When I first started looking inward and focusing on my mindset and mindfulness I often confused the two. Over time, I realized that there was a difference between mindset versus mindfulness.
I would interchange the two for the same meaning and found myself being a bit clumsy as I ventured into what, at the time, was a new way of thinking for me.
After more confusion than I’d like to admit, I came to the conclusion that:
Mindset is how your thoughts shape how you feel about things. And that changing your thinking will then change your behavior and overall attitude.
Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts and feelings, and surroundings and environment without judgment. Simply recognize who you are in the present moment.
Where I Started with Focusing on Inner Happiness
I have always been a very positive, glass is half full, type of person. I’m known for saying, ‘it is what it is,’ and moving on with things. I understand when I have no control over a situation and just need to make the best of it. I’m not one to stress over things or lose sleep over anything.
But that was changing for me at my last job. There was no longer joy in going to work every day as I’d always had. I was negative about what I needed to accomplish in a day at work. And, I no longer enjoyed my commute, whereas before I would listen to an audiobook and the 40-minute drive would fly by.
This shift was significant for me. It affected my mood, my relationships, my health and fitness levels, and eating habits. After a few months from the start of this transition, and several conversations with my husband, I knew I needed to look within and assess my inner happiness.
I purchased a few books on mindfulness and googled a lot about mindset. And over time I joined the two together in my brain somehow. And when I would speak about them to my friends and family I knew I was getting it wrong.
That was when I first dove into mindset versus mindfulness and I haven’t come up for air just yet. Understanding the difference and investing time and energy into each has completely turned my life around.
I am again the positive, carefree, happy person I had always been. I left my job, and I started my own business, focusing on living with intention to hopefully help others along their journey.
Mindset: What You Need to Know
Depending on who you follow or which books you read on mindset, you’ll find there are different kinds or types of mindsets. Here are a few:
Honestly, the list can go on. I found that as I went through the process of understanding myself I focused on what I needed at the moment.
There were days, even weeks, where I only honed in on having a positive mindset. I focused on allowing negative thoughts to flow through me and replacing them with positive thoughts. I didn’t dismiss my negative thoughts. Instead, I analyzed them, respected them, chose to let go of them, and replaced them with positive thoughts.
For me, that was a big piece of what I needed at the time. Since that time I have focused on most of the mindsets in the list above. Oftentimes, during my morning routine – more on that here, I give myself time to either meditate on one of the topics for my mindset or choose a topic to focus on throughout the day based on my current feelings and needs.
Through the process of me leaving my job and venturing off on my own, I really focused on having a growth mindset. During this time I allowed myself to make mistakes, embrace challenges, listen to feedback from others, and take risks. I came to understand that the only way I could grow into something different was to focus on having a growth mindset. And not having a ‘fixed’ mindset – which is the complete opposite.
As you start your journey with your mindset you will have to decide what to focus on based on where you currently are and what you need in your life. Changing your thinking from negative to positive, stressed to calm, fixed to growth, etc., is a process. You have to be aware and constantly remind yourself what you internally need. And that your thoughts will change your behavior as you transform yourself into what you want to be.
Mindfulness: What You Need to Know
So much about mindfulness is being in the present moment and assessing yourself and your surroundings. The more your mind is in this state of presence the easier you’re able to return to it when necessary.
It becomes second nature to observe your own thoughts and feelings in any given situation to help you formulate your reaction. When you first start to practice mindfulness it doesn’t always come so easily. I remember having to sit myself down and having internal conversations to assess.
You’ll find yourself becoming more forgiving to yourself, attentive to your thoughts and emotions, and overall more kind and positive. I like to think of this as my gentle flow within my body. That’s what it feels like. When I’m aware and in tune with myself it feels like a friendly warmth is flowing through me.
Being aware of yourself helps you to be in tune with others as well. As you continue to understand your reactions to situations and your emotions, you further develop the ability to assess other people’s emotions. You may find yourself more deeply understanding someone else’s emotions during conversations or situations.
As you begin your journey of mindfulness it can be helpful to practice guided meditations. Guided meditations help you focus on one aspect of your being at a time. It delineates your thought process to give your mind the space it needs to focus on one emotion, feeling, or even mindset.
My favorite meditation app is Unplug. I love their monthly challenges, daily meditations, guided meditations, and the ability to search for just what you need. Unplug has been a game changer for me through this journey.
Write it Down
That’s what I did. I wrote the definitions down and constantly reminded myself of mindset versus mindfulness. My journals, notecards, whiteboard, and the notes section of my calendar were filled with information about mindset and mindfulness. I gave myself a constant reminder of what my internal focus was and sometimes I still look at the definitions.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the definition. It’s just that when I read the definition of either mindset and mindfulness I get an awesome reminder of why they’re important and why I spend so much time on them.
Living with intention has totally transformed my life, for the better. I think it’s so important to understand yourself, your goals and desires, and to actively be present through the process.
When you’re aligned with your internal conversation on a regular basis your innate calmness and positivity that you have developed through this process kicks in and helps you as needed.
Pay Attention to the Change in Your Thought Process
As you continue to practice mindfulness and focus on your mindsets, you’ll start to see a difference in your thought process. You’ll notice how things that may have stressed you before no longer do.
You’ll also see how other people who do not practice may not be able to assess their stresses as easily as you can.
There have been times when I watch stress take over my husband and I’m as cool as a cucumber. This is because I’m aware of each emotion I have, what’s within my control in a stressful situation, and understand that my stress will most likely get me nowhere.
It hasn’t always been so easy to identify this. However, over time it gets easier. I have been practicing this for years and love how naturally it comes to me now.
And it’s not just stress that you’ll be aware of. That’s an easy example. But you’ll also become more aware of your joy, love, fear, and a plethora of other emotions.
Living in the present means you’re living with intention. I love being in the present and being in tune with myself.