Newswise — It’s one of the seven key steps to purposeful daily living, says occupational therapist Dr. Melanie Austin-McCain.
“Be present, smile, humble yourself, and acknowledge others,” says Austin-McCain, an assistant professor at New York Institute of Technology School of Health Professions, describing how to be mindful in a world where we often spend more time looking at our phones than those around us. “With mindfulness, you’re really in the present and focusing on your senses and your experiences -- what you are feeling, thinking, and doing.”
Austin-McCain, who also serves an associate with NYIT’s Center for Sports Medicine, says research shows that having healthy daily routines and a purpose in life (beyond short-term goals like finishing school or completing a project) contribute to wellness and may help you live a longer, more positive life.
“Evidence shows that having a purpose in life is helpful in promoting health and preventing chronic disease,” says Austin-McCain. “It’s about finding out about who you are, the things you like do and that are meaningful for you and setting goals that align with those things.”
Austin-McCain, who has presented community workshops on the topic, offers other purposeful living steps and ways to incorporate them in your life:
Meditation – Don’t set a goal of 30 minutes to meditate, McCain advises. Instead, aim for short periods of stillness, where you can visualize goals and set daily intentions
Movement - Stretch your mind and body, says McCain. Find ways to stay active, engaged, and moving. Commit yourself to thinking things through, exploring new ideas, coming up with different strategies to approach challenges, and trying new things.
Management – McCain advises people adopt a personal management role. “Be the CEO of your life,” she says. That might mean performing a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of your life, decluttering your desk and living space, or meal planning that makes it easier to choose healthy foods.
Maximization – Adopt a “future is mine” mindset, where challenges are opportunities and you see your potential as well as the potential in others.
Meaningfulness – Acknowledge those who support you and seek joy and happiness in the things you choose to do. “Meaningfulness is more like gratitude – awareness and appreciation of the things around you.”
Mentoring – McCain says mentoring goes both ways: it’s best to seek mentors for various aspects of your life (professional, personal) and to serve as a mentor to others, providing support and wisdom.
Austin-McCain is available for interviews at [email protected]