Creating a mindful environment
Yesterday I tuned in to a Sounds True webinar by Elisha Goldstein, who was talking about the importance of creating a rich environment to help us live a mindful life. I was very inspired by what he was saying and wish to share some of his ideas here.
There are two key points:
- The importance of our physical environment to our mood/inspiration/wellbeing
- The need to surround ourselves with positive role models who will encourage us to achieve our goal of living mindfully
The importance of our physical environment
We get used to our own homes, so much so that we don’t really take much notice of what is around us. Goldstein suggests looking around you to see what brings you joy and what doesn’t. Is there anything that you could get rid of? Is there anything that you could bring into your home to create more positive environmental cues? Perhaps a mug with an inspirational saying, or a calming picture, or a plant. Or books on the coffee table. We can then take this a step further by pairing objects with a mindful action, for example, every time we walk through a doorway we could use this opportunity to relax our shoulders. Or if your phone buzzes, take a breath before answering it. We could make sure that when we make a cup of tea we could step outside for a few moments and get some sunshine. With daily repetition, these actions will become habits and we will reap the benefits daily.
The need to surround ourselves with positive role models who will encourage us to achieve our goal of living mindfully
We are strongly influenced by the people that surround us. Remember the last time you sat in a room full of people moaning. Did you feel drained at the end? Likewise, when we come into contact with someone who inspires us, this lifts our mood and makes us believe that we too can achieve things. A useful exercise is to think of the people that you spend most of your time with on a daily basis and rate them on a scale of 1 -10, in terms of how inspired they make you feel. Is there any way that you can reduce the time you spend with people who make you feel negative and increase the time you spend with those who inspire you? Or is there anyone that you admire that you would like to bring into your life? In terms of mindfulness, you could attend retreats or workshops and surround yourself with like-minded people. Goldstein stresses the importance of human connection to naturally inspire us. If we are supported by positive people we are so much more likely to succeed.
Results won’t happen instantly though. Most Mindfulness courses are 8 weeks, this helps to initiate the habit but has to be sustained in order to be effective. Goldstein suggests that we need 6 months to develop our muscle memory. This seems like a long time, but this time will pass anyway, so why not go for it rather than looking back with regret six months later?
So, make a start by enriching your physical environment and then find your tribe!