Category Archives: Principles of Purpose

Principles of Purpose:  Plan Ahead

Tentatively titled Principles of Purpose: A Guide To Living Wisely, is an ongoing draft of a concept I might one day publish a book on. It’s essentially 30 Principles that I think are essential to living life wisely. Some are principles that I wished I had learned much earlier in life. Many are principles that I only learned in recovery in 2016-2017. Still other principles were ones I had applied off and on during my 56 years.

PrefaceIntroductionTrusting Your GutUse Good Judgement
ListenRegulate EmotionsSet BoundariesBe Mindful
Practice ModerationManage ExpectationsResolve ConflictPlan Ahead

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”

Yogi Berra
What Does It Mean To Plan Ahead?

According to Wikipedia, planning is “the process of thinking about the activities required to achieve a desired goal. It is the first and foremost activity to achieve desired results. It involves the creation and maintenance of a plan, such as psychological aspects that require conceptual skills.

I was never much for planning, except when I was forced to do it in the automotive business I worked in for nearly 25 years. And I was very successful in that business. When my alcoholism didn’t get in the way that is. There were many times in life when I failed on a personal level because of my lack of planning.

When I was a car salesman, at the beginning of each month we had to project how many sales we were going to do that month. And you better not overshoot the mark; the dealership was projecting their numbers based on what each salesperson stated their goal was.

I always projected based upon many factors: what month it was, what I had been trending up until now, the number of referrals I thought I could get, etc. At the beginning of each month many salespeople just meandered the dealership, waiting for an “up” (customer) to walk onto the lot. Not me. I spent the early days of each month planning on how I was going to get to my magic number.

To be successful I set goals for the number of customers I was going to call, asking for referrals. That included me planning on how many cold leads I was going to pursue from our computer lead generator. I planned my daily activities around the day to day “walk-ins” there might be on any given day. I then executed my plan and tried to stay true to it so I could avoid trying to catch up during the last week or so of any given month. That’s how I became successful at my work.

Planning Ahead In Life

Life really does require a lot of planning ahead in order to be successful. You’ve got to plan ahead in the morning so that you won’t be late for work. You have to plan ahead to make sure you pick up the kids from their activities on time. So much of our daily lives centers around planning.

doing things last minute

Doing things last minute is not the best approach to life. If you are always late to work or important functions, you probably won’t last long at your job. In college you’ve got to plan school work appropriately so that your grades don’t end up suffering.

Flying by the seat of your pants during a family vacation will probably make for a confusing time. Any time I am going to go visit someplace, or someone, I always map it out on google. That way, I know where I am going. But it also helps me to manage the timing of these visits.

Before my wife and I even stepped foot in France I had the entire trip planned out. here is a cool feature on Maps that allows you to plan and record your trip on the app. When we arrived in France, I simply went to the Maps app and started our trip. Everything went perfectly. We got to see the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral all in one day! Planning ahead made our trip enjoyable because we weren’t flying by the seat of our pants. We made a plan. We executed that plan.

Not All Planning Requires Goals But All Goals Require Planning

Setting goals always requires planning. Afterall, setting a goal for yourself requires you to map out how you plan to achieve those goals. Planning to be on time for work doesn’t really require goal setting. I’m talking about life goals like saving a certain amount of money for a large expenditure. Setting a goal to get your Masters. Setting a fitness goal.

Smart Goal Setting

It’s one thing to say that you want to lose 25lbs before a special event. Setting the goal is merely the first step. How do you plan on achieving it? Planning to workout 3 times a week is a good start. Limiting the amount of processed food you eat is another good plan. Keeping a daily journal of your progress would be a good part of the plan.

Achieving goals requires an execution of a well thought out plan. Want to get ahead at work? That’s the goal. What’s your plan? Thinking about running the Boston Marathon next year? Better have a plan.

It’s super easy to set a goal: simply state what it is you want to or must achieve. Executing a plan is not the same. To plan ahead is to be creative and also to be realistic. Wanting to run the Boston Marathon next year is a great goal. Only running 2 days a week is not a good plan.

