Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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One-Liner Wednesday: Perspectives on Multi-tasking, Mindfulness and Focus

“Totally Focused on Every Task All the Time.”

Really? That’s what it says on a pin that showed up on my table. I have no idea where it came from or where it is now.  It looks like one of the many items of memorabilia that belonged to my parents. But it’s a railroad pin, and my dad wasn’t with the railroad. Maybe it appealed to his USMC gunny side. 

The slogan  struck me as absurd. My husband David understood it as a safety directive. But from a wellness perspective, it sounds awfully unhealthy to me. I’ve read that there really is no such thing as multitasking, just shifting attention very, very fast from one task to another.

One of the components of mindfulness is doing one thing at a time. Ka at Fiesta Estrellas has an excellent five minute mindfulness meditation that includes the suggestion that all things in awareness are of equal importance while meditating. Please see her helpful comments below. I’m still processing…. and practicing…..

What do you think? Could being totally focused on every task all the time ever be a good thing?

Here’s an alternative perspective: 

What we focus on gets bigger. Choose wisely. 

 

For lots of wise or witty one-liners, visit our host, Linda Hill at:

One-Liner Wednesday – Is time ever wasted? | (lindaghill.com)


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Placebo Effect (or More Fiber?)

granola-787997_960_720.jpg from pixabay

I’ve had annoying, but relatively mild, pain on the right side of my abdomen for the past four days. The four days part is unusual, because I’m used to my body working through things faster than that.

So, yesterday, I finally scheduled an appointment at my doctor’s office for this afternoon. Wouldn’t you know that I’m starting to feel better now. Does that ever happen to you? You schedule a doctor appointment, then  get better before the appointment. Maybe it’s the fiber I’ve added to my diet. But this NPR story, about the how the mind influences the body, makes me wonder if there is some kind of placebo effect going on.

The article is full of interesting explanations about the placebo effect, how distraction can help us cope with pain, and the power of mindfulness meditation. I knew a lot of this stuff, but it helps to be reminded. I’ve been telling my clients, “What we practice, we get better at.” So, I really like the example, at the end of the article, about how practicing the violin for 8 hours a day is going to make a person better at playing the violin. (I’m trying not to think about potential neck pain. Quick, move on to something else! Like beautiful violin music!)

If we’ve practiced worrying enough to get good at worrying, it’s going to take some times to  strengthen the hopefulness (or mindfulness) pathways in the brain, so that we get better at hopefulness, positive thinking and enjoying the present moment.

I’m definitely feeling better – not 100%, but better. I’ll probably keep my appointment, because I’ve blocked out the time, and I like my PA. I bet she tells me to eat more fiber.

Now, back to that beautiful violin music:


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Having Fun with Mindful Eating

Being here now, observing the present moment, doing one thing at a time, without judgement, effectively. These are all components of mindfulness, something we could all use more of, especially during this busy season of holidays which we so easily forget are also holy days.

Why is it, that around this time of year, so many people take it upon themselves to bring all kinds of alluring desserts to share at work? I know they have good intentions, and I love the holidays, but a quick nibble here and a mindless indulgence there can add up to unpleasant consequences like: “Why am I so moody/tired lately? Could it be all that sugar I’ve been eating?” and “Where did those 5 extra pounds come from?”

going for the cookies

Quick! before my mind notices!

Slowing down and eating mindfully can enhance the experience of eating.  Mindful eating improves our digestion and can help us maintain a healthy weight. It allows us to nourish and respect our bodies. Using mindfulness, I would not just grab that chocolate chip cookie and stuff it into my mouth without thinking. If I was being mindful, I would not be eating in front of the TV or at the  computer as I too often do at work.

Using mindfulness, I would start by observing. I would observe the  cookie and all it’s friends: the gingerbread man, the rice crispy treats and those little white balls covered with powdered sugar with nuts inside (if it has nuts, it’s healthy right?) I might observe my mouth watering slightly with detachment (Hmmm. That’s an interesting sensation.) If I don’t observe this sensation for too long, if I don’t let it turn into drooling, I can choose not to act on the urge to grab and gobble, and instead go on serenely about my business. Maybe get a cup of herbal tea, or a carrot stick…. which I  would eat mindfully of course.

But when we’re going to have a treat, whether it’s a cookie or a green bean, lets make it count. Let’s make it a memorable experience. Here are my steps for Mindful Eating using all of your senses:

1. Use your sense of sight to observe the colors and shapes of your well  chosen treat. Take some time to study it.  With fruits and vegetables, you might even discover something new. Jon Kabat-Zinn does this trick with a peeled banana where he shows how it’s  made up of three distinct segments lengthwise. Just try it!

banana

Normal view of a banana

Banana segments attached

Mindfulness allows you to play with your food.

2. Smell your food. It could be a strong or subtle smell. If your nose likes what it smells, enjoy the aroma. If not, you might want to stop here and not proceed to step 3 with this particular food item. Our sense of smell is designed to protect us from things we really shouldn’t eat.

3. If you like the smell, put a small morsel at a time in your mouth. Will it melt or is chewing required? (If it’s a carrot, there’s no need to wonder, but it can be interesting to let a bit of sugar cookie or chocolate melt in your mouth.)

4. Feel the texture or textures. Is it smooth or rough or a combination?

5.  Savor the tastes.  Is it sweet, salty, tart, tangy……?

6. Does the process of eating create any sound, like crunching or even slurping?

Do all the above slowly so you can to make your treat last. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m partially suspending the nonjudgmental aspect of mindfulness in favor of  healthy fun.  It’s ok to judge the flavor or texture of your food in an appreciative way, but don’t judge yourself,  for eating too fast for example. Just observe and you might slow down. And if you do judge, just observe the judging without additional judging about the judging.

Now, you might not want to try your first attempt at mindful eating at a party. You might not want to say, I can’t talk right now, because I’m going to eat this cookie mindfully, unless you have the kind of friends who would appreciate that. It’s best to practice mindful eating alone at first or with one good friend who’s willing to humor you. If you’re at a party, or with someone who doesn’t know you well, you might just go with eating semi-mindfully or having mindful moments. Either way, you’re likely to eat less and enjoy it more.

Breakfast Oatmeal w fruit

We like a little oatmeal with our fruit.