When we think of mindfulness I think there is often this image that comes to mind of a Buddhist Monk meditating and reaching some higher sense of awareness. And as Aubrey Marcus says in Own the Day, Own Your Life “meditation is an extension of mindfulness,” mindfulness comes in many other forms. There is a strong connection between being physically healthy and mindfulness. When we think of major athletes or performers, and they are asked about their mental and physical routines, there is always a mindfulness aspect to what they do that contributes to their success. From super restrictive diets to intense workout regimens, they are in-tune and aware of their bodies. They practice mindfulness every day of what they put into their bodies, so they can be aware of what they can get out from their bodies.
Unlike those superstars, I failed body-mindfulness this week, specifically yesterday and today. All week I have been trying to be aware of what I put into my body, and how I feel when I do this. Am I mindfully eating because I am hungry, and my body needs nourishment? Or am I eating food off my kids plates that they didn’t finish because I’m bored? Let’s face it I’m probably just thirsty and my body confuses hunger/boredom with dehydration. This week I have noticed and been aware of when I am eating what I have planned to eat versus when I snack for no reason. I have also noticed the emotional and mental aspects of when I mindfully eat, and the guilt and shame I internally experience when I catch myself mindlessly eating. Even through this though, I still count the small victories of catching myself being unaware, and returning to a sense of awareness, because mindfulness takes practice. These instances are not where the failure occurred.
Failure occurred during a lovely dinner party where I prepared a fresh, healthy meal, which of course in our home was accompanied with wine. Sitting around the table, we were laughing and eating and joking, and drinking. I struggle to maintain awareness during these types of social situations. Generally speaking, I am perfectly capable of not drinking or only having one glass. However, in social situations, I struggle. I mindlessly pour another glass and another glass, and before I know it I am having a great time, that I know will not feel great the next day. In one small dinner, not only did I wreck my mindfulness in that moment, but also the next day.
Today I woke up with a sense of shame; internal remorse because the day would go exactly as I expected it would, following an evening where I had one too many alcoholic beverages. Instead of waking up early to read and exercise before the kids woke up, I slept in. In my head, I tried to rationalize that I was just being present in the moment and enjoying snuggles with the girls, but in reality I was tired, because alcohol interrupts sleep cycles. And this threw off my eating habits for the day; instead of intermittent fasting, I woke up and had a handful of the cheerios I was making for the girls. Throughout the day, despite my best efforts of trying to get back on track and replenish mineral-loss caused from the dehydration from excessive alcohol consumption, I just never physically got to the point where I want to be. The effects of mindlessly consuming more wine than necessary created a negative ripple effect through my entire day.
This is something I have to work on. This is something I have to be cognizant of; One too many glasses of something that is perfectly fine in moderation creates a day in which I am fighting to stay mindful and fighting to try to reach my goals. Goals which would be easier if I was feeling better physically and mentally. Although this is a personal struggle, and in this example, wine is the catalyst, I think this is something that everyone can relate to in one way or another. One action creates a ripple effect that you may not be aware of until you are in the throws of it. Maybe it’s starting your day off with something sweet, a doughnut per say; The subsequent spike and drop in blood sugar and lack of protein after consumption, leaves you hangry an hour later, craving more sugar, and working against any healthy eating habits you are trying to implement. One action sets an entire chain of events into motion; positive or negative.
So tomorrow I will start my day off right. I will wake up early, I will practice my gratitude journal and meditation exercise. I will go to the gym and eat healthy. I will be aware of what I put into my body and its effect of my physical and mental health. I will be mindful that it is a new day, with new possibilities and new chances to work to be the person I want to be.