Throughout our lives we’re taught so much at school, from our parents and other family members, through our friends, but one thing that must be self-taught is mindfulness. No one teaches us how to be mindful, although some schools are making an effort to bring mindfulness and yoga to the classroom, it’s really something we must personally dedicate ourselves to in order to really benefit from.
Gigi Falk, a student at Duke University, dove deeper into the most important lessons she’s learned from practicing mindfulness—lessons that could improve anyone’s life on a daily basis.
Lesson 1: “Thoughts should be valued above all else because our thoughts define and create our reality.”
We’ve grown up in a society that awards good behavior: grades, awards, trophies, etc. Over the course of time we’ve become accustom to receiving praise after excellent performance, so if our actions do not result in this sort of award, we see it as not good enough.
If we learn to listen to our own thoughts instead of those that have been pushed on us for years, we are better able to understand our own true feelings, goals, and fears.
Lesson 2: “The importance of self-reflection… Examining our lives gives us the gift of lucidity, helping us see with clear eyes rather than through a lens of past experiences and exposures.”
Related to Lesson 1, we must allow ourselves to mindfully reflect on our thoughts. You may find that many things you were taught don’t align with your own vision; like what success looks like or what you value the most in life.
Many of the things we think we believe are simply learned values from our parents or culture, but that doesn’t mean that you have to believe them. Allow mindfulness and self-reflection help you to find your own beliefs and values.
Lesson 3: “A truly successful day is one infused with the joys that make us human and that make life worth living, not one with the most checks off of a to-do list.”
Sure, it’s nice to accomplish a task off of our to-do list (as long as that task isn’t “practice mindfulness”), but is that really going to make us happy in the long run? Take time to enjoy the little things in life, whether that means sitting outdoors listening to the birds chirp, or visiting with an old friend—whatever makes you happy.
As Falk stated, “I have begun to refine and redefine my values in a way that deeply aligns wit my personal vision of success.” This is something we could all benefit from after a deeper mindful reflection into our true values.