Smart Goal Setting
SpecificMeasurableAttainableRealisticTime-Bound
Be specificIs it measurable?Is it achievableAre you being realistic?Calculate the time required
Lose 25 lbs.YESYESYES3 Months

In the example above the goal is to lose 25 lbs. Is that measurable? Certainly is. Just get on the scale every few days. Is it attainable? It should be if the proper plan is executed. The goal is also realistic if enough time is given to achieve the goal. If you were to say you were going to lose 25 lbs in 30 days it would not be. However, if after researching safe weight loss goals, you determine you can lose 2 lbs per week–and you adjust your timeframe to 3 months–then the goal is realistic.

proper planning

But I digress. This is not a blog about setting goals. It’s about how you can plan ahead. Planning ahead can be as simple as getting up 15 minutes early to ensure you get to work on time. Or, it can be as complex as planning to run the Boston Marathon. Either way, don’t sabotage your efforts by being apathetic, lazy, short-sighted, or unrealistic.

Some plans do go astray. But it shouldn’t be because you failed to execute them properly. External forces can derail your plans. Just don’t let YOU be the reason why your plans fail. Don’t plan to fail ahead.

Principles of Purpose:  Resolve Conflict

Tentatively titled Principles of Purpose: A Guide To Living Wisely, is an ongoing draft of a concept I might one day publish a book on. It’s essentially 30 Principles that I think are essential to living life wisely. Some are principles that I wished I had learned much earlier in life. Many are principles that I only learned in recovery in 2016-2017. Still other principles were ones I had applied off and on during my 56 years.

PrefaceIntroductionTrusting Your GutUse Good Judgement
ListenRegulate EmotionsSet BoundariesBe Mindful
Practice ModerationManage ExpectationsResolve Conflict

“Instead of suppressing conflicts, specific channels could be created to make this conflict explicit, and specific methos could be set up by which the conflict is resolved.”

Albert Low
Conflict Is Inevitable
Resolve Conflict.  By Robert Levasseur

Conflict in life is inevitable. Struggles with co-workers. Strife in a relationship. Bickering amongst siblings and other family members. Unresolved conflict can lead to a myriad of life issues: alcohol/substance abuse, physical conditions, and mental health problems as well.

Conflict can be anything from a simple disagreement or misunderstanding. Or, conflict can result in a major argument on an important subject such as finances. Whatever the conflict, leaving it unresolved can open the doorway to harboring negative feelings, resentments, escalating discord, etc.

Types and Causes of Conflict

In literature-as in life-there are 4 major conflicts:

Man vs. NatureMan vs. ManMan vs. SelfMan vs. Society
facing a conflict with external forces beyond your controlfacing a conflict between another human beingfacing a conflict within yourselffacing a conflict with the norms of society

Although these are postulated in literature, they are true in actual life as well. Working through conflict is a common theme in all great works of literature and, unless properly resolved, the conflict causes great harm to the main character(s) experiencing the conflict.

There are also 5 major areas of conflict we can experience at one time or another:

Relationship ConflictData ConflictInterest ConflictStructural ConflictValue Conflict
+miscommunication
+strong emotions
+stereotyping
+repetitive negative behavior
+lack of information
+misinformation
+differing views on data relevance
+differing interpretations
+perceived or actual conflict over interest
+procedural interests
+psychological interests
+unequal authority
+unequal control of resources
+time constraints
+different ways of life, ideology, world view, etc.
+different criteria for evaluating ideas
(Adapted from Christopher Moore, The Mediation Process, Third Ed. San Francisco (Jossey-Bass,2003)
Resolving Conflict
Click to Enlarge

There are a few steps we can take in order to resolve a conflict. Resolving conflict requires skills such as problem solving, being honest, speaking the truth, listening, forgiveness, understanding, and empathy to name a few.

  • Identify the problem
  • Identify feelings associated with conflict
  • Identify the impact of the problem
  • Decide whether to resolve conflict
  • Work for resolution of conflict

There is also a cool acronym for conflict resolution called R.E.S.O.L.V.E.

