The Magic of Being Mindful (and how to put it into action!)
“Mindful” seems to be the new buzzword these days. But what does it mean to be mindful, really?
Plain and simple, mindfulness is being aware and connected to the present moment, and accepting it without judgement.
This could include being aware of what’s going on with us (internally and externally), being aware of our surroundings, and being aware of the choices we’re making.
We’re all so busy, rushing from one task to another. We often don’t take the time to pause for a moment and take a breath.
For example, have you ever had the experience of not really remembering the drive home from work? You know you drove, but it’s all a blur because your mind was somewhere else. That’s autopilot, the opposite of mindfulness in action!
Below I’ve broken down three ways you can directly improve your life with mindfulness (using easy to understand concepts and super simple action steps)!
Mindfulness helps you gain perspective, which is hugely important when it comes to your outlook on life! We all have irrational and self-defeating thoughts from time to time. It’s important to “step back” and remember that you are not your thoughts. You are just the observer of your thoughts.
By choosing to be mindful when you experience a negative thought or emotion, you are able to accept your experiences readily instead of rashly reacting or going down the rabbit hole of mental negativity.
Next time you have a negative or self-defeating thought, just notice it and become aware. Don’t judge the thought; just let it be. Realize that you are completely separate from the thought. Watch it come and go, passing by like a cloud in the sky.
Say to yourself (maybe even out loud, if it helps) “Let it be, and let it go.”
Yes, mindfulness can help with your diet!
Honestly, I struggle with this. My natural tendency is to shove food down my mouth as fast as I can. I’m a hoover! But I’ve noticed that if I slow down and fully engage with the experience of eating, I enjoy the meal a lot more. I eat less. I make much healthier choices.
Your senses are the gateway to mindfulness, so make sure you are actually seeing, smelling, and tasting your food. When we are mindful with our eating habits, we’re a lot more likely to feel satisfied and nourished, because we used all of our senses and actually experienced the meal.
When it comes time for your next meal, turn the TV and computer off. Actually sit down at the table and focus. Be fully present. Take a couple of deep breaths and allow yourself time to feel grateful for the meal. Chew each bite slowly and really savor it. Notice the aroma, the flavor, and the texture.
If you’re feeling an intense craving for something unhealthy, pause for a moment and cope with the craving. Notice how you’re feeling. Stay with the discomfort. Remain calm with the knowledge that the craving will pass. This is called “urge surfing.”
Try this, too:
When grocery shopping, make a mindful choice to stick to the outer aisles where the fresh produce and non-processed food items are. Purposely take your time walking around and picking the most beautiful and vibrant produce.
Mindfulness helps us be more attentive to our partners and loved ones.
A lot of times, we can hear what people are saying, but we’re not really listening. We’re not fully present. We’re thinking of a future response, we’re distracted by our physical surroundings, or we have other things going on in our heads. Mindfulness helps us fully engage with our loved ones, which leads to a deeper, more meaningful connection.
Mindfulness can also help during the tough times in a relationship. During an argument, being mindfully conscious of your behaviour will give you more emotional control and stop you from reacting in rash and impulsive ways.
Next time you are with your partner (or close friend), put your phone down. Look at your loved one and really commit to being in the moment with them. Notice the little details about them, like how their voice sounds and the exact color of their eyes. Listen wholeheartedly. Try having your intention be to make them feel special.
Finally, if you find mindfulness challenging, keep trying. It’s tricky at first! Be patient with yourself. Know that it will get easier over time, and the results are worth the effort.
When uncertain of where to start, know that mindfulness begins with the breath. You’ll always benefit by pausing for a moment, closing your eyes, and taking a few deep, slow breaths. Ground yourself in your senses. Consider what you are seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling. This will take you out of your mind and tune you into your body.
And remember: Let it be, and let it go.
If you found this article helpful, please share or comment below! Tell me how you could benefit from being more mindful in your day-to-day life.
“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” -Deepak Chopra
Copyright © 2018 Mikah Horn Health & Yoga