At the beginning of the year one of my health and wellbeing goals was to be more mindful. One of the main reasons I want to improve my mindfulness is to create a balanced mind in a world which can easily sweep right by us. There have been moments both in the past and recently that almost didn’t feel real. These moments forced me to be mindful and present to be able to absorb and enjoy them. Coming towards the end of April I have given some reflection to this goal and feel I have yet to achieve it. I have progressed in some areas such as tuning into my emotions but I do lack consistency. So in order to improve my ability to be mindful I felt what better way to improve this life skill than to create a project where I could concentrate more of my efforts. Over the coming weeks (and likely months) I will be sharing with you my mindfulness project and the steps I use to be more mindful.
Mindfulness does seem to be the buzz word at the moment and until quite recently I associated these sorts of things with the kind of inspirational wankery that comes with smoothie sipping, third eye seeking life coaches. When I eventually put away what others thought of improving ones self I eventually researched the topic and found the endless benefits. I also found myself inspired by those wankery life coaches and sought much of their advice to help guide some of my own personal development. So if you, like I was, are a little sceptical about airy, fairy self love then I suggest you just give it a go. I guarantee you won’t look back.
For those who don’t know mindfulness is best described as a moment to moment awareness of one’s experience without judgement. The practice has evolved from a largely Buddhist concept founded approximately 2,600 years ago to a more mainstream construct which is more applicable to the everyday person as life has become immensely far busier and full of stress and distraction. Mindfulness can help you to control stress, enhance mental capacity and bring calm to everyday life. By being more mindful you can begin to understand your body, mind, feelings and interaction with the environment. Over the course of this project I will give you more details on these specific foundations of mindfulness as I myself learn about them.
So now you know what mindfulness is and I have somewhat convinced you to stick around and enjoy my own journey to mindfulness you can see why it was an important wellbeing goal for me. With every goal or starting journey it’s important to identify your ‘why’. Essentially by knowing why you do things you can help to keep this motivation front of mind. So why do I want be more mindful?
- I am surrounded by incredible people, by being more mindful I can enjoy their presence in my life and I can choose to interact with them in positive manner.
- I am blessed with opportunity, by being more mindful I can reach my full potential to achieve the goals I set.
- I am lucky to have an abundance of food, by being more mindful I can fuel my body with exactly what it needs to maintain health and performance.
I know I live an incredible life. I know I have been given an opportunity to make an impact in this world so I feel I owe it to myself to make a change to how I go about it. My sister often told me “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result”. I’m aware she stole this from those wankery life coaches I mentioned earlier but she is right. I love to dedicate my times to projects in regards to my physical fitness, strength and coordination, now it is time to concentrate my efforts on my mental health. With my ‘why’ and my sisters wise words fresh in my mind I can now look to take the first step towards mindfulness.
If you google step by step guide to mindfulness it will succinctly sum up how to achieve this skill, like you could snap your fingers and it would be that easy. In order to create behaviour change you need to dig a little deeper than simply reading a check list guide. My first step is to identify times in my life where I am least mindful and try and create some strategies that I can focus on to overcome this. My times of mindlessness:
- Distracted eating; this includes eating whilst driving, working, cooking, watching movies etc.
- Eating when I am not hungry; this includes eating that is brought on by boredom, stress and fatigue.
- Tuning out, particularly when my lovely partner is telling me about his day (he is a longwinded story teller but the best one you’ll hear). I’ve developed a habit of listening to part A, missing part B-K and coming back for L and M to catch the moral of the story. I’m horrible I know.
- Using my phone whilst doing anything else. There is no way that you can multi task whilst also immersing yourself in social media.
- Letting emotion dictate my response. This is an area I have improved in but I could be better. By being more mindful I will respond and not react.
As you can see by digging deep I have identified some key areas in my life where I am mindless and some aren’t nice to admit. Now I know these areas I can help to identify the triggers and make an effort to be present. To keep these areas front of mind I have created some intentions which I will write down each morning paired with 2-3 minutes of mindful meditation when I wake up. My intentions this week:
- I will take time to appreciate my food and enjoy it using all my senses.
- I will give every person I interact with my undivided attention.
- I will be mindful of my emotions and feelings without judgement.
As I progress through my project I will touch on the essence of mindfulness and hopefully be able to pass on some successful strategies (and I’m sure some not so successful ones) to create change. With some fresh intentions I hope I will be able to create some more moments of mindfulness in my day. Once I have achieved this very small step I will look to move forward. Keep your eyes peeled for my next instalment of my mindfulness project and see what I discover along the way.
Peace, Love and Food