R-Reach Out–Come together with the person you are having a conflict with.
E-Engage In Conversation–Remain calm and remember to talk one at a time.
S-Seek to Solve the Problem–Agree to come up with sensible solutions you both can accept.
O-Open Up–Calmly communicate your side of the story to explain how you feel.
L-Listen Intently–listen to the other person so that you understand their point of view.
V-Voice Solutions–Brainstorm solutions to resolve your conflict together.
E-End on a Good Note–Agree to the solutions; give a compliment and shake hands.

Free Conflict Resolution Guide!
Click To Download

Principles of Purpose:  Manage Expectations

Tentatively titled Principles of Purpose: A Guide To Living Wisely, is an ongoing draft of a concept I might one day publish a book on. It’s essentially 30 Principles that I think are essential to living life wisely. Some are principles that I wished I had learned much earlier in life. Many are principles that I only learned in recovery in 2016-2017. Still other principles were ones I had applied off and on during my 56 years.

PrefaceIntroductionTrusting Your GutUse Good Judgement
ListenRegulate EmotionsSet BoundariesBe Mindful
Practice ModerationManage Expectations
Manage Expectations

“If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.”

Michael Jordan
Manage Expectations

When we have unrealistic expectations for ourselves and for others, there are sure to be some issues that arise from having them. There is, of course, a whole lot to be said about managing expectations in life, but I’d like to focus this chapter of Principles of Purpose to managing expectations in relationships.

I’d like to get into how to manage expectations and ways to openly express realistic expectations and how to make those expectations agreements.  The links to all the posts to which these articles apply are in the table below.

Steps In Identifying and Handling Expectations

1.  Identify Faulty Assumptions–For some reason, when we get close to a person, we start to demand that this person act in a certain way.  We reason that “if you loved me, you would…”  This type of reasoning is based on two faulty assumptions

Identify Faulty Assumptions
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  1. That love can be defined in a certain way
  2. That the other person agrees with this definition

Neither assumption is reasonable, and once you accept that your way of thinking is not the only right way, you’ll find it easy to reject the assumption and therefore adjust or even completely drop your expectations.

2.  Seek To Understand–-People show love in different ways, as explained by Gary Chapman in his book “The Five Love Languages”:  words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, gifts, and physical touch.  Someone else may speak a love language that you do not understand because your love language is different.

When someone tries to love you in their own way, it is you who may not understand.  This does not mean that they are not trying.  It is not their actions that you need to change, it is your understanding.

3.  Observe Carefully–When you stop expecting a certain behavior from others, you free yourself to see more clearly.  You will start to observe what they actually do, instead of constantly seeing the gap between what they do and what you want them to do.

Unrealistic relationship expectations by Robert M. Levasseur

4.  Recognize The Consequences–You would probably be upset if somebody loved you only when you behaved a certain way.  Spouses or partners who feel they are not good enough for their partners may seek acceptance somewhere else.

Relationships are not transactions.  If you’re in a relationship because of what you get out of it, it is a transaction.  We all have needs that have to be met, but it is futile to expect the other person to meet these needs.  

It is easy to let go of expectations once we accept responsibility to meet our needs ourselves, and are in a relationship not for what we can get but for who we can be.

5.  Ask For Agreement–If an expectation you have is important because it touches on non-negotiable values or morality, seek to convert that expectation into an agreement.  Agreements are not expectations.  Expectations exist in your own mind, often without the knowledge of the other person.  Agreements are explicit verbal commitments by both parties on a set of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.

Couples by Rob Levasseur

Decide on what is non-negotiable to you.  Highlight these to the other person and explain why it is so important.  I’ve found that calm discussions work much better in this case than yelling matches.  IF you cannot convert a non-negotiable expectation to an agreement, you’ll have to make a tough choice.  You have to decide whether to let go of the expectation or the person.

Let go of your expectations.  With one simple change of thinking, you free two people at one time.  The other person is free from having to behave in a certain way, and you are free to love better.  Letting go is hard, but definitely worth it.

6.  Talk Openly About Your Unrealistic Expectations–Telling your loved one that you realize, for example, that it is unreasonable for her to always be available for texting, and explaining you will no longer have such an expectation, will surely relieve her that the burden of your unrealistic expectation has been lifted from her back.  And yes, that is an example of an unrealistic expectation I have had for my own partner.

