When the practice of mindfulness is brought up - especially within the home with family - many people get the wrong idea. It's believed that in order to do so, one needs to give salutations to the sun each morning, line the walls of their home with quotes about peace and harmony, and wear a smile at all times.
This is not true.
It's not practical either. Having a "mindful home" doesn't require doing yoga, posting Pinterest quotes, or mandatory meditation. You can live a mindful life without doing any of those things. But two elements you will need are commitment and consistency.
No new habit, good or bad, forms overnight -- including mindfulness. It's often said that it takes 21 days for a new habit to take hold. If you want to stop biting your nails or to get in the habit of running every morning, it's believed you need to do so consistently for three weeks in order for it to truly become part of your daily routine. The same concept applies to having a "mindful home." Start with small goals each day for 21 days and work your way up to integrating them into your everyday life.
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Use these examples to get started:
• Complimenting your spouse
• Giving your kids an encouraging sticky note in their backpack or lunchbox
• Doing something nice for a neighbor, without being asked
• Reflecting on what was positive about your day
• Giving back to your community in a small way
• Thinking about why you love your kids and spouse so much
Write it down
You are probably thinking, "Between my job, my kids, my daily responsibilities - how am I supposed to remember to practice mindfulness each day?" That's a good question! Mindfulness may not come easily to some, especially those with a hectic schedule. The answer is to write it down. Writing it down on a sticky note, white board, or piece of paper will help you commit to conquering that small goal on that particular day.
Take it a step further and put it in a public place such as your cubicle wall, the refrigerator in your kitchen, or even on Facebook (approach this option cautiously) to hold you accountable! Start with positive thinking The only way a mindful life will work is if you change your thinking. How could you possibly parent your children in a mindful way if your thinking is primarily negative?
READ MORE: The #1 way to quiet your mind
Thinking with a positive mindset is a win-win in multiple ways:
• You'll begin to see the beauty in the world around you.
• When you start thinking and acting positively, your kids will, too.
• With positive-thinking parents, children tend to be happier, calmer, and more enjoyable.
Mindfulness is a Win-Win Situation
Did you know that living a mindful life has a ripple effect? When you show your children the benefits of showing gratitude, thinking positively, and reflecting on the great things in life, they will, too! You will begin to notice them compliment you and your partner more. They will start pointing out the positive aspects of their day, week, month, and year.
They will think positively as well, thank others, and start to be more mindful in their daily lives. And a mindful life helps your relationship with your partner, too! They also will begin to mirror your positive behaviors. You will strengthen your relationship, parenting skills, and family life. Mindfulness is full of fantastic benefits for those involved!
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But it all starts by using these practical steps:
• Set 21 days aside to start forming the habit of gratitude, mindfulness, and positivity.
• Start with small goals each day that will soon build up to great feats of mindfulness.
• Each day, write your goals down to make yourself accountable.
• Change your thinking from negative to positive and watch your view of the world around you change.
• If you can accomplish these practical steps, you'll be well on your way to parenting and living with mindfulness.
Kathy Walsh's career and position as a mindfulness expert is no coincidence. Kathy grew up in a house filled to the brim with love, peacefulness, positive thinking, happiness, and laughter with her six siblings. Inspired by her whimsical and influential childhood experiences, Kathy set out to live a positive life of mindfulness and peace. Filled with yoga, education, the arts, and happiness, Kathy's entire career path was guided by her goal of helping others live a life of mindfulness.