Busy? Overwhelmed? Wish you could discover a few extra minutes every hour?
For many people, time and energy are more valuable than money. Where do you spend it? Where do you squander it? More importantly, where could you invest it for a greater return?
Productivity coaches often have their clients do a "time study" to see where their time really goes. Here's my twist. In addition to tracking your activities, it's helpful to notice when your attention drifts away from what you're doing to something else. That is mindfulness.
Try it. Make four columns on a piece of paper with these headings: "What I'm Doing," "Start Time," "Stop Time," "Thoughts." Simply notice what you do throughout the day. When your thoughts wander take a second to jot down what you were thinking about.
You're probably thinking, "I don't have time for that!" Exactly! However, awareness is the first step toward change.
Thought for Food
Many people are surprised to discover how much time and energy they spend thinking about food, eating, weight, or dieting. Notice how much time you spend:
Silently and steadily, you squander your valuable time and energy on something that should be natural and effortless -- fueling and nourishing your body so you can live your life. And where has it gotten you?
You have a choice: Reclaim your rightful ownership of your time and energy or continue to waste it thinking about food.
Here are five strategies that when practiced consistently, free you up to live the vibrant life you crave.
1. STOP! Whenever you catch yourself thinking or talking about food, eating, dieting, or weight, say STOP out loud (or at least loud in your head). Unless you're physically hungry, don't fritter away your valuable time worrying about food.
2. Redirect your attention. Trust your body to let you know when you actually need food so you can focus your attention on other enjoyable, more productive activities.
3. Let go of guilt. When you stop obsessing about everything you eat, you'll discover an untapped well of time and energy. Amazingly, when you stop restricting, depriving, and punishing yourself, you'll naturally begin to seek balance, variety, and moderation in your diet. Although it seems counterintuitive, a participant in our Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating, Vibrant Living Retreat expressed it like this: "I had been seeking a sane way of dealing with the food and I believe this retreat marks a turning point in my life."
4. Eat mindfully. The best time to think about eating is when you're eating. If you love food so much, act like it! Turn off the TV, sit at the table, notice the aromas, textures, and flavors, and pay attention to your hunger and fullness signals so you'll feel great when you're finished.
5. Invest wisely. Look back at your time study. What's missing from your day? Could you be trying to fill that gap with food -- or distracting yourself by focusing on your weight instead?
You're in charge of where you invest your most valuable resources. Nourish your body, mind, heart, and spirit for a more balanced, fulfilling, and vibrant life.
For more by Michelle May, M.D., click here.
For more on mindfulness, click here.
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