It’s a Monday – always the toughest day of the week, and made even tougher by the fact that Canada Day was yesterday and the 4th of July is this coming Wednesday.
My challenge to you today involves a concept called mindfulness.
Mindfulness is something I learned about in counseling, and it’s a topic that can be very helpful. It’s all about focusing on ONE thing at a time, being mindful of that action, and that’s it.
Sounds pretty easy, right? Well…. think about it. How often do you actually do just ONE thing at a time?
I can say personally, this is an issue for me. I’m usually at work half the day, and then I come home and eat dinner. While I eat dinner, I’ll have the television on in the background and I’ll be chatting with my mother while checking my e-mail and social networking sites.
Doing one thing at a time: fail.
It’s difficult though, isn’t it?! We’re a driven society where it’s expected that things get done fast: cooking, cleaning, e-mails replied to, texts answered, phone calls taken, errands run. Even if you’re sitting down to dinner and have the intention of doing nothing else, your mind might still be racing ahead, thinking of all the things you did that day or still need to do.
Mindfulness aims to change this. By being mindful, you focus on the sole action you are doing at that time. This means being present physically as well as mentally – so if you’re doing a task, that’s the ONLY thing you’re doing, and the only thing you’re thinking about.
It certainly takes a lot of practice, and a lot more work than we’re used to. But it can help improve focus, stops you from overthinking and once you’ve handled the skill, it comes in handy with things like meditation and exercise.
You might be saying, okay – what’s the challenge? Here it is.
Today, I want you to sit down for your next meal. Whenever you’re reading this, be it before lunch or dinner or maybe you won’t eat till breakfast tomorrow. When you sit down for your next meal, focus only on that. Focus on the food that you’re eating; how does it taste? How much are you eating? Are you still hungry? Focus on eating, and put your energy into that – nothing else. Don’t read a book, don’t watch TV, don’t check your phone or think about what you have to do later. Better yet, turn your cell phone (and all related devices) off. Forget about it. Forget about all of it.
Focus on your meal, and focus on the eating. Be mindful, if only for a half-hour.