“The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn
This past winter I had the opportunity to take a class at the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness to learn more about this way of thinking and living. The center offers numerous classes based around the Mindfulness philosophy.
This post will focus on Mindfulness as I believe we can all benefit from “choosing what we think about.”¹
In this day and age we are expected to be tuned-in and available all day every day. Somehow society has conditioned us very quickly to respond to outside stimulus immediately. The news, social media, emails and texts are with us constantly and it is up to us to decide what we respond to. This decision, however can be difficult when we feel an obligation to respond to a colleague, client or family member. This constant bombardment can affect our nervous system, stress level, sleep habits and food choices.
“Choosing what we think about” sounds simple, and in theory it is.
However, changing your current habits to adopt a more mindful way of life can take some time. I suggest and have found a good place to start is with the mundane task. Choose something you have to do every day and start being present in that moment.² For example, you may choose brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, folding laundry or brewing your morning cup of coffee. Now this might sound “hippy dippy” but you have to start somewhere. Think about each step you have to do to complete the task.
Feel your hands on the toothpaste tube and the sensation of squeezing the toothpaste onto the toothbrush. Next, notice the feeling of the bristles on your teeth, the toothpaste on each tooth, and how the water feels in your mouth as you rinse. I know, it sounds a little odd but it will start to train your brain to be present in the moment.
As you practice this method with the mundane tasks, you will start to have the ability to apply this method to other things that take more work.
You will start to notice your stress level will decrease because you are not feeling pulled in so many different directions. Your productivity will increase because you are not attempting to do two things at once. When you apply this method to your eating plan you will notice you make better food choices. You will be less likely to grab just anything to fill the void because you will make a mindful choice about what you’re eating.
Understanding Mindfulness and practicing it in your daily life can have numerous benefits for you and those around you.
If you would like more information or are interested in taking a class please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will put you in contact with a local instructor.