Full disclosure, I’m writing this at a time where I feel like I’m losing my mind. Today I signed a lease for the space where I will open my clinic. I am very excited, but with the excitement comes plenty of fear and anxiety. That is because today marks the day that my wife and I went “all in” on my dream of operating a health care clinic. I began this journey a little over 5 years ago when I quit my job to become a full time student again. I remember thinking, “what have I done?” during the very first lecture back in a classroom setting. Today I had that very same feeling after signing the lease and writing a rather large check. We’ve now passed the point of no return. It’s go time.
With that being said, I’d like to introduce the topic of mindfulness. Something I’m honestly struggling with at the moment. This is a concept I’ve worked very hard to master, yet I still have a lifetime of work to do in this field. Simply put, mindfulness means having an in the moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and environment. The founder of my chiropractic school, Dr. James Parker, coined the term “present time consciousness” to describe this state of being. There are hundreds of studies showing the numerous benefits of mindfulness and I encourage you to google “mindfulness studies” when you get a chance. Personally, I practice mindfulness to learn more about myself, foster compassion, improve my focus, balance my mood, enhance my relationships, complain less, appreciate more, and be less reactive and more intentional in my life. What’s that? How do you become more mindful, you asked? Below is a list of ideas. Feel free to practice none or all of them. And as always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or concerns.
-The 21 day no complaint experiment. Look up author Will Bowen to learn more. His premise is that word choice determines thought choice. You say bad things, you think bad things, you feel bad things, and the cycle continues. With the liturgical season of Lent (think the time between Fat Tuesday and Easter) approaching, I thought this would be a good idea to post first. I’m going to do a 40 day no complaint challenge and I welcome you to join. As far as complaints go, I consider a complaint to be any negative speech that fails to offer some sort of positive recommendation or criticism, which includes foul language.
-Meditate. That’s right, mediate. This could be its very own post and probably will be one day. I try to meditate first thing in the morning. This is the time I “sharpen my axe.” My mind is the most important tool I use all day. It’s important for me to take a few minutes every morning to make sure it’s working properly. Meditation isn’t easy. It takes time to master. Just keep in mind that some meditation is better than none.
After meditation it is a good idea to journal. Look up the “5 Minute Journal” if you want a guide. I do what was recommended by Tim Ferris. Every morning you write down what you are grateful for. Ferris breaks it down into 4 separate categories.
-a relationship, either past or present
-an opportunity you have that day
-something great that happened the day before
-and something you can see. An example would be a cup of coffee, a book or a cloud. This helps you appreciate the small things in life.
Follow this up by writing some affirmations. Then at night write down 3 great things that happened to you that day.
-Speaking of Tim Ferris, he recommends practicing poverty once a year. I’ll admit I haven’t done this yet, but he spends a week or more wearing simple clothes and living on nothing but rice, beans and water, all the while asking, “Is this the condition I so feared?” This practice provides perspective and helps you realize what’s actually important in life.
-Create a “Jar of Awesome” or whatever you want to call it. Basically, keep a large jar somewhere visible and write down things that are great in your life and put them in the jar. This serves as a visible reminder that you have plenty of things to be grateful for.
-Randomly tell people that you are grateful for them or that you love them.
-Take breathing breaks. I practice “4 Square Breathing.” Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds then repeat. This should be your go to tool for when you are stressed or anxious.
-Minimize media, news, Facebook, Instagram, advertisements…ect. All of these outlets create feelings of lack, fear, judgment, envy, comparison, shame, and loneliness. Please minimize your exposure to these stresses. You’ll be glad you did.
-Judge not. Try to look for the truth in the situation. Instead of saying, “that jerk cut me off!” Try saying, “That person must have a real emergency. I hope they get where they are going safely.” I know this sounds cheesy, but your life will be better when you think the best of people, even if they give you reason to think otherwise.
-Remember that true happiness comes from within. Seeking happiness outside yourself, either in things, people, or experiences leaves you wanting and empty. This even includes your soulmate. My wife doesn’t make me happy. That would be unfair to her. I’m happy and I enjoy being with my wife. I do not place that burden on her.
This list could go on forever, but I hope this is enough to get you started. I will likely revisit some of these concepts down the road. As always, thanks for reading and have a blessed day.