Holiday Mindfulness Tip #3

Learning to slow down or mindfully pause in the moment, lets us make more discerning choices about what we take in. During the holidays this can be especially helpful.

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Christmas Tree old fashioned

Mindfulness Holiday Tip #3:

Pay special attention to what we ingest and how it makes us feel.

This goes for anything we eat and drink of course, but, it also goes for anything we take in through our senses. This would include then: movies, TV programs, radio, music, social media, interactions with others and so on.

Everything we take in impacts our thoughts, bodies, and words. We know now that Descartes sent us off in quite a misdirection, with his, ” I think therefore I am.” Not only did this send our minds and bodies spiraling sadly away from each other but gave us the mistaken ideas that:

  • We are our thoughts.
  • That our thoughts are true. (usually they’re not!)
  • There’s some permanent unchanging self out there. (There isn’t. We’re all changing moment by moment.)

In fact, our bodies, minds, thoughts and emotions are in dynamic relationship to each other. Research indicates there’s some space between stimulus and response. Here’s where our mindfulness can really help stay present, kind and peaceful. If we bring a moment to moment awareness to experience we’re more likely to notice how something actually makes us feel, as it’s happening. Frequently we multitask and lose our connection with our felt sense of experience. So we over eat, over drink, take in entertainment that actually bums us out and isolates us, rather than fostering connection and engagement.

If we can slow down, in the moment, maintain a sense of gentle curiosity to discover what’s happening and really taste, smell, have an embodied, felt sense of what we’re taking in, we’ll catch ourselves before that next plate of food turns into a huge belly ache, the next drink, a vicious hangover, before we snap at a relative who’s let us down somehow, or been as annoying as we thought they’d be and so on.

By pausing, slowing down we can more clearly discern which choices regarding what we ingest will contribute to greater happiness and good feelings for ourselves and others.

Try it and see what happens. And as always, I’d love to hear back how that went for you. Let’s help each other out okay?

May all find peace.

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Author: Hillary Johnson

Improvisational documentary and fine art photographer.

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