It's likely that you've heard the phrase, "Be the best version of you." This is good advice. Recently, I've been using a new phrase with my clients. Instead, of the "best" version, I encourage them to be the "most mindful" version of themselves. The word "best" can apply some internal pressure and adds an element of judgment. Mindful, by contrast, encourages action and a way of being. Here are five important aspects that can help you to be the most mindful version of yourself!
1. Eat Mindfully: By slowing down, savoring each bite and eating more consciously, you can improve your health, feel good about your body and lose/manage weight without fad dieting. Eating mindfully isn't easy in a world filled with comfort foods and desserts. Start by eating with your non-dominate hand, which research indicates can slow down you down by 30 percent. Your Motto: Pace, don't race!
2. Communicate Mindfully: Do you ever wish you could take back the last few words you just uttered? We all do from time-to-time. Communicate mindfully by taking a "mindful pause" before you speak. Take your emotional pulse before having an important conversation and a few deep, mindful breaths to cool down and center. Your Motto: Respond, Don't React.
3. Work Mindfully: Work stress can often lead to worrying about the future. A mindful approach is not dwelling on the past or the future, but living fully in this moment. When feeling stressed, bring your mind back to the present by focusing on what is happening in the room -- what do you see, smell, hear, and feel. Your Motto: I can't control the future, I can only make mindful decisions in this moment.
4. Relate Mindfully: Listening and spending a lot of time with your loved ones is not easy. If you are busy, that's OK. It's not the amount of time you spend with your kids, friends or family, it's the mindful quality. Put down your phone, look in their eyes, stay present mentally and in-the-moment when they talk to you. Be compassionate! Your Motto: When I listen, just listen.
5. Move Mindfully: You don't have to love exercise. Just begin by tuning into your body. Feel your feet against the floor or your back against the chair. Do a few simple stretches (shrug your shoulders and then drop them). This gets you reconnected with your body. It's particularly good for thinkers who spend a lot of time in their head! Your Motto: I am mentally and physically present in my body.
Try out these five steps to being a more mindful version of yourself! The result: a healthier, happier, calmer you!
To learn more about mindful eating, take Dr. Albers' free EATQ quiz. It will determine how you make food decisions and give you personalized feedback. Or, hear Dr. Albers talk about one mindful eating tip you can do today.