This article originally appeared in April 2016.
When thinking about living mindfully, the thought of a drastic change in our lifestyle may sometimes be daunting. However, the best way we can have lasting change in our lifestyle is by keeping things simple and celebrating our small wins everyday.
Jen Horn, the incredibly inspirational founder of the Phillipine's community for mindful living, MUNI, recently spent a few months in Berlin as a student at the DO School and was kind enough to share her insights on mindfulness with us.
- What is Mindfulness
To be mindful is to be present and conscious. It is constantly thinking and questioning our decisions about how we shop, eat, travel, work and play, and measuring these against our values. It is having the awareness about how our thoughts, words, and actions impact our selves, people around us, and the world on a grander scale.
The examined life is a pain in the ass, and this sounds very much like an existential bummer waiting to happen, and can lead us to feel fear of being seen as a fraud or hypocrite if you fall short of a complete lifestyle overhaul.
We’re human, and we have share of weaknesses, setbacks, bad habits and perspectives. But I’ve designed 3 simple things into my life in the past few years that you can do to infuse mindfulness into your life too.
3 Ways to Be Mindful:
- Create purposeful pockets of time to be present.
- Consume less but better.
- Find people to learn and grow with, and to be accountable to.
Create purposeful pockets of time to be present.
Whether this be 5 minutes everyday, an hour every week, a whole day each month, or an entire weekend, and whether these be devoted to some guided meditation, or being present as you do otherwise mundane things like chores, commuting, or exercise, it is important to allow your mind some time to just be, to check in with yourself where you aren’t busy dwelling on past mishaps or stressing about future uncertainties.
For this, I also recommend:
- Sticky notes around the house
- A NO ENTRY sign on your phone’s lock screen (just to remind you to not pick it up so much)
- And perhaps downloading Headspace to start a personal meditation practice
2. Consume less but better.
In his book Essentialism, author Greg McKeown makes a case for thinking, doing and consuming purposefully less but aspiring for a better quality life experience.
This helps me consider that we can choose to consume more organic produce frequently vs. junky options that lack nutrition because we know that how we choose to eat today will make us feel better, function more productively and reduce the cost of health care later on.
It also makes me consider that we can choose to buy that locally made bag with a significant story vs. half a dozen soulless Made in China knock-offs in various colors because we prefer significance and longevity over variety and novelty.
Next time you make a purchase, think again about how these products are made, who made them, what ingredients / materials were used to make them. It’s not about quantity, but quality, both for yourself, for the people that made them, and for the environment from which it came and to which it will eventually return.
3. Find people to learn and grow with, and to be accountable to.
In all that I do, I can never stress the power of community enough. When we harness the collective knowledge and experience of a group, find people who share the same values, people you can share your own hopes and dreams with, and people you can support or collaborate with, I am certain that impactful and sustainable change is possible.
This is what drives us to create the community events we put together at MUNI. We hope that at whichever touchpoint we reach people, whether at our MUNI Meetups, MUNI Markets and other collaborative events, they feel the bright-eyed idealism and see the action-driven energy in the room.
Living mindfully is a constant work in progress in that you are constantly looking for ways to live more and more with purpose and compassion.
We will have our off days when we just don’t have the patience to be patient with others, or maybe just want to eat something you know is bad but brings a sense of happiness or nostalgia that you need, or are too tired to pedal and choose instead take a car — and that’s OKAY. Do that and then make up for it in other ways, and continue learning and growing more and more into mindfulness whenever you can.
About the Author
Jen Horn is a wanderer, writer, designer and brainwasher for good. She is the Chief Collaborator and CEO of MUNI, a community for mindful living. She empowers people to think critically, to ask questions about how they shop, eat and travel, and make manageable mindful changes in their lifestyle. She is interested in creativity, psychology, wellness and the environment, and loves diving and bike-commuting. Follow her at @nomadmanager or visit her blog at http://www.nomadmanager.com.