Here are six awesome, easy-to-implement steps to inject more mindfulness into your life through "Ritual Triggers," that is, powerful rituals that are triggered by a certain stimulus. By setting these up, you are conditioning your body to recognize unproductive states. . . and to snap right back into shape.
Haven't you had the experience where you felt lost and in a haze, but you didn't even KNOW you were in a haze until something SHOCKED you back into yourself? The reason this happens is because we just tend to get "caught up" in everyday things that don't matter in the long run. Do this for long enough and you'll drift far out-of-reach from your dreams, loved ones, and goals.
Any time this happens you can use these six steps to snap you back into productive shape.
Pick A Dull Moment
Think of a time when you aren't particularly engaged in what's around you. There are millions of examples you could come up with here, such as: doing the dishes, waiting at a traffic light, sitting at your computer waiting for a website to load, or standing in line at a checkout counter.
Ask Yourself What You Focus On
Put yourself in your shoes in that dull moment and get familiar with that dull, unengaged mindset. It is key that you do this step well, by really feeling what you feel when you are in that lazy yet unrestful state.
You have probably noticed how you could spend all day going from one of these unproductive states to another, all the while feeling totally drained, even though you haven't really done any hard work whatsoever. Have you noticed how hard it is to get to sleep after a day like this, even though you feel dried up and worn out?
That's because you haven't been engaging your deeper awareness and tapping into parts of your physiology which can sustain you.
Shake Yourself Out of It
The true blessing is that your awareness never leaves you. Even if you aren't enjoying the relationship you have with your intrinsic awareness and using it to grow yourself and serve others, it is there. The more often you "check in" with it, the more accessible it will become to you even when you're lost in unproductive states.
Think of the face of an old guy waiting for the bus. This old guy is staring off into space, not talking to anyone, not doing anything, and even in this lack of effort he doesn't seem happy. In fact, he seems cranky. He looks like he thinks the world is lousy. But the world isn't lousy, and even that old guy has so much to be grateful for.
Change your rhythm in an intentional way -- it can be your rhythm of anything: how rapidly you are breathing; how you are moving (if you are fidgeting, stop); if your eyes are moving a certain way (or just staring into space), change that; or if you are chatting, change the pace of your speech. This will automatically trigger something inside you and make you ready for the next step:
Change Directions to Find Your Center
You had been in an awareness free fall: the state of boredom, disengagement, or dullness. You may have been doing something, being productive as a machine might be productive, but your heart wasn't in it.
By making your body's rhythm intentional, you are ready to change direction and find your center. This means checking in with your heart. Feel your body and its impermanence -- how it grows and changes. Feel its health. Breathe naturally and stop judging. Put on a small smile and begin to think of everything you love, all your positive beliefs, and the reality of your presence.
Grow Relaxed, Grow Stable
Now you can begin to enjoy yourself. You can relax at a higher level by paying attention to your body without judging, without expectation whatsoever. Let thoughts occur to you. Do what is before you and find the benefit in it. Neither accept nor reject thoughts and feelings as they arise in you. Do not fool yourself. Feel at home in this present moment. Breathe.
Take Part in Things at a Higher Level
This is the one that really makes all the difference. In the prior step, you achieved some manner of stability and relaxation. Now you need to enrich that stability by building associations from the present moment, your thoughts and beliefs, and their repercussions.
By achieving stability in the present moment and managing the intentional rhythm of your thoughts, you are able to cut through the static of dullness. Now you must take your focus from yourself and form healthy associations with the outside world. Find things to feel grateful for all along your way: sensations, people, ideas, events. . . . and connect the positive feelings of gratitude with an action plan. Ask yourself good questions. What is it that you can give your focus to? How can you benefit others? How can you develop yourself so that your environment benefits? Why should you enjoy the process?
As you progress along your path, you will find yourself no longer bothered by dullness or boredom or anxiety to any significant degree, because your focus is better developed.
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