The mom who remains calm in the face of anything. The one who seems to have this inner peace about them, that nothing shakes. The one who patiently talks in a loving tone of voice to her kid melting down in the middle of the grocery store.
Then you’re in luck.
I’ve been on a life long journey in search of mindfulness, inner peace and equanimity. In case you’re not familiar with the word equanimity, let me explain. I am in love with words… and when I stumbled on the word equanimity, I totally fell in love with it. It means “mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.” It’s kind of inner peace and mindfulness all wrapped into one fun to say word! Don’t you think?
On this journey I’ve tried many things to practice mindfulness, some have helped and some have been left by the wayside. I know I can be mindful sitting on a cushion, during meditation, it was the rest of the day that kept throwing me off track. 🙂 I wanted to be the epitome of equanimity. I wanted to be that mom… but somehow an hour after I left my cushion I’d be losing my temper. I have managed to pick up a few tricks… though I’m far from 100% Zen at this point… some days I can get pretty close. 😉 Hopefully these little tricks will help you on your journey to mindfulness and inner peace.
3 Simple Tools to Create Daily Mindfulness
1. Wake up and choose peace and equanimity every morning.
As well as loving words, I love sleep. As a Mother I didn’t get any for the first couple years of my daughter’s life. Now she has a habit of running in and putting her face really close to mine to wake me up at generally ungodly hours of the morning. It used to immediately put me in a horrible mood. I’d get mad. How many times have I asked her to not wake me up so early? To not put her face so close to mine?! Too many to count!!
One day she slept in. It never happens. I mean it was 8am and she was still asleep. I freaked out. I peeked in her room to make sure she was still breathing. She was… but in that moment it made me realize how lucky I am every morning to wake up to this crazy kid nose to nose with me. I decided to choose a different reaction. I chose to smile and say good morning and give her a hug. That’s really all she ends up wanting anyway lol. Once she races back out the door I take 3 deep breaths and say to myself. I choose peace and equanimity. Today I choose peace and equanimity.
It may seem like something super small and inconsequential, but when you start your day off with this intention I’ve found it brings out the best in me, and I’m better able to handle frustrating situations that crop up. (And there are many situations for me to practice on, believe me lol)
2. Get yourself a mindfulness bell.
This is one of the very best things I ever did. Days are busy and crazy. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what’s going on around us. It’s easy to allow our moods to be swept away by outside influences. One of the biggest keys to mindfulness is remembering in the moment that you can choose peace.
I started with a mindfulness bell app on my phone. There are quite a few out there. It stopped working after a while and I couldn’t figure it out, so what I did instead was turn my email “notification” noise to a bell. 🙂 I get a lot of email so my mindfulness bell goes off pretty regularly now. Maybe a little too much, but it’s always the perfect reminder to stop, take a few deep breaths, and take a second to be in the moment.
No matter what I’m doing, when the bell sounds, I take three deep breaths, and sometimes throw in a little thank you. Thank you for whatever is, in the present moment.
3. Find shortcuts to help maintain your mindfulness throughout the day.
I have my mindfulness bell, and sometimes I still found I was losing my equanimity through the day. It just wasn’t quite enough. I was looking online for some additional “rituals” I could add to my day to bring in mindfulness throughout the day. One of the wonderful threads I read recommended the book Shortcuts to Inner Peace: 70 Simple Paths to Everyday Serenity. It was exactly what I needed! The book gives you different “triggers”. Triggers being things you do during the day, thoughts you think, emotions you have, and then provides you a simple exercise to do to create mindfulness and inner peace in that moment.
Trigger: Walking to the car
Shortcut: Look toward the sky, take in the vastness of the sky itself. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, the vastness of the sky is mirrored within me.
It only takes a second, but if your car trips are anything like mine, a little proactive peace is always a good thing before you get in the car. 🙂
There are 70 of these little trigger/shortcuts in the book. You certainly don’t have to do them all, but at least a few of them will resonate with you, and you’ll be able to string together these shortcuts to inner peace throughout your day. I’ve found it helps me stay calm and centered and feeling peaceful to have these little shortcuts in place. They provide an easy way to get back on the path when I get pulled off. Instead of having something pull me off the path, which leads to something else pulling me farther and farther and the whole snowball thing happening, having certain triggers through the day allows me to get back on track. I absolutely get off track… and so will you, but it’s not about never getting off track… it’s about getting back on. That’s why they call it a practice, not a perfect. It is said, about meditation, that when you’re mind wanders, simply bring it back to the breath. Your wandering mind is not the problem, it’s the practice. 🙂 I just love that… it’s the same with mindfulness. Just keep bringing yourself back to the moment… that’s the practice.
Keep practicing, and share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments! I can’t wait to hear. 🙂