The Power of Mindful Choice


Each and everyday, you have the power to choose.  This can be good news or bad news, depending on the person and the circumstance. Having so many choices each day can sometimes cause overwhelm and anxiety.  However, when we become mindful and aware of 'when, what and how' we choose, our lives, and those around us, can change for the better.

Food, eating and nutrition.
Are you hungry when you eat?  Check in with your body!  Ask yourself some questions: am I eating because I'm bored, angry, sad, happy, etc. or am I really hungry? 

Before you eat, put yourself in the mindset to slow down and savor your food.
Choose the best quality foods, based on your budget; eat as much fresh, natural and whole foods as possible.  Don't deprive yourself either. It's okay to enjoy sweets and indulge once in a while.  Become mindful of moderation and common sense in your eating habits.  Drink more water, as a lot of us are unaware when we are de-hydrated.

Self-Care ~Relaxation, Movement, Joy.
What choices do you make to take care of yourself?  Are you getting enough rest to recharge your batteries?  Each of us have a tipping point, and again, being mindful and respectful of our limits will increase the quality of your life.  When you ignore your danger signals (and we all have them), you risk getting yourself sick, depressed and stressed.  The choice to slow down, disconnect and take time to enjoy and rest is yours. It can be as easy as creating a relaxation strategy before bedtime or carving out time during weekends.  Saying "no" to extra demands is your power of choice! 

The choice to get up and move or exercise is available to us each and every day.  Do you sit for too long at your desk or at home?  Just getting up from the chair to either stretch or walk a bit is healthier than sitting most of the day.  Walking is still the best and most easiest of exercise and is available as a choice no matter what you do.  Our bodies are not meant to sit all day.  Get up, get active and find the right program for yourself.

The quality of our lives is based on those things we choose that give us joy.  When was the last time you were mindful of what makes you happy?  Usually, it is the most simplest of things: enjoying a good book, being in nature, spending time with loved ones, listening to music and countless of other small joys.  Being present, in the moment and mindful, gives us the ability to be grateful and enjoy these simple pleasures on a deeper level.

Family, Friends & Loved Ones
The choices we make when it comes to the people in our lives are crucial for our well-being, as we need connection, caring and a sense of belonging.  Being mindful and respectful of the many people who are in our circle is an ongoing choice.  Are you choosing to spend enough time with your loved ones?  On the other hand, do you have a hard time saying no to family, social or business responsibilities and feel stressed that you are constantly trying to meet expectations?  It is a fine balancing act and requires mindful choices being made than honor your needs and the needs of others. 

Your Attitude & Outlook
Each and every day, you can make the choice to look at things either in a positive or negative manner.  With the sheer number of negative news, events, and everyday aggravations, this may seem impossible.  Be mindful and aware that taking a positive approach will enable you to become more resiliant, healthier and happier.  Research is continually showing us how important it is to take a positive approach and there are ways to start improving your outlook that are easy to incorporate.  One way is to be grateful for what is working in your life, for all the little blessings you have and for those things that are especially meaningful for you.  Just writing down several things you are grateful for each day, on a regular basis, will rewire your brain.  Another way is to be mindful of the beauty around you: take notice and enjoy nature, art, music or something in your surroundings or environment. Finally, one of the best ways to improve your attitude is to laugh or find some humor each day.  Having a sense of humor and a smile ready is not only good for your mental health but good for your soul as well.

Career, Community and Compassion
Becoming more mindful and aware of our dreams and goals can move us into living with purpose.  Are you being authentic and living the life you imagined?  In this very competitive and stressful financial time, a lot of us are just staying above water, hoping to hang on.  Fear can be a big factor in many of our choices, especially as it relates to work and career.  However, becoming aware of those choices and being mindful that we can work towards our dreams no matter what the situation, can lead to positive change over the long run. 
Our choices in how we spend our time and money in the community (local or otherwise) are important as well.  When choosing places to spend money, are you being mindful of who and what you are spending it on?  Are you always looking for a bargain, the lowest price or do you place more importance on value, a good service/product or a personalized approach?
With the constant barrage of sales, bargains and a race to the bottom mentality, it is easy to think of our wallets first and not focus on the impact it has on our local businesses and professional community.  Sometimes, we may feel that we have to make those bargain basement deals due to our budgets.  However, becoming mindful of the power each of us has to support each other in our communities is vital for our collective success.

Finally, we can all improve on being more mindful of being compassionate to others, especially in a culture where a lot of negativity, violence and hatred is being spewed by media, films, music and other venues on a regular basis.  Being civil, respectful and compassionate can elevate our culture, if we strive to become more aware of our words and actions. 

Mindfulness is not just something we do, it is a way of being.  Like most things, it is a work in progress and needs to be practiced on a regular basis.  Take a moment each day to step back from the frenetic rush, take some deep breaths, become mindful of the moment and let your awareness take hold.  If you do this each day, you will become much more mindful of the power of your choices.  Ultimately, it will enable you to live a fuller, happier and healthier life!