Mindfulness is your ability to be present and aware in the moment. For the Habits of Health Transformational System, mindfulness helps to take us out of our automatic routines so that we can be conscious of the choices we are making.
One of the tools we often discuss is mindfulness meditation, which is a way for us to pause and reflect. For me, I start my day with mindfulness meditation so that I can put myself in the right mindset before I begin my work, and then I come back to mindfulness whenever I need it.
Those pauses during the day take the form of Stop. Challenge. Choose., our process for recognizing when we have the choice between a Habit of Health and a Habit of Disease so that we can interrupt the unhealthy choice that might be automatic.
I’ve also written about how I use Habits of Healthy Hydration to support mindfulness as well. If I find myself having a difficult or complex conversation, I take a drink of water to slow the situation down, giving me time to think about the choices I am about to make rather than reacting with emotion.
Even if taking a deep breath or drinking from a water bottle seem like small actions, they are powerful tools for separating your choices from the momentum of a moment. The more we can be conscious of the actions we are taking, the more likely we are to make the choices that truly support our goals and build Habits of Health. If we can incorporate a variety of mindfulness tools into our day, we naturally give ourselves more opportunities to forge healthy habits.
Here are some ideas:
- Add five extra chews before you swallow. For many of us, overeating is one of our biggest challenges. If you chew your food for even a few extra seconds, you give your body more time to register that you’re full.
- Mix in mini walks into your routine. Even if you are taking the long way to the water cooler at work, the extra time that comes with extra steps are valuable moments for reflection.
- Surround yourself with positive examples. Though we often suggest limiting your social media and phone time, when you are on Facebook or Instagram, follow people who are good influences, like your coach and your fellow community members. Seeing positive reminders about the Habits of Health will keep those choices top-of-mind for you.
- Invite a friend. When you take the journey to optimal wellbeing with a friend or loved one, your interactions with that person throughout the day will remind you of your goals and give you a shoulder to lean on when you need it.
Mindfulness, like any Habit of Health, takes practice. You won’t master it overnight, so go easy on yourself and celebrate your successes along the way.