Awareness: Step 1 of Being Mindful

For the last few weeks, I have been talking about being mindful in your life and especially in your eating. First, I sent some mindful eating information through my newsletter. Then I asked you all just how mindful you are currently living your life. And then I went on to get you excited for this little mindful series I have going on.

Enough hype already, right? Let’s get on to the good stuff. With being mindful in your life, there are seven steps, or skills, in doing so. When you are just reading the words that describe each step, you may find them very abstract. You might have a hard time understanding all of the information until you actually begin utilizing and experiencing the changes in your life.

Awareness

source: original artwork

Being aware. What does that really mean anyway?

Awareness means paying close attention to the external world. The things you hear, see, touch, and in this case of mindful eating, what you taste.

Have you ever read a book only to realize that you have no idea what you have been reading? You have to read the page over and over again because you are not aware of what you are seeing. Or have you ever driven home from work and once you get home you realize that you have been on autopilot the whole time and really don’t remember making each turn? You are not being mindful of your life because you are, first and foremost, not being aware.

Once you are more aware of your eating, you will begin to notice the foods you eat that are just habit to your tastebuds because you eat them so frequently. Years of mindlessly overeating, dieting, or starving can warp the way you hear and respond to your body’s natural signals. These are difficult habits to relearn, but the first step is to really become aware.

When you are really aware of what’s going on insides, you hear the very subtle and internal feedback your body gives you. At the beginning, these signals may be extremely difficult to hear, but with practice, your awareness will become heightened, and you’ll be a pro in no time.

Being aware does not mean to change anything that you are currently doing. You can continue to eat the way you are eating  if you choose. All I ask is that you become more aware of how that is.

What eating habits do you have? Do you always scoop a bowl of ice cream after dinner, which then leads to evening snacking? Do you drink a mug of coffee to get rid of your natural hunger signals? Now is the time to notice these things. Your habits – these could be the pitfalls in the mindful eating process. Once you are aware of them you can start to develop different and healthy habits!

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So this is your HOMEWORK:

Yes, it is back to school time for you too!

Pick a day. Either today or tomorrow.

What do you need to be more mindful of? If it’s your eating, I want you to be more aware of that today. If it’s conversations with your significant other, chose that to be aware of.

You can do this either mentally or in a notebook.

What are some things you notice?

Why do you eat the things you eat after dinner? Are you bored? Are you still hungry? Why did you drink coffee instead of have a small snack when you were hungry? Are you even tasting that bag of chips? After the tenth handful of trailmix, are you really enjoying the way it tastes? Are you even AWARE of how it tastes anymore?

In your conversations with your significant other – Why does your mind wander when he/she is talking? Why do you feel anger? What things are going through your head? Be aware!

Again, this is not an exercise that asks you to change anything. This only gets your mind moving. Makes you AWARE.

How did your Homework go? What were you more aware of for one day?

Comments

  1. says

    Hey Holly. Well, it did not take long for me to pinpoint my number one barrier to awareness: my iphone. I have the insane habit of carrying it with me ALL the time and looking at it constantly. I won’t be giving it up any time soon, but I’m making an effort to leave it somewhere out of sight and mind from time to time, to prevent the constant distractions. I think it’s a good first step.
    P.S. I love the original artwork!

    • Holly says

      ah, I too am easily distracted by my phone. If I’m not on the computer or cooking up a storm, I find myself on my phone. When I’m waiting for something, instead of opening a book like I used to, I get on the phone. Sad.
      But yes, it does help when I leave it, say in the bedroom, to charge for the evening while I should be spending time with my family. I mean, do I REALLY need to be connected 24/7??
      I’m really proud of you for coming to this realization. I think it’s great that you are willing to take the steps to become more mindful and present in your life. It really is great! Good job! I’m looking forward to hearing about your progress.

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