By Todd Gulizia, Health Coach
Do you often feel stressed, scattered or distracted? Is it easy to go on autopilot with certain tasks, not really noticing or acknowledging what you’re doing while you’re doing it? The solution to these distractions or feelings may lie in the practice of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is consciously focusing on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations and environment. It is paying attention to the moment-by-moment journey rather than ruminating on the past or being anxious about the future.
Benefits of mindfulness.
Living mindfully can reduce the stress caused by a cluttered, overstimulated mind and also create a greater sense of joy. Our lives are comprised of many moments strung together. A constant focus on making it to the end of a day or week leaves us apt to miss a lot of life in the process. When attentive, we perform better and make fewer mistakes. Finally, the practice of letting thoughts ebb and flow without judgement breeds self control, making us less reactive to the impulses we experience.
Practicing mindfulness may be easier than you think…try these things to get you started:
- Single-task versus multitask
When you’re eating, eat. When you’re driving, drive. It is impossible to do two things well at the same time, and scattered attention leads to stress and mistakes.
Take 5 – 20 minutes to calm your mind. Notice thoughts as they arise, and let them go without judging them as good or bad. No time? Pause throughout the day (at the checkout line, at a traffic light, before eating) to take 3 – 5 slow, centering breaths.
- Eat consciously
It’s common to eat when bored, stressed or simply because it’s a particular time of day. Mindful eating involves noticing your true hunger and satiation cues. Take a few deep breaths before eating, employing all senses: take in the sight, smell, taste and texture of your food. Slowing down and savoring your food makes you less likely to overeat.
- Move to connect your body and mind
Activities that connect breath and body awareness like yoga, tai chi and dance offer the opportunity to notice internal sensations while outdoor activities provide a feast for the senses. On the other hand, watching TV while exercising may further disconnect us from our bodies.
- Pay attention when communicating
When communicating with others, listen fully instead of texting or daydreaming. Rather than thinking about what you’re going to say next, really absorb what is being said. Allow pauses and slow your speech or breathe. Be aware of your body language to bring clarity to your thoughts and energy to the interaction. When in doubt, follow the simple advice of Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn: “Smile, breathe and go slowly”.
Todd’s education and certifications:
Bachelor of Science in International Business
Bachelor of Arts in Spanish
Master of Science in Health Education
Certified Health Education Specialist
Certified Yoga Instructor