The Muscle of Mindfulness

The Muscle of Mindfulness

Have you ever gone into work and thought, “Man, I’m tired?”

Fast forward two hours, and you’re slumped over your desk, head in your hands, dreary-eyed, and drowsy? Why? Because you told yourself you’re tired. In the military, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines are taught one concept: mind over matter.

The phrase was first coined by the poet Virgil in the Aenid in 19 B.C. in the saying, “the mind drives the mass.”

What it equates to in this sense is, if you think it, you can achieve it. And also, if you “don’t mind,” it “don’t matter.” This is how law and medical students push themselves through rigorous studies and exams, and how Olympic athletes go one step further than everyone else to push their bodies and achieve their dreams.

Thoughts become things. Thoughts are powerful, and what you say to yourself and think about your situation can impact both what happens around you and your overall actions. To know what you’re thinking, ask yourself how you’re feeling. Our emotions never lie, and how you feel will tell you how you’re thinking. If you roll out of your bed and say dejectedly, “great, here we go again,” guess how your day’s going to go? If you roll out your bed on the opposite side and say, “I’m going to have an awesome day today no matter what,” guess what will happen?

You have got to be self-aware and mentally present. When you bring awareness to your present situation and taking inventory of your mind and emotions, you’re being mindful. In so doing, you have the ability to restructure what you’re telling your brain. It physically changes when you change your attitude.

French philosopher Rene Descartes wrote, “I think, therefore I am.” If you’re feeling negative or off-kilter, take a moment to breathe. If you don’t have time to meditate or visualize, even closing your eyes for one to two minutes and focus on your breathing will restructure your way of thinking, and lower your stress level.

When you set aside even a minute to do this, and then return to the present, you will see things more clearly and level-headed. Be kind in what you say to yourself, and focus on taking care of your mental well-being. By tapping into your emotions and the thoughts which drive them, you can have a calmer, clearer picture of your goals and ambitions, and deal more aptly with the stress of the day-to-day.

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