Did you read last month’s post – “The Very First Thing that You Can do to Start Feeling Better?” If not, take a few minutes to do so! You can find it on the blog, right here at www.dinahdowell.com. If you did, then you are all ready to move on!
What’s next, you ask? Well this is it – Mindfulness.
“Mindfulness” has many different definitions, sources and nuances. In fact, it seems that mindfulness is a whole new field these days. And it has a lot to offer. However, Do Well “Mindfulness” simply means to be aware of your actions and their possible implications on your health.
It doesn’t mean that you beat yourself up over every choice you make about what to put into your body, what you put on your body or how you do or don’t move your body. But it does mean that you get into the habit of being fully aware of what each of those choices might mean in terms of your health and wellness.
Too often in this day and age, we mindlessly eat or pop pills or choose the energy drink. We are often in such a hurry, that the very choices that determine our health and wellbeing are made without a second thought. We go about our days in almost a state of denial in terms of the choices we actually have when it comes to what we eat, or how we move or what we use to clean our homes. We have talked ourselves into believing that we just don’t have enough time to make better choices.
I know that is exactly how I operated before I got sick. I actually drank more than 32 ounces of soda a day when my kids were little and we were homeschooling. I never thought twice about it. It was my preferred source of caffeine and energy to get me through those long days of child rearing with three young energetic kids. I often didn’t really choose breakfast or lunch for myself. I just ate whatever they demanded and also ate their leftovers. I ate standing up at the counter while playing short order cook, never sitting to enjoy my food or even notice what I was eating. We ran through the drive thru almost once a day when we were out running errands. Those kids were always hungry and there was always a drive thru nearby! How convenient! I cleaned up our messes constantly – with bleach, or some other toxic chemical product advertised on TV. It never occurred to me that the products I was using to keep our house clean and healthy could actually be contributing to illness and allergies. I gave my kids vitamins at least! But guess what? I now realize that those same cute little kid vitamins in the TV character shapes had chemical sweeteners, color additives and preservatives. Our house had city water full of fluoride and chlorine (you could even smell it!), our lawn was green with pesticide and fertilizer that we all walked on barefoot, I slathered on beauty products daily that included parabens, I ate out of cans and drank out of plastic bottles that included endocrine disrupters. I took Advil when I had a headache and Pepto-Bismol when I had a stomach ache, which to be honest was frequently. But, I never thought about any of it, not for a second. I got up, ran a 100 mph a day, ate and drank when I could, cleaned, sometimes showered, and crashed at night.
Once I was diagnosed with a life changing chronic illness, I started to think about my choices. How did I get here? Why am I sick? For starters, I didn’t drink alcohol and I didn’t smoke. I had never done drugs. I was active all day. The big lifestyle factors seemed to all be in my favor.
But, the small daily choices were not.
And added up over time, day in and day out – those choices made a big difference in my health and wellbeing. And they can make a big difference in yours as well. Being mindful of your choices can be a big step in the right direction.
Practicing Do Well Mindfulness means that you make a mental note when you’re eating – is this is a good choice for health or is this food choice not health promoting? You make a mental note when you are using products on your body – is this a choice full of chemicals and toxins or a choice that promotes health? You make a mental note when you decide to move or not move –is this choice healthy movement or healthy rest for my body or not? Stop there. Don’t move on to the judgment phase. Don’t worry about what you should or could of done. Don’t feel guilty for the choices you made. Just simply start the process of being mindful of each and every choice.
This is a great time to start a wellness journey journal.
Write down your choices throughout the day. Journal about those choices. Were they made out of habit? Does that habit serve you well? Could you change it? Is each choice going to promote health and wellness? Why? Or why not? Or maybe you aren’t sure. Write about your uncertainty. Is that choice something you would like to learn more about? Each night, take a look back at your day – no judging – just mindfully review your day.
As you move forward in your wellness journey, you will learn a lot about the proper choices, what is best for healing, why it is best and how to make healthy habits changes that stick.
For now, simply be Do Well mindful.