Mindfulness is a word we hear everywhere and it’s no wonder, because it is something which is so powerful. It helps us to see more clearly, respond to life more effectively, and to make the most of every given moment.
A recent study showed that our mind wanders up to 49% of the time. That is nearly half of our lives. Often, we are reflecting too much on our past or projecting our minds too far into the future. Practicing mindfulness allows us to be less distracted and live more presently. This doesn’t mean to say we don’t cherish our memories or not plan for our future, but rather we don’t let the unnecessary thoughts and distractions bombard our minds from living in the here and now.
When I am speaking with people who would like to shift their habits; whether they want to eat more healthily, increase their exercise or quit something, this is one of the first areas which I talk with them about. Our past forms part of our conditioning and our habitual patterns, and a lot of our habits stem from mindlessness; we don’t actually realise we are doing them. But for as long as we are alive, we have the chance to change our habits, and grow and evolve every day.
Practicing mindfulness allows us to free ourselves from the past, focus our energy on the here and now, and re-condition our minds. It changes how we perceive things, so we can focus on what is most meaningful to us.
There are so many wonderful benefits of practicing mindfulness. It has become so popular that it is used in nearly every facet of our society; hospitals, universities, and Fortune 500 companies offer mindfulness training as it increases productivity and re-focuses our mind.
I have put together my top tips for mindfulness around nutrition and well-being and I hope they can be of some benefit to you.
Practicing mindfulness whilst you are eating helps you to gain control of your eating habits and allows you to listen to your body and what it needs. Sometimes we can mindlessly eat to feed our emotions, or eat when we are tired and bored. Practicing mindful eating will allow you to respond more effectively to your body and help you to shift any bad habits. On the other hand, mindful eating also makes you appreciate your food by enjoying every mouthful and the nourishing goodness it is providing you. Limiting distractions, turning off devices whilst eating, as well as sitting at the dining table and making mealtimes always a special occasion, will help to strengthen your mindful eating.
Pause then respond
They say that one of the arts of mindfulness is to practice pausing before you respond. This can be used for anything; for example, pausing before replying to that email, pausing before reaching for that second helping, or pausing before being distracted in a moment that should be cherished. This simple pause can prevent a hasty reaction and will start to change your response. With practice, this will help to re-condition your mind and your actions.
Master your environment
This is one I believe to be so important. Mastering your environment and limiting your distractions will allow you to live in the present moment and be more mindful. This goes for anything, belongings in your household, your relationships, your work-life, or hobbies. Surround yourself with only these which serve you well.
I love this one and this is something I practice regularly. Mindfulness is often confused as meditation, when in fact meditation is a practice which strengthens your mindfulness. There are some great meditations apps out there and spiritual influencers who can guide you through it. Meditation can seem frustrating to some at first, as our minds are so busy. It does take practice and remember it is ok for the mind to wander. Whenever your mind wanders, just accept it, then return to the meditation. What you practice grows stronger, so keep going.
Accept your thoughts and emotions
Making the choice as to whether we pay attention to our thoughts and emotions, or if we simply accept them then move on, will create more space in our minds for the present moment. I remember one of my yoga teachers explaining our thoughts as buses, and our mind as the bus stop. As each bus drives by, do we get on the bus, or do we simply acknowledge it and let it pass us by?
It is important to not suppress our thoughts and emotions, as some need attention more than others. As our mind wanders a lot of the time, being connected and focussing on our inner awareness will help us to gain a better understanding of our feelings and values, and create more space for the here and now.
Live in the moment
We live with so much distraction and are constantly surrounded by things that stimulate us. Too often we can miss the most beautiful moments in life. Find joy in the simple pleasures, pay attention to your environment and what is going on around you. Use your senses, stop, smell, taste and listen.
Live in the moment, because life in the moment moves so quickly, so don’t miss it.
I would love to hear how you practice your mindfulness and any tips you may have, so please comment below.
Thanks for reading,