Three Keys to Managing Relationship Expectations

1.  Identifying Relationship Expectations–-It may be near impossible to identify every expectation we have of every relationship in our lives.  Still, we can try to identify as many as we can for the most important relationships.  This is especially important for relationships that are already under strain.  This happens when one or both parties are not living up to the other’s expectations, or quarreling about whether these expectations are reasonable.

Identifying expectations by Robert Levasseur

Make a list of all the expectations you have of your partner relationship.  It helps to start each sentence with “I expect…”  This reinforces the fact that expectations don’t exist out there, but only in our minds.  It also helps us take responsibility for our relationship expectations.

Making this list can be quite a wake up call, as we usually don’t realize how many expectations we have of a person.  Seeing our list in writing can also help us to get rid of the unrealistic expectations, so that we can focus on dealing with those that are most important.  

Once you make your list, cross off all the ones YOU YOURSELF do not do 100% of the times.  Then, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and honestly ask yourself if what you are expecting is reasonable or not.  That should pare your list down pretty significantly.

2.  Communicating Relationship Expectations–There are two things to bear in mind when communicating relationship expectations.  Firstly, focus only on the most important so we don’t overwhelm the other person.  Secondly, choose the right time.  Ideally we should communicate only the single most important expectation we have and deal with that.  However, it may be tiresome to have this conversation about relationship expectations several times, so focusing on the most important three at one time is a good compromise.

Whenever possible choose the right time.  Communicate the expectation BEFORE there is a chance to fail to meet it.

3.  Seeking Agreement on Relationship Expectations–An expectation that is not identified nor communicated remains an expectation.  Once an expectation is communicated, however, there is a chance of reaching agreements.  It is crucial that in seeking agreement, we respect the other person’s right not to agree.

Relationship Observations by Robert M. Levasseur

If the other person is aware of your relationship expectations and accepts these are reasonable, there is a high chance of reaching agreement.  Present your expectation in as reasonable a way as possible.

The other person may not agree to our relationship expectations for two reasons:

  1.  They find the expectation unreasonable.
  2. They cannot commit to meeting it.

When there is no agreement, your expectation remains an expectation.  You will then have to decide what to do about it.  It’s very difficult to let go of expectations you have of the future and of your partner.  Still, it’s the one thing that can improve your relationship dramatically.

Allowing our happiness to depend on someone else will make us miserable since we can’t control another’s actions.  It also places a huge burden on the other person to make us happy, a burden that is not fair because no single person can fulfill all our needs.

Final Tips

 1.   Live In The Moment–Not everyone has the blessing of being with a person who loves them.  Whenever you find your mind wandering into the future, bring it back into the moment and enjoy it, whether you’re with her or doing something else in your life. This moment will never come again.  Live it to the fullest.

Unrealistic Expectations by Robert M. Levasseur

2.  Be Grateful–It’s very human to desire certain outcomes.  Only those who learn to be grateful can escape the never-ending spiral of wanting more rather than being happy with what we have.  And we have so much, if only we had eyes to see.  Whenever you find yourself wishing for more in the relationship, shift your focus instead to what you already have, and count your blessings.

Having realistic expectations for others involves realizing that all of us are less than perfect.  Instead of looking to others to meet our needs, we must take responsibility for our own life and make necessary changes that are in our best interest.  

We must leave our self-blame behind and find ways to untwist our thinking and behavior to make our lives more fulfilling and manageable. It is important to value and accept our partners and friends for who they are.  It is in our best interest not to spend our energy trying to change them to fit an image of what we believe we need and what they can provide for us!

Read More About Unrealistic Expectations

Principles of Purpose:  Practice Moderation

Tentatively titled Principles of Purpose: A Guide To Living Wisely, is an ongoing draft of a concept I might one day publish a book on. It’s essentially 30 Principles that I think are essential to living life wisely. Some are principles that I wished I had learned much earlier in life. Many are principles that I only learned in recovery in 2016-2017. Still other principles were ones I had applied off and on during my 56 years.

PrefaceIntroductionTrusting Your GutUse Good Judgement
ListenRegulate EmotionsSet BoundariesBe Mindful
Practice Moderation
Practice Moderation

Everything in moderation, and there’s a perfect balance in this life if we can find it.”

