How to Feel Great Every Day Through Mindfulness
I am thrilled to announce that I have here today, my soul-sister and dear friend Paige Burkes of Simple Mindfulness, where she writes about simple steps to a happier life, sharing her own experiences and lessons learned. She is an amazing person and is featured in the Top 50 Personal Development Bloggers of 2012.
Besides the fact that we both share the same birthday (September 27) I am always excited about how we are almost always in sync with our thoughts and views about life. Both of us are committed to making a positive difference in as many lives as we can!
Paige recently launched the “Mindful Body Program” – I had the privilege of reviewing it for her and I simply loved it. It is an absolutely zero BS approach to you can be healthy and feel good for the rest of your life. And it is not about fancy diets, supplements or equipment. Best of all, it is all within you to make this change!
You have the ability to heal yourself from the inside out.
I believe that happiness is a DIY project – and grew up with strong women who encouraged mindful living. So, I requested Paige to share with us the concept of mindfulness and how we can benefit from practicing it. We could all do with some tips that help us live a happier life, right? Right! And I love Paige’s no-nonsense results-speak-much-louder-than-lofty-theories approach to this whole thing.
Welcome, dearest Paige! I know you are passionate about mindfulness. I would like to share our discussion with our readers.
How to Feel Great Every Day Through Mindfulness
What is mindfulness?
It is simply noticing what is in the present moment without judging it. You can practice mindfulness anywhere, at any time. You can be mindful about what and how you eat, how you move, how you relate to other people, the choices you’re making all day, how you make and spend your money – everything.
As simple as it sounds – in today’s hectic pace of life, how easy is it to practice?
Mindfulness is a way of life and it takes practice. Being mindful is something you do one moment at a time, taking baby steps to incorporate it into various aspects of your life.
It can be difficult to slow down your racing mind to simply notice things. All of your screens and electronic devices keep you going, going, going. Today, we are programmed to be productive at almost any cost and this robs you of the ability to notice the beauty in and around you. It also robs you of the ability to make wise choices for yourself. Instead of what is right for you, you end up doing what you think others expect of you and what you’re “supposed to” do.
These mindless choices take a heavy toll on your physical and emotional health. I created the Mindful Body Program to reverse this process and help you make better choices to create a healthier, happier you.
Can the Mindful Body Program help those who are stressed and overweight?
Despite all kinds of advances in science and medicine, people are more stressed and overweight than ever. Rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a variety of other illnesses continue to rise.
I believe that much of this is due to our mindless lifestyles. When you’re stressed and unhappy, you feed those negative emotions with comforting (and often unhealthy) foods and drinks. While that may help you to feel better in the short term, it creates long-term health problems and never addresses the core issues.
The Mindful Body Program identifies those core issues and helps you to address them in your own life. By simply eating mindfully, you can transform your overall health.
You talk about Mindful Eating in the program – could you elaborate on that?
Eating mindfully means slowing down to consider whether you’re truly hungry, thirsty or looking to feed your emotions. It means being thoughtful about what you choose to put in your body, considering how you’ll feel later. It means slowing down and focusing on what you’re eating and drinking and enjoying every aspect of it. By eating more mindfully and tuning into your body’s needs, you tend to choose healthier foods in healthier quantities.
Weight loss is the Holy Grail for most of us. Can simply being more mindful about what and how you eat help you to lose weight?
Integrating mindfulness into your life isn’t anything like going on a diet. People tend to view diets as something they do for a while before resuming life as usual. If “life as usual” created the extra weight then the weight lost with a diet is sure to return when a diet is over.
When you practice mindfulness, you’re creating a new “life as usual” that feels so much better than diets or your old lifestyle. You start making conscious choices about what feels good for you in both the long and short term. For example, you may savor a small serving of your favorite dessert and realize you’re satisfied after a few bites instead of eating two giant helpings and feeling fat and sick later….not to mention guilty!
