In an effort to improve my overall health I set myself a challenge to improve my mindfulness. I set this goal at the start of the year and saw little progress so thought why not create a project where I inject some energy into reaching this goal. Roughly two weeks into my mindfulness project and I can tell you I am very good at being mindless. I am also exceptionally good at planning ahead, to the detriment of experiencing and enjoying the present.
Like many people I live a pretty hectic life and have become an expert in multi tasking. My key attributes include eating breakfast whilst driving, walking the dog whilst mentally planning my day, and inhaling my afternoon snack whilst I create meal plans for my clients. By trying to maximise my limited time I have also lost the ability be present with whatever activity I am doing. Presence is a key factor in mindfulness and involves the mind, body and soul focusing on the present time and moment rather than the past or the future. It is one of the hardest skills to master but essentially allows you to live each moment to the fullest. It helps to increase your self awareness of all aspects of your life and encourages thoughtful response rather than reaction to all situations. My lack of presence was obvious, but my ability to notice this is a small win on my way to creating mindfulness.
As well as every day tasks I also spent a lot of time worrying about what my future self would experience. From Easter onwards I literally had no weekend to myself with an end of season trip, my Sports Dietetics course and True Grit. This was also paired with a higher than normal work load. Before May had even begun I was stressed about how exhausted I would feel, in particular following my full on four day course and also trying to fit in my training. The course in particular was a career goal I had set myself to achieve before I had even begun my Nutrition and Dietetics course so you would think I would be excited? Nope, I was daunted by the exhaustion that I thought may follow. Isn’t that just ridiculous? The week before I left I came to the realisation that worrying takes away from my enjoyment and really serves no purpose in my life. As soon as I changed my mindset and focused on each day as they came rather than how I would feel after it became a great learning opportunity, and one I am so grateful to have experienced.
To help summarise my experience over the first couple of weeks I wanted to give myself a rating or a mark out of ten each day on whether I achieved my mindfulness goal. I soon came to the conclusion that this actually defeats the point of mindfulness. Instead I focused on each day and each moment. When I felt myself being a multi-tasking typhoon, I stopped and brought myself back to the present moment to produce one quality task at a time. I also encouraged more kindness to my day, another key element of mindfulness. No matter what your actions, thoughts or emotions always be kind with yourself as you steer yourself back on the mindfulness trail.
My first two weeks has shown me I have a lot to do for my overall wellbeing but has given me many opportunities to recognise areas of improvement. On my next stage of mindfulness I will look to create some strategies to help me overcome my autopilot habits and focus on enjoying each day as it comes. As always, stay posted for the next instalment.
Peace, Love and Food xx