Ryan Robbins
What Does It Mean To Practice Moderation
practice moderation and strive for balance by Robert M. Levasseur

To practice moderation is to aspire to a life of balance. Too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing; particularly if that good thing detracts from other areas of our lives. Afterall, “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.”

According to dictionary.com, moderation means “the quality of being moderate; restraint; avoidance of extremes or excesses; temperance.” In other words, maintaining a sense of homeostasis. Whether that means physically, emotionally, or mentally.

To practice moderation can mean simply not eating the entire container of ice cream. It can also mean not obsessing over someone or something. Putting all your eggs in one basket leads to imbalance; a state of being that is incongruent to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Going to one extreme or another can lead to unhealthy habits or states of being.

Even healthy habits, if taken to the extreme, can be detrimental to attaining a life of harmony and balance. For example let’s say you are an exercise enthusiast. You workout religiously for 6 or 7 days a week. Chances are that this spills over to every facet of your life. Miss the gym?

Now you feel guilty; you skimp on eating just to maintain some semblance of maintaining that healthy habit. Or maybe your day is shot because you failed to go to the gym. You’re irritable and can think of nothing other than getting back into the gym. Other aspects of your life fall short because maintaining that pace inevitably leads to an imbalance.

How Do You Find The Right Balance?
Finding balance presented by Robert M. Levasseur

It starts with self-control. Being sure to control impulses that tend to keep you off of your balance. Making sure that you don’t get hammered at the office christmas party is probably a good idea. This prevents you from acting a fool and putting yourself on the brass radar.

But it’s much more than that. I could come up with boatloads of examples of being out of balance, of not practicing moderation. However, it’s much more important that moderation be practiced on a larger scale.

Moderation requires a sense of when enough is enough. Achieving balance and harmony requires you that you are continually keeping a pulse on your life, so that one day you are not sitting in the room holding the bag so to speak.

Moderation and Finances

A fool and his money are certainly quickly parted. I’ve historically been terrible with managing my finances. As a result, I caused myself a lot of strife throughout my adult years. One of the most important areas where moderation is critical is with finances.

Being a spendthrift will put life into chaos pretty quickly. Having to have the latest gadgetry, buying all the latest fashions, spending all your money without an eye on some semblance of a budget can surely have a negative impact on your quality of life.

Achieve moderation in finances

I have had to exercise moderation when my spending on vintage and antique books was beginning to cut into our household finances. We have been blessed with a healthy income. Being my addictive normal old self, I saw an opportunity to grow my book collection.

But, because I was not watching my checkbook, my spending quickly got out of hand. After talking it over with my wife, we struck a balance where I could still enjoy my book collecting. However, it had to be moderated so that it did not cut into our budget unreasonably.

Do you go on shopping sprees and come back feeling sad and depressed? Retail therapy, as its called, may be a sign of something more problematic happening. You may be a shopaholic

Speaking of addictions, having one usually means that we are out of touch with the other important aspects of our lives. Having an addiction means that other aspects of our lives are truly suffering and we are probably unwell.

Balancing Family and Friends
Balancing friends and family by Robert M. Levasseur
Click To Enlarge

If you spend all your time socializing after work, or partying and hanging out with friends, your family life may suffer. Achieving the proper balance between spending time with family, and hanging out with friends should be relatively easy. Afterall, our family is an important component of our wellness. Perhaps you are not that close to your family. Have you ever considered why that is?

Perhaps if you go out after work every night with colleagues, loved ones may be missing your presence in their lives. Ensuring that you strike a balance between family and friends, ensures that your loved ones are getting all the attention they need from you. It also ensures that you are maintaining healthy relationships outside the family, which is good for you as an individual.

It is very important to teach your children moderation at a very young age. There are numerous studies that show the importance of moderation and a child’s ability to self-regulate when they become young adults.

The Moderation of Work and Play

Do you keep yourself chained to your desk in the interest of your career? Do you habitually work late into the evenings? Perhaps you like to take your work home with you. As a result of all this time working, have you remembered to balance this with life? This means taking time out for family, friends, social activities and play!

