How to be a Happy Woman: Mindfulness

This post was written by Stefani via UN Volunteering Service.

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What do you think about when you wake up? How do you feel when you look yourself in the mirror? Who is the person looking back at you?

I'm asking you these questions because I have realized that “WE” women including myself are never completely satisfied with what we have.  Some of us hate the way we look, some of us hate our job, some of us hate every man on the planet and so on. The list is so long that it would take an entire post to write about things that make us angry.

These are some of the thoughts that went through my head when I woke up, before I knew better:
1.       What I think about? Most of the time I worry about all the things I have to do during the day. Very often, there are a lot of tasks, many of which I just don’t like doing, I simply cover my head in the blanket and wish I could sleep the day away.  
2.       How do I feel? It depends. Sometimes, which is in fact most of the time I think of how big my nose is, how tiny my lips are, how huge my eye bags are, how fat my belly is, how much cellulite I have.... Since the thoughts are really fast, you can only imagine how many flaws I find on myself in one morning. It is a huge list!
3.      Who I think I am? I ask myself that question a lot. I wish I could look at myself from a different angle or perspective. I almost never see what everyone else sees in me. I try to think of myself as a strong, independent woman, but I often feel weak and dependent on everything, even a simple thing such as weather - how is that every time the weather is terrible I feel terrible too? What is wrong with me?

After a while I realized it’s not only me but nearly every single women has such thoughts. Even when everything is going perfect well, we tend to look for something, something that would make us feel sad or angry. How much time do we actually devote to ourselves? Why is everyone and everything else first and we always last?

At the end of the day we are the once who are bearing children, who are having periods, who have to work harder for the same job as men, and so on. Why, then do we add to our trouble by thinking of stuff like that about ourselves? We already have a huge weight on our backs, we certainly do not need more.

At last, I feel like I’m getting stronger than this. I think I might have found a solution for this long lasting problem of the way of thinking of women in community. How to feel happy is the main question? How to feel happy and not think about:

1.       How big is my nose?
2.       Are my lips are too small?
3.       I forgot to feed my dog.
4.       Maybe I forgot to turn the iron off.
5.       Why do I look so fat in this suit?
6.       Why is everyone looking at me?
7.        What does he think of me?
8.       Look at her and what the hell is she wearing?
9.       Why I’m eating this burger?
I think each one of you can come up with thousands more things our mind is occupied with. So I found a solution for myself which could be helpful to all of you. The solution is mindfulness.

The Wikipedia definition for mindfulness is following: “the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment. “

It may sound so complicated when you read it, but it is actually quite simple.

Concentrating your mind on the present and on the things you are doing at the specific moment is crucial. Why crucial? Because first of all, this reduces stress - one of the main issues affecting the modern women. Mindfulness will also help you feel better in your own skin, it will help you to feel really, really HAPPY with just what you have. We all have happy moments in our lives, but we never really feel it because we think of many other things during that special moment of happiness.

Even though mindfulness can also stand for mediation, I'm not into that. I think it is very helpful but I just never find time during the day for a moment of peace. Time is something that we just don’t have, at least not enough. What I did is very simple, from the 24 hours in a day which is 1440 minutes, I take only two minutes of each day - every morning when I wake up I do an exercise of mindfulness.

The exercise I practice is concentration on one specific thing each morning and appreciate it, being aware of its existence, of its presence, or its meaning. Sometimes I look at a leaf, a simple leaf that fell from a tree and simply look at it. You cannot imagine how many lines a single leaf has, how many details are in such a small and simple thing that is around us all the time, and we do not even acknowledge it.

I want to encourage you all to give mindfulness a try, give yourself a chance to really feel something, a moment, your breath, and your hands, anything around you and acknowledge it. It is worth trying and 2 minutes from 1440 in a day is really not that much.

Since I've been doing this for quite a long time, I realized that I started doing it even when I'm not thinking about it. I do it unconsciously and it feels good, it feels really good. I hope you all can find time for yourself and be a happy woman inside your own body. Give yourself time to be happy, After all this is the only life we have and we have to make the best of it.

Looking back to the questions I raised earlier in this post, my perspective when I wake up has begun to change by practicing mindfulness:
1.      What I think about? I’m very excited when I wake up and I cannot wait to do my morning run and continue with all the amazing things the day is offering me.
2.       How do I feel? actually feel quite pleased now. I realized how important each part of my body is and how unique I am. I finally got to the point where I appreciate myself and where I like myself as I am.
3.       Who do I Think I am? The person looking back at me is now really strong and independent. Okay, I admit the weather can still change my mood, but I always find something to admire and appreciate each single day, because every day is important and we should get the best of it.

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Stefani Marjanovic, 24, lives in a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has studied International Law at the American University in Bosnia and this year is starting her Masters in Human Rights and Environmental Protection. 

Stefani Marjanovic
IN HER OWN WORDS: " I lived outside my country few years, I also went on several exchange programs so I could say I’m very intercultural. I have seen many things, sometimes good, sometimes disappointing but it was after all a big lesson to learn. Thanks to a free summer and good will, I decided to be part of this amazing blog and to help and teach young women how to fight, how to grow, how to enrich themselves and become what they always dreamed of. I always wanted to help and was always eager about justice so I think I am exactly where I am supposed to be."


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