What we put inside our bodies affects our mental, physical and emotional health. I’m talking not just food, but other types of consumption too like social media. Being mindful and aware of what we are consuming is paramount to feeling good.
How can we become more mindful about our consumption and become more aware of what’s affecting us? Becoming mindful has never felt more important than right now. More of us are working from home, dealing with more stress and the need to look after our physical and mental health is at an all-time high.
Becoming mindful and present means living in the moment and becoming aware of all that is. As we tend to live multitasking lives and are constantly stimulated from so many different outlets, we tend to forget to connect with the present. Once we are able to establish being more present, we then move towards becoming more mindful and aware of what we are consuming or actually, what’s consuming us.
Becoming more mindful and aware gives you a greater connection between your mind and body which is a crucial part of a healthy body and healthy mind. Moving away from mindless consumption gives a greater sense of peace and observation of how your body and mind is. It enables you to notice your life with a small distance, instead of reacting emotionally to situations. When we aren’t mindful we live on autopilot, doing things without thinking, and most of us live like this much more than we realise.
We can practice mindfulness in more ways than you may think. Single-tasking is a very simple but effective way of becoming more mindful and present. Rather than multitasking, try doing one thing at a time and giving it your full, undivided attention. When practising mindfulness, try to tune into your senses, become aware of your breath and ask yourself ‘how do I feel in this exact moment?’. Try not to judge any feelings, thoughts or emotions which may arise, simply let them go. When your mind tries to wander just simply remind yourself and come back to noticing your breath. This also relates to mindless eating and multitasking eating a meal with watching TV or doing work – this can be more difficult now more of us are working from home. However, when eating, try to stay present with your food rather than being half distracted, not only does this prevent overeating as we miss our bodies cues telling us we are full, but it also leaves you feeling much more unsatisfied and increases cravings.
Another way we can become more mindful and aware is to tune in to how certain things make you feel. For example, if you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media last thing at night or first thing in a morning, notice how it makes you feel. More often than not this kind of mindlessness isn’t going to make you feel good and you may be spending more time doing this than you realise. Try to become aware of how much mindless media you are consuming – setting a social media alarm on your phone telling you how much time you’ve spent ‘consumed by’ mindless media is a great way to hold yourself accountable. More often than not I hear clients say that they ‘don’t have time’ to sit with their breath for 5 minutes per day, but when you realise how many hours you are spending mindlessly scrolling through social media posts by complete strangers, it can be quite daunting and by setting limits on how long you spend on social media per day, this frees up more time than you’d realise to do things which make you feel truly reconnected with yourself and more mindful in your life; as well as improving your mood!
Paying attention is another simple way that we can become more mindful. Taking a quick 10 minute walk to pay attention to your body. Notice the sensations moving through your body, your thoughts and how you are feeling. Taking deep breaths is also a good way to practice this type of mindfulness exercise. Sitting in the stillness even for 5 deep breaths can have significant impact on your mood, emotions and brings you back into the present moment.
Remember, we all have different lifestyles, so finding what works for you to live a more mindful and present life is more important than trying to fit in the perfect practice. What’s more important is that we are aware of the food we consume, being conscious of the time we spend on social media and sitting with ourselves for a short period everyday.
Article written by Holly for BALANCE online. Original article can be found here.