Do you talk on your cell phone while you’re grocery shopping? Eat at your desk while answering email? Watch TV while you exercise? Text while driving?
These and many other activities have become as commonplace as walking and talking at the same time. Many people actually feel guilty if they’re not doing at least two things at once.
One of the most basic wellness practices you can cultivate is mindfulness. Simply put, mindfulness is paying attention to what you’re doing. It’s the opposite of multi-tasking, and it can have positive effects on any aspect of your life.
Many people who complain about weight gain could probably be helped by eating mindfully. Rather than blow through a bag of chips without realizing it as you watch TV, or consume a meal on the run or in the car, wait until you can sit at a table and relax with your food. Keep the TV off. Dinner topics, if you eat with others, should be light and pleasant – nothing upsetting. Take your time and savor every mouthful, concentrating on its taste and nutritional value to your body. Think about what you’re putting in your mouth. Will it bring you health and well-being? Give thanks for your food, actually taste it, and chew it well to aid digestion. When you’re done, sit there a few minutes before jumping up to clear the dishes.
Time with Others
Most of my dates with my ex-boyfriend were shared with his clients. Our time together was constantly interrupted by work – he either received or made phone calls. Are you guilty of this? How do you think your companion feels? Not very important to you, I would imagine.
It makes me sad when I see a parent, on an outing with their children, yakking into their Bluetooth; young friends hanging out who are each plugged into different iPods; couples eating breakfast where one is on a laptop and the other reading a book. Is this their quality time together?
A lack of mindfulness can even be downright dangerous, such as texting while crossing the street or applying mascara while driving. At the least, you’re missing out on your life. Notice the beautiful spring day. Enjoy the feel of the warm, sudsy water as you wash the dishes. Savor every bite of your next meal.
You only have the current moment to live in. Pay attention and enjoy it.