If you struggle with achieving or maintaining a healthy weight, mindfulness may be your key to easily losing weight and keeping it off. Practicing mindfulness can help you to uncover your emotional triggers, limiting beliefs and unproductive habits that have kept you at a less-than-ideal weight.
Can we use mindfulness to detox?
In addition to helping you lose weight, being mindful can help you identify possible food allergies or intolerances and toxins in your food and environment that may be draining your energy and causing other health issues. Until you slow down to simply notice the relationship between what you put in your body and how you feel, you and your doctor may never uncover the causes of those nagging problems.
Any tips for someone who struggles with fitting exercise into their busy schedules? How to find the motivation?
In addition to eating well, exercise is critical to creating and maintaining health. Most people feel that they’re too busy to exercise. There’s always too much to do and too little time. You make time for what you feel is important.
For many, exercise means going to a gym or doing something uncomfortable and strenuous. Generally speaking, exercise just doesn’t seem like much fun. Instead of seeing exercise as some arduous task that you “should” do, mindfulness invites you to see it as a fun way to move your body. Instead of thinking, “I really should go to the gym” try, “I can’t wait to take a walk with my best friend.”
Exercise is any kind of physical movement. Mindfulness invites you to try new things. Keep doing the things you love and drop the things that don’t feel good to you.
I love yoga and walking. If I go a day without yoga, my body yearns for it. I hate running and going to a gym. To me, these are painful tasks. You may be the exact opposite and that’s awesome. Experiment with all kinds of movement to discover what you love. Maybe it’s dancing or swimming or hoola hooping or gardening.
The Mindful Body Program will help you to find what’s right for you and, most importantly, turn it into a life-long habit that you can fit into your busy lifestyle and love.
I am keen on knowing about how parents can help children practice mindfulness
If you’re a parent, know that you are your children’s most powerful role model. Your children are absorbing everything you do and integrating those things into their own lives. Setting an example by incorporating mindfulness into your own life can be one of the biggest gifts you can give your children. It doesn’t matter how old they are. If they notice what you’re doing to look and feel better, at the least they’ll be curious. More likely, they’ll want adopt your new habits.
Teaching children how to be mindful will serve them their entire lives. If you show your kids that exercise and eating well are important, they’ll likely incorporate those beliefs into their own lifestyle. If you have health issues that are related to how you care for yourself, do you want your children to adopt the same issues? You can tell them about how to be healthy but your actions will always speak the loudest.
How about sharing some ways in which we can incorporate mindfulness into our routine?
There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into what and how we eat. The next time you reach for something to eat or drink, pause and take three deep, relaxing breaths before putting anything in your mouth.
- Consider whether you’re hungry, thirsty or feeding some other need. Consider eating half of what you normally eat at each meal. Wait a half hour to see how you feel before eating more.
- When you eat, don’t do anything else. Turn off the TV, computer and phone. Put away the books and magazines. Focus on your food and your body.
- Slow down to notice the look, smell, tastes and textures of your foods.
- Notice how you feel immediately after you eat as well as a couple hours later. Do you have more energy or less? How is that related to what you ate?
Incorporate some of these ideas into your day for three days and notice the difference in how you look and feel. Let me know what your experiences were in the comments. I can’t wait to hear from you!
Thank you, Paige!
Dear Friends, If you would like to learn more about how to incorporate mindfulness into your life to lose weight, have more energy, sleep better, get rid of aches and pains and much more so that you can get out and do all the things you’ve been keeping yourself from, please do check out Paige’s Mindful Body Program. And feel free to ask her any questions you have – right here!
Paige Burkes writes at Simple Mindfulness where she inspires her readers to see the world in a new light, experiencing life mindfully and inviting in more happiness and joy. Download her FREE Mindful Living Guide and learn how you can invite more joy, peace and happiness into your life. Check out her new Mindful Body Program, a comprehensive program that uses mindfulness principles to transform how you think about diet, exercise and health. It shows you how fun it is to be healthy.