Mental Health

Mindfulness and Motivation

Total Awareness

Today I went to a seminar at Barnes and Noble about mindfulness in education. Well, seminar is a strong word. There were four of us there…including the speaker.

Backstory

Mindfulness is quickly becoming a tool utilized by many for the relief of symptoms brought on by stress and anxiety. Its use is spreading to school systems where it is used with students of all ages.

The practice of mindfulness has traditionally spiritual roots. Manifesting in practices such as meditation.

More recently, there has been neurological studies suggesting scientific proof to mental and physical benefits that go along with the regular practice of mindfulness.

I am not prepared to go into the specifics in this post, but if you are interested, leave a comment below and I might put a post into the works.

There were two main points that caught my interest during the seminar.

1. AWARENESS

2. CONCENTRATION

Those concepts are huge! If I was able to concentrate for longer imagine the amazing blog posts I could write. Forget that, I’d write a book. Couple that with the awareness of what I should write the book about and it would turn out amazing!

But seriously,

mindfulness put simply is the ability to stop and have awareness of the moment you are in.

This practice has a multitude of applications.

Side Note

I am not endorsing the general practice of mindfulness or meditation. I am pointing out what appear to be potential benefits of having the ability to be in the moment you are in.

I do endorse the practice of going to God in EVERY moment to find your anchor and worth and value.

I believe God uses many tools to help his children live a good and fulfilling life. And that He wants to see us face and manage our struggles with Him in the driver’s seat.

God is the ultimate healer. The only true healer. I will endorse that!

What’s the Benefit?

Upon reflection, I saw a clear connection between mindfulness and motivation. Motivation has been a consistent theme for me lately and I’m just now starting to be aware of it. How ironic that the awareness has manifested itself while being surrounded by mindfulness discussions.

I call that a God thing, btw. His timing is sublime.

How do I get from mindfulness to motivation? And how can you make it work for yourself?

Get to the point already lady, geez.

INTENTIONALITY

The key to motivation and finding it for yourself is having the ability to slow down enough to be aware of what is motivating you right now at this moment. Being mindful of your thoughts and emotions during the moment you are in.

If you can find the true underlying motivation for why you are reading this blog post tell me what it is in the comments below.

Everything we do is motivated by something. It’s not always a simple answer either.

Motivation comes from the value we set on things. If we don’t see value in an activity we aren’t going to be very motivated to do it. Even if we do see value there may be other obstacles standing in the way of our ability to complete something or simply find the motivation to start.

That’s not a bad thing. We’re not physically able to DO everything. We need some kind of system to put things into the do or don’t categories.

But what about the activities we NEED to do but don’t necessarily want to or see value in or feel discouraged about doing? Or the things we do see value in but feel unable to do?

Intrinsic Motivation

How do we find motivation?

We get intentional about what is motivating us in the first place. Big, over-arching motivations.

Intrinsic motivators.

Definition – Intrinsic Motivation


“A specific activity with an incentive to engage and is derived from the activity itself (e.g. a genuine interest in a studied subject) rather than because of benefits that are external and might be obtained.”

PsychologyDictionary.org

Family is a HUGE intrinsic motivator for me.

My passion is for my family and everything that goes with that. However, it doesn’t mean I love doing the laundry just because it means washing the clothes my husband wears.

It means that when I don’t, IN THE LEAST, feel like doing the laundry I can draw from my motivation to see my handsome husband start his day at work feeling good about himself. That can be accomplished by doing a simple load of laundry. That’s motivating to me.

Extrinsic Motivators

That leads me to extrinsic motivators. They play a part, too. Particularly when doing the tasks we may not want to. But if we can recognize the value of mundane tasks due to their extrinsic rewards we can then see how they can fit into our intrinsic motivation system.

It’s all about slowing down and being aware. 😉

Definition – Extrinsic Motivation


“Extrinsic motivation explains the drive for an individual to participate within a specific activity or role given the potential to achieve a reward or punishment.”

PsychologyDefinition.org

What’s motivating to you? Can you define your intrinsic versus extrinsic motivators? How can you get those motivators to work for you?

Sit down. Think it through. Make a list.

Find the core of what motivates you. It will be influenced by your core values. Do what you see value in. The motivation will find you.

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