Mindfulness is not just about forming a new habit, but living a new way of life. Through intention and awareness, become cognizant of how you impact the world around you.
Mindfulness is a practice of paying attention to your feelings, sensations and surroundings in the present moment. Often used as a therapeutic technique to decrease stress, research studies have shown that being mindful can also reduce emotional eating behaviors. Through the principles of mindfulness, there are many additional aspects of life that it can be successfully applied to.
This is where mindful living comes in.
Mindful living helps us identify areas in life that are working smoothly, or those that need improvement at the personal, community, or global level. Through mindfulness, we become aware of how our behaviors influence the outcomes around us. This empowers us to think more about what we have the ability to change, whether it is to enhance our personal energy levels or create less waste at home.
Not sure where to start? Sometimes, we just need a little help along the way. Here are some practical ways to start living mindfully:
Are you a person that prefers less clutter, but things get piled up because of your busy life? Use the “1-minute rule”! This idea comes from Gretchen Rubin, which basically encourages you to complete any task that can be done within a minute. For example, hang your coat instead of leaving it on the couch when you get home as it takes less than 10 seconds to do. This method can be helpful for decluttering and stay productive with minimal effort.
If you need a reminder, schedule appointments or tasks to be completed on your calendar. As many people have smartphones nowadays, calendar applications are accessible tools to alert you with reminders and keep you on track .
When you’re cleaning in your home, consider sanitizing with reusable cloth towels to reduce usage of kitchen paper towels. If you want to reduce plastic usage, skip the produce plastic bags and bring your own reusable bags (like this one) or containers. Although many goods are pre-packaged in plastic or non biodegradable materials, consider shopping at places that offer bulk purchases or package-free items to reduce plastic waste. Find a local store nearest to you using this guide by Litterless.
Ever feel like there’s a lack of effective communication with your partner? Schedule a weekly 1:1 “meeting” with your partner. It does not have to be formal, and simply allows for a scheduled time for the two of you to reflect what happened in the past week or plan for the upcoming week.
Start with the following “agenda” items:
- One positive thing that your partner did in the past week.
- One thing that you partner can improve on for the past week.
- Chores that need to be done this coming week.
- Date night or planned meals together.
If the meeting doesn’t seem to improve your communication, consider seeing a therapist or marriage counselor. A trained professional will be able to remain objective and guide you through goals and obstacles within your relationship.
When it comes to your wellbeing, how you eat, move, and care for yourself can make all the difference in how you feel. Practice mindful eating by paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues, and how your emotions affect your eating habits. Find your preferred movements and exercises, instead of something less enjoyable for you. Try holistic alternative therapies, such as massage or essential oils, to help reduce your stress.
And always remember, mindful living shouldn’t create more stress for you. It’s about taking a pause, being aware of your thoughts and actions, and identifying areas that affect you the most based on your reflections.
May mindful living bring you more happiness and satisfaction!
HEADER IMAGE: NATHAN FERTIG
Janice Chow, MS, RD, LDN is a Chicago-based registered dietitian, food enthusiast, and food photographer with a passion for promoting mind-body wellness to people of all different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. With a focus on helping people suffering from emotional eating and stress-related chronic diseases, Janice empowers individuals to achieve a mindful life. Make a visit to The Mindful Chow.