The Art of Awareness

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The Art of Awareness

by Olessia Kantor
Mind Awareness Mindfulness Mindful Bad Day

The last month of my life happened to be turmoil.

Multiple flights, high-intensity events, one after another. Everything required me to stay in full focus. I was dealing with constant jet lag from traveling between time zones. There was an unending stream of minor but irritating problems.

At one point I caught myself reacting negatively to a situation that didn’t call for it at all. It scared me.

Then I realized that some people spend years in this state. Thanks to my years of experience of learning, teaching, and practicing mindfulness, I realized what was happening pretty soon quickly. I managed to disrupt the negative cycle of gloom and doom.

It was during this ultra-chaotic time that I seemed to forget the tried and true tips I share with friends when they find themselves in similar situations.

 1. If you get angry, you lose. They are two types of Hollywood fight scenes. In one, the main character gets mad and triumphs over a stronger opponent. In the other, the opponent gets mad and the main character wins. The second is far more realistic.

Once you lose your temper, you're in trouble. Your vision narrows. You react rashly. You turn into easy prey for anyone who wants to defeat you.

In tough times, you should remember this simple truth: once you give in to anger, you lose. Don't let others bait you.

2. Take your time. I watch stressed out people respond immediately to every text message, email, or phone call that annoys them. In many cases, they don’t stop for a second to listen to the other side before they blast out a reply.

That is an absurd habit.

Take your time. Let others, even when they claim they have no time, wait. Focus on YOUR goals. Focus on staying calm and in control. It's always better to appear intelligent rather than spontaneous.

 3. Ask yourself "Why?" Create a new habit: before making any decision ask yourself: "Why am I doing this?"

Are you reacting with your ego? Are you simply making the same decision you've made many times before, without considering whether past results made you unhappy? Do you reflect? Do you analyze?

4. Get some rest. Even if you are a night owl and the quiet of night gives you time to think, remember that going to sleep late makes you feel worse in the morning.

5. Dump the caffeine. For decades I avoided caffeine altogether but recently started drinking two cups of tea per day and a bottle of flavored water, which also contained caffeine. I realized that I became irritable easily and had to quit cold turkey. The subsequent headaches were better than remaining stressed out.

I want you to realize how important it is to be fully aware at all times when you make decisions.

You have to be on the right path to your long-term goals.

You have to remain true to your personal and professional values.

 And one small tip in the end -

Only listen to the advice of the people you value most.