Mindful living is about living in the present moment without judging yourself or others. When we are not in the present moment, we are then tied up fretting about the past or worrying about the future. For many of us, mindful living does not come naturally, because we tend to live on autopilot. The problem with living on autopilot mode is it often amps you up and literally takes you out of the moment.
For example, you’re driving to your favorite coffee shop to get a latte. You’re excited about treating yourself. As you’re driving, you start thinking about the argument you had with your partner earlier in the day. Before you know it, you’re all stressed again. Instead of living in the current moment and enjoying your latte, you found yourself re-living the past. When we are focused on the past, it is hard to move on and can lead to you to carrying around anger and other unpleasant emotions.
Mindful Living = Cultivating A Distraction Free Zone
Instead of reacting emotionally to situations like people do on autopilot, you can choose to focus on the current moment without letting your emotions take over.
You might see a distressing story on the news leading you to feel angry and sad. Instead of reaching for your phone to distract yourself, you can choose to stay in the moment. You acknowledge your emotions without judgement. This frees you from losing an hour or even a day of productivity because you were fixated on this one moment.
Mindful Living Makes You More Appreciative
During less enjoyable moments, like while you’re cleaning your home or doing an unpleasant task at work, it can be tempting to let your mind wander. But part of mindful living is staying in the moment, even if that moment might be viewed as unpleasant or uncomfortable.
However, just because you’re staying aware during an unpleasant moment, you don’t have to give into feelings of negativity, like sadness, boredom, or loneliness. Instead, focus on giving thanks. For example, you might say something like, “I’m grateful that I have a job to pay my bills” or “I’m blessed to have a home to clean”. Now, you’ve managed to stay in the moment without letting yourself focus on the negative.
Mindful Living Improves Your Mood
Few things can improve your mood quite like mindful living. Often, anxious thoughts are the result of worrying about the future, while sad thoughts are related to regretting the past. Mindful living helps because it forces you to stop overthinking. Unless there’s something you can do to change your past, you have to accept what’s happened in your life. If you do find that you’re frequently haunted by regrets or always worrying about tomorrow, it might be smart to speak to a trained counselor who can help you move on.
Mindful living is one simple way to improve your life. Try to spend a week focused on mindful living and see how your thoughts change.
Journal Your Thoughts:
- What are some regrets from your past that you carry around?
- What are some worries about the future that you find yourself fixated on? Do you really believe that worrying changes the future? Why or why not?
- Mindful living sometimes involves acknowledging unpleasant feelings. What do you normally do when you feel strong emotions? Do you get overly angry, overeat, and feel anxious?
Kim McLaughlin M.A. is a counselor and a motivational coach working with people who engage in emotional eating or binge eating. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. If you are in need of services contact Kim McLaughlin here.
Kim is the author of the best-selling book Feed Your Soul; Nourish Your Life! A Six Step System to Peace with Food. Learn more about her book here.
Kim McLaughlin has been identified as writing one of the Top 50 Blogs about Emotional Eating by the Institute on Emotional Eating. Sign up for her free Special Report: Top Strategies to End Binge Eating here or visit her website at www.FeedYourSoulTherapy.com.