Updated: Aug 14
Many times in life, we find ourselves lacking direction. We just go through the motions of life without really being present. We are always looking at our watches to see what comes next, or looking at our phones for distraction.
In order to find direction, we need to look within and find a deeper sense of ourselves. When we do this, we are able to focus more clearly on what is really important to us in life. We find our priorities and our values. We find our inner compass.
To be able to find this direction, we need to act with intention, instead of merely reacting to circumstances.
In order to break out of the loop of just doing whatever comes next by happenstance, we need to act with intention. In order to do this, we need to think carefully about each thing that we do. We need to create mental space for this thought process to take place. To do this, we need to make our minds like a blank canvas, and clear away stray thoughts.
The ancient practices of mindfulness, meditation and yoga can help us to do this. All of these practices serve to still the mind, and create inner space between our thoughts. Remember, you are not your thoughts, you are the watcher of your thoughts.
In order to practice mindfulness, we must become present in the moment. You can do this by focusing simply on your breath. Look at what is around you. Feel the air. Inhale deeply, and smell what is around you. What can you feel on your skin? What do you hear? Focusing on your five senses helps to mindfully ground you in the moment.
As you begin to be more mindfully present in each moment, it will help you to calm your mind and find peace. It will help you be more calm and less stressed.
According to Mindful,
Mindfulness practice reduces activity in the part of your brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is central to switching on your stress response, so effectively, your background level of stress is reduced.
By practicing mindfulness regularly, you can reduce your stress level so that you will be more focused on the moment. It reduces your mental 'background noise' so that you are able to focus more on each decision closely. This helps you to be more intentional with your choices.
When you practice meditation, it also helps to still your mind. It is a more structured practice than mindfulness, but it also has great benefits. At its core, meditation is a practice of sitting, focusing on the breath, and stilling your mind.
The more stressed out you are, the more meditation can be of help. It helps you find peace and quiet in the din of a busy world. The more you learn to still your mind, the more you will be in tune with your inner self. This allows you to make calm, intentional decisions in your life.
According to Left Brain Buddha, here are some different ways that you can meditate:
Counting the Breaths: count each in-breath and out-breath until you get to 10 (e.g., breathe in “one,” breathe out “two,” etc.). If your mind wanders before you get to 10 (which is 100% likely), just start over at one…. And then start over again….
Use a Mantra with the Breath: you can use words on the inhale and exhale to focus your attention (“breathe in peace, breathe out tension,” “breathe in energy, breathe out and relax,” or whatever words work for you). In general, the in-breath is energizing (bringing new oxygen to the body), and the out-breath is relaxing/soothing (activating the body’s calming response), so you can choose words to reflect what is likely happening in the body as you breathe.
Noticing the Breath in the Body: focus your attention on your chest rising and falling, or the belly expanding and softening with each breath.
Use a Guided Meditation: many people find it helpful to have someone guiding them through the practice. You can find several free guided meditation downloads here.
It may be easiest to start with a guided meditation if you have never meditated before, so that you will be more able to focus. There are many meditation apps that you can use, or you can use a YouTube video. This will give you something to focus on as you meditate.
Here is a sample meditation from one of my favorite channels, Boho Beautiful:
Meditation has also been proven to have many health benefits also. So when you meditate, it isn't just good for your mind, it is good for your body as well.
A yoga practice is like a moving meditation. You connect your mind and your body through your breath as you move through the poses. When you practice yoga, it is great for your physical, mental and spiritual health. It can help you find a sense of oneness and peace.
As you begin to develop a yoga practice, you will begin to feel your body relax and unwind. It takes time, but you will become more flexible and strong. You also train your mind to stillness, as you flow in and out of the yoga poses.
This ancient practice is still popular today around the world, and that is a testament to its usefulness. The benefits of yoga have also been validated through science.
When you practice yoga, the sense of peace that envelops you is similar to what you experience in meditation. It allows you to go deeper inside yourself to a quiet space. Cultivating this inner quiet allows you to be more intentional as you go through your day.
This simple, beginners yoga practice can help you get started. There are also many yoga apps, and additional YouTube tutorials that you can follow as you are getting started with your yoga practice.
Value of being intentional
There is a great value to living your life in an intentional way. It means that you are focused on what is most important to you, without getting distracted by other things. By living in a calm and focused manner, you can make sure your actions align to your values, and that you are making wise choices.
According to Weber State University,
Being intentional means making deliberate choices to reflect what is most important to us. Becoming intentional can help us maintain a positive mindset, reach goals, experience more clarity, and be more present. It can also increase our focus and commitment and bring more purpose and meaning to our lives. Instead of fearing failure, individuals who are intentional learn from their mistakes and continue to make the best of their circumstances.
Being intentional in our lives allows us to be focused on our goals, and on things that bring our lives meaning. It means living in alignment in your mind, body and spirit. This type of alignment assures you that you are living up to your highest potential in all that you do. You are grounded on a deeply spiritual level, and this will be reflected in your life.
Through practicing mindfulness, meditation and yoga, we can learn to still our minds and live with intention. This allows us to live our best lives, and to be the best that we can be.
To learn more about mindfulness, meditation and yoga, and how they can help you in your daily life, check out my ebook:
Be well, my lovelies, until next time.