One might say I have an addictive personality. When I start doing something, I really dive in head first. My list of things I’ve “got into” is very extensive and I am sure my sweet husband has it tucked away in his brain to repeat off to any one who cares to know.
I like to think of myself as Functional ADD. Yes, I have attention deficit disorder but I have made it work to my advantage. I am a super multi-tasker (or try to be) and get bored easily if I do not have at least two projects going at once or a huge deadline looming. (refer back to my last blog on mindfulness and the IQ decline with each new task one takes on…alarming!)
This has worked well for me most of my life despite raising two children as a single mom, juggling a full-time job and grad school plus divorce. My therapist and friend told me I was a “survivor” and I was made for that type of stress. At the time I was not too happy about it but looking back I realize I survived it well!
Then, life starts you down a path you are not ready for and unless you have that keen understanding of your thoughts, feelings and physical manifestations to situations in life, you may not see the meteorite crashing in on you.
Dr. Snider spoke of being a POYB “Participatory Observer of Your Behavior” at the weight loss conference I attended in Baltimore. How do we respond to life’s stressors? How do we treat others and do we make healthy decisions when it comes to food and lifestyle when life becomes a little more difficult? This is what being mindful is about.
About 5 years ago I was faced with my baby brother being diagnosed with an illness that took his life, my father suffered a stroke, I reunited with and married the love of my life and both of my children graduated high school and moved out. According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale I had a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.
Why am I telling you my personal problems? Well, I want to share with you that these life “stressors” precipitated some health issues for me and how I have started to become more mindful of what I feel, what I do and how I treat and react to others. Dr. Snider defined “mindlessness” as being lost in the past or regretting the past, looking ahead and worrying about the future, thinking of what you will do next and trying to being perfect.
I was juggling my job, responsibility and devotion to my family, time with my new husband, my fitness routine and all my projects in between! Life was piling up on me and I was feeling overwhelmed. It was showing with my diet. I was falling back on those “comfort foods” and binging on things that made me feel good for the time being. It also showed in my general health. I was not sleeping well, I was moody, I was tired and fatigued and I had major brain fog.
I realized I did not have to stay up late each night to complete household projects and then try to get up early each day to work. I also realized I was sacrificing time with family by scheduling my workout routine at times that were not conducive to mine or my husbands schedule nor could he workout with me. I have now joined a gym that he and I can work out together. He is happy, I am happy and we are both fit! I do not beat myself up over a few pounds of weight gain or not burning 600 calories a day on an exercise bike. I have also given up a few of my “projects” that were taking up time I could be spending with family.
However, there are still areas where I need to improve. That too is being mindful. The awareness that you have areas to improve. I need to disengage from my computer for longer periods of time during the day. I need to start focusing on my spiritual needs more. Simply saying my prayers isn’t enough. I need to reestablish my connection to God. Dr. Snider also made a great recommendation for reading that I am looking forward to:
The Rhythm of Life by: Matthew Kelly
If you feel you need to practice more mindfulness, here are 10 practical tips (provided by www.mindful.org) to start being more right now:
- Take a couple of minutes to notice your breathing. Sense the flow of the breath, the rise and fall of your belly (count your breath in making it as long as possible and do the same with your exhale)
- Notice what you are doing as you are doing it and tune into your senses. When you are eating, notice the color, texture and taste of the food.
- When you are walking, tune into how your weight shifts and the sensations in the bottom of your feet. Focus less on where you are headed.
- Don’t feel that you need to fill up all your time with doing. Take some time to simply be.
- When your mind wanders to thinking, gently bring it back to your breath.
- Recognize that thoughts are simply thoughts; you don’t need to believe them or react to them.
- Practice listening without making judgments.
- Notice where you tend to zone out (e.g., driving, emailing or texting, web surfing, feeding the dog, doing dishes, brushing teeth, etc.). Practice bringing more awareness to that activity.
- Spend time in nature. And, I want to add: spend time with God.
- Notice how the mind likes to constantly judge. Don’t take it seriously. It’s not who you are.
For more information on mindfulness, visit the link below:
- See more at: http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/visions/wellness-vol7/whats-the-buzz-about-mindfulness#sthash.gGGGaIp8.dpuf
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Wishing you a day of mindful reflection and peace,