openly and respectfully - about how you feel. Practise being open and honest with yourself on the daily basis. Remember to breathe consciously, take time to relax and avoid going into the people-pleasing mode!
Good luck with your practice of mindfulness and let me know if you have found any of the above supportive.