Mindfulness: No More “Why Did I Just…” Moments
Please tell me I’m not the only person who has eaten half bag of trail mix or half dozen (or more!) mini Reese’s cups only to stop and say “Why did I just do that???” Can anybody relate?? It’s like I lose my mind for a minute only to realize (too late!) that I just made a poor choice!
Let’s start with a dictionary.com definition: “a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.”
So first of all, WHEN do we have time to focus full attention only on the present??? Aren’t we usually doing 3 things or more at once?
AND, what’s this “not judging” business? I’m bad or a cheater if I eat half bag of M&Ms right?? I need to punish myself. I need to verbally beat myself up.
I’d like to propose that we can begin to take some steps towards mindfulness to reduce (and eventually rid ourselves of) “Why did I just…” moments!
I find that I have these out-of-control, mindless moments most often when I’m tired, stressed, overwhelmed. I’ve had it. Just over it. I have no willpower or self-control left. My tank is empty, and I think my tummy is too! So I go on a spree before I realize what I’ve done.
I believe that when we slow down, even a little, and take care of a few areas of our lives, we become more mindful. It’s what we do in the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of our day that will save us from ourselves in those 5 minutes of losing our minds. And it boils down to taking care of ourselves.
Some time back I posted a picture of me getting a mani/pedi while reading a book and said that this is something that helps me stay mindful. Now, how is that? Those things (even though that mani/pedi was the first one I’d had in 2 months) provide some relaxation. So, I took about an hour out of my day for some self-care. I had a half marathon on the following Saturday. Add to that PMS! I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed with a few things. I needed to take care of me.
Girls, it’s okay to take care of yourself. You are better for everyone when you take a little time for you. Because this is how it goes otherwise (back to our scenario of “Why did I just do that?”): If one of those moments happen, then it leads to feeling bad about yourself, then the negative chatter in your mind, and it all spirals out of control.
An important key to help you stay mindful is self care. It could be in the form of mani/pedi, a massage, bubble bath. Whatever says pamper me to you.
As I mentioned, when I’m tired it’s easier for me to have those out-of-control moments. I think I need “fuel” and not in the form of lean protein or complex carbs. It’s usually in the form of sweets and processed food!
When we’re well-rested and feeding our bodies proper fuel, it’s easier for us to practice mindfulness. We have energy. We’re not dragging in the mid-afternoon grabbing for a quick pick-me-up.
Here’s the thing, when we have more energy and mental focus, we can Experience the signals we’re getting from our bodies and then properly Assess them as to whether to Take action.
We’ll call it the EAT strategy. When we condition ourselves to slow down in other areas…taking the 5 minutes for quiet time, a bubble bath after the kids go to bed, a 10 minute walk before everyone else wakes up, scheduling an hour once a month for a mani/pedi…we can slow down in response to our hunger and craving signals and begin to assess what, if any, action we need to take to satisfy that urge.
It’s a practice. I still have moments. In fact, a common phrase I use is “I need a moment.” My son knows it’s like a mom time-out. I need to get my head right and my attitude right before I respond to anything or anyone.
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