Balance work and play presented by Robert M. Levasseur

Again, “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy” as we are reminded from The Shining. We’ve all watched movies in which the theme was working too hard and life being passed by. Immersing yourself in work in support of your goals and dreams IS the American Dream.

However, working too much for too long of a period of time means that other aspects of your life will suffer greatly. In the end, how important will all those hours be if you end up with regrets of losing connection with your friends and family-particularly watching the children grow?

Health and Wellness Require Moderation!

If we do not balance our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs we will suffer. Eating too much junk food, not paying attention to our emotional wellbeing with family and friends, and ignoring spiritual considerations will leave us bereft of balance.

Think about how well you feel when because you consistently practice a certain religion. Or how you feel when you really focus on nutrition and exercise, or when they are at the center of your lifestyle. Seeking balance in the realm of health and wellness is critical to enjoying a vibrant life. There is nothing more rewarding to me than when my wife and I share common goals for each other. We work together to achieving the balance for our marriage, but also for each of us as individuals.

Health and Wellness balance by Robert M. Levasseur

I have my writing in the morning. We had to address my issue with writing for too many hours. It was affecting her wellness and ability to flourish in her own individual pursuits. She now has her art and her photography in the afternoons. I only write from 8:30 to 11:30, more than ample time for me to practice my craft. During the day we have our beautiful daughter to care for and nourish.

The very best days are when we are in sync with ourselves and participate in a variety of activities which can vary from day to day. We have the same nutritional beliefs, so it is easy for us to be in balance physically. We also recently bought ourselves a new treadmill. We both want to look and feel our best as our young daughter aces new challenges each day.

Ultimately It’s About Sacrificing

The bottom line is that moderation is about sacrificing. Sacrificing one thing over another in an attempt to strike a balance. It’s making sure that your relationship is in harmony with your mutual goals, but also your individual dreams and goals. It’s about sacrificing extra hours at work, so you can be home to tuck the kids into bed and read them a story.

Moderation in all things will ensure that no area in our lives is suffering. When we practice moderation we give our whole selves an opportunity to get the very best out of life. We ensure our futures by actively engaging in a balanced approach to life. Now go practice moderation in all things, live long and prosper!

Principles of Purpose:  Be Mindful

Tentatively titled Principles of Purpose: A Guide To Living Wisely, is an ongoing draft of a concept I might one day publish a book on. It’s essentially 30 Principles that I think are essential to living life wisely. Some are principles that I wished I had learned much earlier in life. Many are principles that I only learned in recovery in 2016-2017. Still other principles were ones I had applied off and on during my 56 years.

PrefaceIntroductionTrusting Your GutUse Good Judgement
ListenRegulate EmotionsSet BoundariesBe Mindful

“Mindfulness allows us to watch our thoughts, see how one thought leads to the next, decide if we’re heading down an unhealthy path, and, if so, let go and change directions.”

Sharon Salzberg
What Is It To Be Mindful?
Mindfulness article written by Rob Levasseur.

To Be Mindful simply means actively paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judgement. It is focus on the present circumstances.

Many of you already know that mindfulness is one of the 5 pillars of my recovery. I have found that when I am fully into the mindfulness mindset, I am usually reacting appropriately to my surroundings or any flare-ups I may have emotionally. Mindfulness is directly tied into one’s ability to live presently; to Live In The Now. Essentially, we become impartial observers to what is happening as the moments of life unfold.

By being an impartial observer, we are better able to ascertain whether our thoughts and feelings match the given situation. Without being judgemental, we can more appropriately respond and react to what is happening at any given moment. It also helps to maintain a high level of self-awareness, one that allows us to be much more proactive in our adaptive responses to various situations and the emotions that arise from them.

Mindfulness IsMindfulness Is Not
-> being fully in the present moment
-> completely “awake” and aware
-> increasing awareness of what is
-> controlling your mind vs. your mind controlling you
-> relaxation
-> calmness
-> a way to fall asleep
-> religious/spiritual
-> a means to avoiding emotions
Being Mindful Means Slowing Down
Mindfulness by Rob Levasseur
Click To Enlarge

By focusing our attention without judgement we are, in essence, slowing things down. Being mindful allows us to be the casual observer; not only to feelings, but also to those around us.

