Does Mindfulness Motivate You More?

Mindfulness is the ability to focus on the present moment. It’s all about becoming aware of what’s happening right now, instead of being on an automatic pilot where you think you don’t have a choice to say or do something different and where you react the same old way.

Once you become mindful of how you are giving in to your inner demands and desires, then you will also become aware and mindful of how to motivate yourself throughout life.

The FACT that you aren’t where you want to be should be enough motivation

You will then see how your body and mind are attuned (or not), and become self-aware of how you deal with everything that you are feeling.

So, can mindfulness help you feel and stay motivated? Or can it actually work the other way around and demotivate you?

Continue reading and discover the truth about being mindful and staying motivated:

Motivation Is Essential When Being Mindful

Practicing mindfulness will help all of us to be (and to remain) motivated. I’m not saying we need to sit on our desks and sing mantras all day long while we work, but it does mean that even a small change in your life (like a daily 5-minutes practice of meditation), can help you understand how your motivation is responding to your inputs and outputs.

There are two known types of motivation: one is when you are motivated to do something because you enjoy the activity. And that is great because it means you enjoy doing it! The other type of motivation is when you are motivated to do a certain thing because of the end result.

So, you either do your job because you love it or you do your job because you’ll receive a paycheck at the end of the month.

What Are the Differences Between These Two Types of Motivation?

With the first type of motivation, you do your job independently of the outcome because you enjoy it. This is an attitude that it’s highly associated with mindfulness, because you do the activity you love, therefore, you are highly productive. In other words, you cannot do something mindfully if you don’t enjoy it.

What’s more, if you find yourself doing something you think you enjoy but your mind is traveling somewhere else, then you are not really enjoying the activity, you are enjoying what you are thinking about because that’s where your attention is truly going.

On the other hand, the second example is the most common one, mainly because we all have bills to pay!

This is why millions of people have a job even if they don’t enjoy it. They are not doing them because they feel the need and the joy to do them, they do it because they are getting paid at the end of the month.

Of course, this doesn’t mean they are constantly thinking about what and when they are going to get paid (I hope), but in terms of their motivation and the reasoning behind it, they feel motivated to work because of the result they will receive at the end of the month.

There’s nothing wrong with this either, especially as reality hits when you have to feed a family and yourself, but this is the opposite of being mindful. This is when you probably start feeling like your job is horrible and you need to survive it.

It also shows that your productivity can either decline or even stagnate because everything you do will feel like you are struggling like you need to get it out of the way and you simply cannot do so.

What Can You Do?

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Be Aware of the Things You Are Doing

Stop having hundreds of “to-do” lists everywhere you go, because your focus will go to the feeling you have when you have accomplished something, instead of being aware of the actual thing that you are doing.

Start a journal and find out what is really important in your life.

Always Bring Yourself Back to the Present Moment

How do you feel when you are doing certain tasks? I’m talking about ALL tasks, whether you like them or dislike them. Once you become mindful of them (and your feelings) you will also start noticing how, after a while, your brain can swift it’s perspective.

You decide your future in the present moment.

So, instead of focusing on the reward, you will eventually receive (such as getting paid), you will focus on the activity per se. For example, each day you must go out and buy coffee for your boss, and the coffee place is two blocks away from where you are.

Before being mindful you hated doing this because it meant you couldn’t focus on the long list of things to do. However, now that you are mindful, you start thinking about this activity as an opportunity to move your legs around, to go for a walk, and why not? To get yourself away from your workplace for a couple of minutes to get fresh air.

Be Good With Yourself

Being mindful also means being honest with yourself, without holding any judgments. So, instead of demanding yourself for more and more each day, ask specific questions. “How is this activity going for me?” instead of “Oh, I haven’t done this yet and I also need to do that now”. Stop bringing anxiety into your life!

You are not the bad things you call yourself.

Does Mindfulness Have a Downside?

Mindfulness means that you are focusing on the present moment and that you are accepting (without holding any judgments) how things are.

There are, of course, many benefits to this practice, from helping you cope with anxiety to treating depression and stress, meditation techniques have been known for thousands of years to alleviate many health issues and life’s obstacles.

However, does being mindful have a negative side? A side that can demotivate a person instead of making them feel motivated?

Note From Editor

Harvard Business Review wrote about a study that showed that mindfulness hurt motivation. People got demotivated after practicing mindfulness in this study setting. However, the study did not cover what caused demotivation.

Regarding the article, subjects had to perform a task such as editing a cover letter after meditating for 15 min.

My personal take on this is that mindfulness makes you aware of what is important, and probably your tolerance for bullshit-tasks will tank. I know, mine does.

There Are Some Exceptions to the Rule

For some people, practicing mindfulness can work the other way around and demotivate them. Perhaps they don’t often feel like they are lacking motivation, but they practiced mindfulness and felt great.

However, as soon as they had to go back to whatever task they had to do, they simply couldn’t do it!

Why is this? Perhaps they didn’t feel motivated after their meditation practice because they genuinely felt like the job was unnecessary, or they didn’t want to swap feeling good (because of the mindfulness practice) with the fact that they still had to perform or do an activity that would measure their productivity.

You will only learn which type of person you are once you start practicing being mindful.

Conclusion

However, not all is lost. If you practice mindfulness then you are allowing yourself to have a greater sense of self-awareness and self-control, which are great tools to have, especially when dealing with obstacles like demotivation, or rather, staying motivated.

You also need to stay motivated in your daily practice of mindfulness and meditation, and this itself can be difficult for some people. But look at it this way, if you spend the last five minutes reading this article, then you surely can spend five minutes each day meditating?

Instead of avoiding meditation and turning that avoidance into a habit, you can meditate for a little bit daily and make that your new habit.

Always remember that the positive effects of meditation will come to you once you practice every day for at least a couple of weeks. You may feel a little bit disorientated during your first couple of days, or even like you are wasting your time by “sitting there doing nothing”, and even though this is not true, you do need to stick to the meditation routine and be motivated to achieve it, each day.

Another tip that helps? Try to remember what your motivation was in the first place. Was it going jogging each morning? Or enjoying jogging each morning? Was it to be less judgemental? Or to be more open-minded and compassionate with others?

Believe it or not, but you should definitely be aware of the effect that certain words you use to express yourself have on a conversation. And the same goes for listening to the other person. Try not to judge, it’s valid for the other individual to think a certain way as well.

Communicating effectively requires a lot of conscious effort on your behalf, which is very interesting, considering we are social creatures, thus one of the pillars of our evolution has been the ability to communicate with others.

Therefore, communicating with your inner self through mindfulness and meditation is an important part of understanding why you are feeling either motivated or demotivated. Spend time on what’s important to you and what makes you feel the greatest joy.

And lastly, find the motivation that works for you. Write it down, if you think it’s necessary. Visualize the changes you would like to see and understand how to achieve them. Talk to yourself and see how to get to that place you dream of.

Always remember that the journey to get there is what is truly important and essential.

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