As makers creating products and building businesses, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the thoughts racing through our minds. We could do with a more mindful approach to life.

According to Mindful.org, “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”

Nyanaponika Thera, a German-born Buddhist monk, described it as attending “just to the bare facts of a perception as presented either through the five physical senses or through the mind, without reacting to them by deed, speech or by mental comment.”

How to cultivate mindfulness

Mindfulness can be cultivated with different techniques such as meditation, walking and merging meditation with activities like yoga, dancing, or any sports. Google’s former “Happiness Guru,” Chade-Meng Tan, offers mental exercises to find joy in a matter of seconds. In his latest book, Joy on Demand, he offers some ways to instantly improve your happiness.

Recognizing “thin slices” of joy: it is easy to find joy when you achieve something big, but when things are not going so well, it is good to find small positive things in your daily life. For example, a walk in the park, eating your favorite ice cream, or coming home to a clean house. The act of noticing the small things can snowball into a full-blown habit that improves your overall mood.

Develop the habit of wishing success to others: sending good wishes to strangers you meet is a very powerful habit to build. To make things even easier, you can start with people you know well and your loved ones.

Take deep breaths: a few deep breaths can have the same effect as meditating. You can do this by keeping your breath consistent and focus on inhaling and exhaling while generating positive thoughts.

How makers get into a mindful state

“Mindfulness means being aware of my physical and mental health, and adjusting accordingly. I listen to my body and I make sure to take regular breaks. Mindfulness doesn’t need to involve anything complicated. Sometimes, it can be something as simple as taking a few deep breaths, or going for a short walk.” – Anne-Laure Le Cunff, founder, Ness Labs.

“I have been doing an eye exercise these days. It keeps my eyes good and when doing that, my head gets empty so it’s kind of like meditation.” – Avi Aryan, Full-Stack Web Developer.

“To get into a successful day, I start my day by not checking my phone as soon when I wake up. Instead, I focused on doing simple tasks, such as making coffee, showering, and made up my bed. Then, I continue with a 10-minute meditation. This way, it helps set my mood throughout the day.” – Shabrina Koeswologito, founder and freelance writer, Slow Travel Story.

“At a time when schedules are increasingly hectic, I like to take a few minutes each day to write in a gratitude journal. In it, I reflect on what I’m grateful for, what went well, and how I could have made the day even better. It’s a positive way to start and end the day, process my thoughts, and celebrate moments (no matter how big or small).” – Nicolette Orlemans, founder, #CultureTrav.

“Mindfulness for me is all about listening to the signals that your mind and body give you. For makers and me personally as a remote worker, this usually means to know when to take a break. I typically go for a walk and do a quick workout every day. I already feel how my mind is getting worse if I’m too busy and miss it. This is what mindfulness is all about – the ability to listen to yourself.” – Dominic Monn, founder, MentorCruise and RemoteML.

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