Scent. Woman smelling flowers during a walk in the woods.

The Scent of Mindfulness—Follow your Nose

Smell is often the most undervalued sense.

For many of us, unless a scent is extremely strong, extremely pleasant, or extremely unpleasant, we don’t pay much attention to it. Even with our limited sense of smell (compared to many animals), there is a wide range of smells in the world that we can enjoy, that can provide information, and that can become another universe for us to explore.

There are many variants out there of the Five Senses Mindfulness exercise, in which the participant focuses on each of their five senses in turn. It’s a great exercise in mindfulness and a good starting point for being more mindful of our senses, but if we can expand this idea into our regular moment-to-moment mindfulness, it will result in whole new worlds opening up to us.

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Focus. Determined woman focused and in the moment.

One Thing at a Time: Overcoming Challenges to Focus

Pay attention to one thing at a time.

It’s easy to say, but there is so much we have to keep track of. It’s also hard to stay focused—to keep our minds on what we are doing without getting distracted or letting our minds wander.

It’s important to remember that we are only capable of doing one thing at a time. At any single moment, our brains can only think about one thing. We may be under the illusion that we’re able to work on several things at once, but what is really happening is that we’re focusing on one thing for a very short time then moving on to something else. We may even be cycling through several tasks, causing us to think we’re focusing on all of them at the same time, but the bottom line is we can only focus on one at any given moment.

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Meaning. Woman finding happiness in the moment.

Just Be: Finding Happiness in the Here and Now

People often want something different, something more. We find it quite hard to see the potential for happiness in the present, even when the present is fantastic. Even during our “most exciting times,” we tend to think about what’s coming next. On vacation, we’re thinking of the next day’s surfing, of the friends coming to visit, of the great dinner we’re going to have. It’s hard for us to “just be,” to eek out all the joy in what is happening right here, right now.

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Aspire. Brave woman posing as super hero.

Aspire

That little voice inside your head? What guff has that guy been feeding you now?

When you’re thinking about your dreams and aspirations, you might discuss them with your friends, your family, or your parents. These people might tell you that you can do anything you set your mind to, or they might tell you not to try so you won’t be disappointed. They may have your best interest at heart, or they may have ulterior motives.

But the bottom line is that they don’t know you the way you know you.

Throughout your life, you will get a lot of advice. Some of it will be awful. Some of it will be right on the money. Some will be unsolicited, from passing acquaintances, and some welcome, from people who know you well.

But none of it will be from the most knowledgeable perspective. That perspective is yours and yours alone.

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Happiness. Smiling woman drinking coffee and relaxing.

Happiness

Why is it that many people view everyday life as boring—something to just get through?

Many people spend their lives waiting. Waiting to achieve something. Waiting to get something. Waiting to be happy.

Conditional happiness is overrated. If we think that some future event or condition is going to make us happy, or turn our lives around, or bring us fulfillment, then we’ve missed the point. If we don’t have the capacity for happiness in “everyday” life, some future condition is unlikely to make us happy. We all have the capacity to be happy—some of us just don’t realize it.

Happiness is available to all of us right here, right now.

It’s inside all of us. If it’s not there, then no level of achievement, material gain, or lifestyle change is going to bring it to us.

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