“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” — Sharon Salzberg
Welcome to the very first installment of Maryann’s Mindful Minute! I’m excited for us all to become more mindful about our family’s health and well-being. Yes, that means me too.
Why mindfulness? Well, I could just offer tips about what to do but that tried-and-true strategy almost always falls short. The reason being told what to do isn’t inspiring is because it doesn’t come from inside of us, the part that needs to be motivated for a habit to become our own.
The pioneer of mindfulness, John Kabat-Zinn, defines being mindful as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
Mindfulness doesn’t ask us to do or change anything. All it asks is for us to be aware without judgment. In other words, you notice what is going on without rushing to color the experience as “good” or “bad.” This is hard because our minds attempt to label and solve problems ASAP (which often aren’t problems). I call this being reactive and it’s typically mindless, something that goes on without our awareness.
The key benefit to being mindful is seeing things as they really are, which leads to better choices:
Reactive: Get upset, resist the situation, and search for a quick-fix solution to make the bad feelings away.
Mindful: Get curious, accept what is going on, and if needed look for a deeper, long-term solution by asking questions.
Each week I will tackle a (family friendly) health-related topic and ask you to be mindful of it all week long. Then you can decide if there’s something you really want to change. Not because I said so, but because you want to.
Every Mindful Minute will also be about one-minute long and delivered to you every Monday. I figured out that one-minute of reading is about 500 words so I will do my best to stay around that number and not take too much of your time. And receiving the Mindful Minute on Monday means you get a whole week to focus on it.
I suggest using post-its, pads of paper, and reminders on your phone to help you stay mindful about whatever it is we are focused on. And if you want to share your experiences — or have questions — I will start a thread on Facebook Monday of each week (title: Mindful Minute #).
These Mindful Minutes are all about applying mindfulness to make better health decisions for you and your family. So let’s get started by simply noticing when you’re are being reactive, and what happens as a result of that. One key way we react during the Holidays is to jump to the conclusion that we have “no time” for health-promoting activities (stay up late, skip exercise etc), look for distractions (screens, food, too much alcohol etc), and put off self-care until things slow down. This week, notice all the ways you (and family members) are reactive and let’s meet on Facebook and talk about it.
I’m excited for our new adventure. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!