By slowing down what we are processing at any given moment, mindfulness keeps us much better equipped to maintain emotional equilibrium. Practicing mindfulness as a way of viewing present moments also keeps us grounded. We become more free to pick and choose how it is we will react to distressing or upsetting situations. Situations our emotions sometimes led the way on!

It also means we won’t end up reacting irrationally or prematurely, should our emotions suddenly get out of whack. Because we are vigilant, we can see what is happening and adapt ourselves accordingly.

Steps For Being Mindful
  • slow the event down
  • focus on what is happening
  • identify how you are feeling
  • concentrate on an object or your breathing
  • pause and mentally “step back”
  • concentrate fully on everyday things (e.g. eating, color of leaves, smells)
  • tune into the moment and the facts at hand
Just A Few Mindfulness Techniques

There are other ways to be mindful. To be mindful is not just about being vigilant with our thoughts and emotions. What if we find ourselves super stressed out and we just can’t seem to get focused or calm? Well, there are other methods of deploying the BE MINDFUL mentality:

Mantra to practice the Be Mindful mindset.

Breathing. Simply paying attention to our breathing allows ourselves to calm not only the noise in our head, but also any unruly responses that may be disrupting the present. Check out more about breathing and techniques.

Mantra. A mantra is a word or sound that is generally repeated to aid in concentration during meditation. However, I often use my mantra during times I feel my stress levels rising, or when I just need to quiet the noise in my head. There are many benefits to using a mantra in everyday life.

My mantra is actually two 3-syllable words that I quietly say. I say one word on my inhale, the other on the exhale. And, since I have been using my mantra since 2016 during quite a few meditation sessions, it instantly has a positive effect on my wellbeing when I put it into use. A mantra is a very private thing, so don’t tell anyone it!

Be Mindful Meditation by Robert Levasseur
Click to Enlarge

Visualization. This is a great mindfulness method. You simply choose something or someone to visualize in your mind and concentrate on that visualization to bring you back to a place of calm. You can do this just about anywhere, though I don’t recommend you necessarily close your eyes if you are in a crosswalk. Many successful people have used visualization to achieve goals and dreams as well.

Meditation. The myriad benefits of meditation are numerous. Meditation can be done any time, and just about anywhere. There are many choices when it comes to meditation. I personally like self-directed meditations, ones that are not guided by a speaker attempting to direct the meditation for you.

If you have difficulty with meditation, perhaps a Guided Meditation could be just the thing to get you started. Either way, I cannot emphasize how incredibly beneficial a daily meditation can be.

Some of the Benefits of Being Mindful
Less StressAbility to deal with illnessFacilitation of recoveryDecreased depression
Improved general healthBetter emotion regulationDecreased anxietyImproved social skills
Reduced work burnoutBetter concentrationBetter job performanceImproved relationships
Better moodStronger coping skillsReduced ruminationIncreased focus
10 Minute Mindfulness Practice

Here are some tips on how you can incorporate a 10-minute mindfulness exercise to your daily routine. You are sure to reap many of the benefits listed above, and will be mindful on the regular in no time!

  • Find the right motivation and intention. If you are experiencing a busy day or just don’t feel like practicing mindfulness, it might help to remind yourself why you practice and what it can do for you.
  • Find the right attitude and attention. Each practice will be different, but try not to think of them as “better” or “worse.” There is no bad way to become more mindful.
  • Find the right time and timing. Just as each practice will be different, the length of time appropriate for your practice can vary as well. Some days you may need only a few minutes, and other times you may want to stick with it for a bit longer to make sure you have a rewarding experience.
  • Find the right spot and posture. It’s important to feel safe and secure, wherever you decide to practice. That may be on a cushion on the floor, in your office chair at work, or even sitting in your car in traffic. You will benefit from finding a comfortable and familiar spot for your regular practice, but there’s no harm in modifying your seat or posture if circumstances require it!
  • Find the right routine and stick to it! Although the length, location, and posture of your practice can and will change depending on your situation, it’s best to make a minimum commitment when it comes to frequency. Whether practicing once a day works best for you, or multiple times a day, find a routine that you will be able to stick to in the long-term. (Lucid Living, 2013).
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