April 10, 2017

How to Cultivate Mindfulness + Gratitude

I'm not naturally a positive person. Truthfully, I don't believe that anyone is naturally positive, just like no one is naturally negative. Pessimism and optimism are mindsets that you cultivate by learning from those around you; you choose to be one or the other by looking on the bright side of things or by always expecting the worse. You're not born as someone who sees the glass half full or the glass half empty.

Maybe you disagree. That's fine. Because that's not the point. For the past two weeks, I have been in a great mood (which you might know if you're a subscriber or you follow me on Instagram— shameless plug). In spite of an insane schedule and tons of projects and exams, I have been overcome with gratitude, and I have been especially mindful. I don't feel completely comfortable sharing certain details, but I am so incredibly blessed, financially, academically, personally, and otherwise. What is most significant about my change of mindset? It wasn't intentional.

I know I kind of just said the opposite when I wrote that things like this are intentional, but it's true. This post is not a "how to" post in the list sense because there is one overarching takeaway here: look around. Stopping to look around is how I unintentionally kicked off my own gratitude mindset. Two weeks ago, I literally looked around at my physical surroundings, at my past, at my future, and, most importantly, at my present. Essentially, pausing to "take inventory" allows you to see what's right in front of you but that you're too busy, or too used to, to notice. Then, once you've looked around and taken inventory, reflect.

To cultivate mindfulness and gratitude, you have to stop, look around, and take inventory. (Tweet it!)

You're so lucky to have BLANK. Not everyone can BLANK. What would you do without BLANK in your life? Keep looking at things this way, and you'll find that you've become mindful and aware. I've never been the "live in the moment" type, either, but the mindfulness that has come along with this surge of gratitude has really affected my outlook. I'm much more conscious of the days passing and how quickly time is passing, the many changes taking place in my life and in the lives of those around me.

I'm more deliberate in what I'm doing and in the choices that I'm making, the words I'm saying. I'm trying to kick any reservations that I have and just do it, whatever "it" is. I'll leave you with this: stop and look around today. It might just be the best thing for you.

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