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Gillian Sanger

What areas of your life could use more mindfulness?

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This week's question asks:

What areas of your life could use more mindfulness?

It seems to me that mindfulness comes easier for us in certain areas of our life than in others - and that this varies from person to person. For some, practicing compassion in relationships is much easier than remaining mindful about technology usage. Likewise, someone might find it relatively easy to be mindful during formal meditation practice and yet the struggle to make mindful use of their time. What areas of your own life could use greater mindful attention or care?

You might consider:

  • Relationships
  • Work life
  • Time management
  • Self-care
  • Eating and drinking habits
  • Technology usage
  • Movement/exercise
  • Goal setting
  • Formal meditation practice
  • Or anything else that comes to mind.
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Thanks for sharing @Kimberly! Mindfulness of taking time to rest is also something I could use more of, as well as mindfulness of where I am putting my energy. YouTube, the news, and other media channels serve a purpose to a degree, but I am finding that I need to be more mindful of the attention I grant to these things.

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My first response is that I could use more mindfulness in all of the areas mentioned. One I currently am working on is mindfulness of eating. I am using the program Noom for weight management. The program is based on cognitive behavioral and positive psychology. I have been documenting every meal for three plus weeks. Here's one important thing I learned. Even though I now prepare meals, plate them, have water with them and sit down to eat them, after the first bite I psychologically go somewhere else. Lost in thought describes the experience. At some point, I become aware of that and try to reorient my attention. It fails. Next, my plate of food is gone. I don't remember how anything tasted, whether it was satifying or quite how I got to the end of eating what was on my plate. Because, I carefully chose what to eat and the amounts, I know I "ate well and enough". That works to prompt me to wait 20 minutes for the feeling of satieity. Once it occurs, I recognize I don't need to eat until the next meal. However, I don't experience any of the tastes that occurred during my "thoughtful diversion". I have set simple goals: at least stay present for the first thing I eat, or the first part of the meal. I will work on trying to stay mindful in stages. This is a lifelong habit. Family meal times when I was a child were horrible. Always filled with anger, stress and control. I think thoughts and eating quickly were survival skills. Nonethe less, I am not at that family of origin, I am in my own home and family which is totally for the better. Being mindful is about the only way I can think of to break this lifelong tendency. Daniel

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Thanks for this open sharing Daniel. Mindfulness of eating is a strong point of interest for me as well. A few years ago I read 'Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food' by Jan Chozen Bays. It was really impactful for me and the key principles have really stuck with me (mainly the different types of hunger, which helps me to understand what part of me is really hungry for food). 

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The pandemic created so much turmoil in my life that I turned to mindfulness. I needed it everywhere!  I have really tried to stop and think about what I am doing and why. It has made so much about my life better because I feel like I have really learned to be present in my existence. But I do sometimes find myself getting caught up in emotions caused by work still. I am working from home these days, and frankly enjoy it more this way, but there are days that try my patience. Long days of Zoom meetings make me numb. I walk away from the computer and really struggle to come back to Earth. My dogs help a lot to remind me to think about things again. Once I get their nudges, I begin to be mindful again.  But in a world with so much technology connection, I struggle.

 

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I appreciate your comment Gillian. Thanks for the mention of the book that was useful to you. I am continuing to pursue mindful eating. I get better at doing it with each meal. Really tasting the healthy things I am eating leads to much more satisfaction. I can easily drift off into thoughts but I am improving at recognizing that process and calling myself back to being mindful of my meal. Daniel

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@DorothyBelle - Thank you for sharing! I have to say that I really resonate with your struggles related to technology. I work from home as well, which I really love and yet it is still a struggle in some ways. Spending so many hours a day in front of a computer is very challenging for me. I have dogs as well (I think we've shared dog photos before?) who really help me to get back into the present moment. I am trying to be mindful to take more 'presence pauses' during the day - just five minutes here and there to stop and to breathe. 

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