How much of your day is spent on autopilot? Mindlessly moving from one thing to another, not fully engaged in what you are doing or who you are with. When your mind is distracted, you can’t truly appreciate what’s happening in the present moment. Imagine what you could be missing!
Now imagine a solution that wakes you up to the goodness in your life. The practice of mindfulness is your answer. Mindfulness is not about relaxation, but about focusing your attention and exploring daily moments with openness and curiosity. A mindful mind helps you see opportunities to use your character strengths to connect with others and find purpose in each day.
Mindfulness can be practiced anytime, anywhere, and there’s good reason to do it as often as possible. Research shows mindful living can improve your physical and mental health, well-being and happiness.
The Power of Mindfulness and Strengths
But, who wants to add one more thing to their to-do list? Luckily, mindfulness doesn’t have to involve long periods in silent contemplation. While meditation is a beneficial component, true mindfulness is a way of life. You can apply simple, research-based strategies to your current, daily routine to cultivate greater inner awareness.
Additionally, when you combine mindfulness and strengths practices, capitalizing on what’s best in you, the rewards are exponentially greater. Resources like VIA’s on-demand course, Mindfulness and Strengths in Daily Life, led by Dr. Ryan Niemiec, can help you discover all of the benefits of mindful strengths use and strong mindfulness.
3 Mindfulness and Strengths Tips for Greater Well-Being
When applying mindfulness and strengths, small changes to your daily routine can make a big, positive impact. Get started with these 3 simple tips to engage your strengths and create a more meaningful, fulfilling life.
1. Catch “AP ASAP” to Find More Joy
Throughout your days, your mind will wander. You’ll zone out on the drive to work or lose focus during a conversation. The key is to notice when you go into autopilot (AP) and quickly (ASAP) bring your attention back to what you’re doing. Then, using your strength of curiosity, explore that moment.
Savor the smile on your child’s face, the smell, taste, and texture of your next bite or the beauty of the sky. When you're engaged in the present moment, you start to appreciate the small details of life that bring peace and joy.
Practice catching “AP-ASAP” and truly live in the moment with all of your feelings and senses. You'll be amazed at how this simple effort creates more enjoyment in the way you speak, listen, eat, work and perform all of your other daily activities.
2. Pause Before Proceeding to Reduce Stress
Life isn’t always beautiful blue skies. Some days are filled with challenges, arguments and stressors. However, research shows mindfulness can help you reframe difficulties and adopt a new perspective that moves away from a problem-focus to a strengths-focus.
As you approach daily stressors, you might feel angry, sad, confused or frustrated. Mindfulness teaches you to pause and breathe. Take time to recognize your emotions. When you slow down, you’ll see that you have choices in how you can respond and move forward. Ask yourself: how might I use one or more of my strengths in a strong and balanced way in this situation?
To get more practice, Dr. Niemiec offers a simple meditation in the Mindfulness and Strengths in Daily Life Course to help you feel empowered by your strengths and use them to confront challenges.
3. Activate Your Signature Strengths to Boost Life Satisfaction
Your top character strengths, known as signature strengths, strongly represent who you are as a person. Unconsciously you use these strengths many times throughout your day, but there is also power in mindful use. Research shows finding new ways to use your signature strengths enhances life satisfaction and flourishing.
Each day, think of new ways to use your 5 signature strengths. Try food from a different culture (curiosity), add a kind note to your spouse’s bag (love), or start a conversation with a stranger (bravery). Since your signature strengths represent your true self, when you explicitly express them, you tap into the parts of your personality that make you feel alive, energized and engaged.
Discover your top strengths—and more ideas for mindfully using your strengths—with the Mindfulness and Strengths in Daily Life Course, which includes a personalized Mindfulness and Strengths Report.
Focus on Practice, Not Perfection
Mindfulness is about working with your attention. You can’t be mindful every moment of every day—you don’t have that kind of control over your mind! What you can control is returning to the present moment.
With the right strategies, you can bring your attention back to the person you are with, the task you are working on, or the challenge you are facing. Then, using your character strengths, transform that simple moment into a meaningful, positive experience.