Does this seemingly long winter, extremely cold days, business of the holidays, school and extracurricular events have you feeling stressed out and overwhelmed?
With all this talk about new year’s resolutions and goals, one of mine has been to be more mindful in my everyday life. With this, I have struggled with how to begin so I can be more mindful with everyday decision making. I came across the Mindful S. N. A. C. K. Moment and feel this has been a game changer for me when I am trying to make a quick, but mindful decision in everyday life.
Let’s start with S.
The meaning is in the word, right? To stop what you are doing, whether that is mid-step, mid-bite, mid-yell. The act of stop is a way of setting the reboot or restart button. By taking a quick second or a couple minutes to really look at what you’re doing and possibly make a better decision in the process.
Take a look around and notice what is happening. Use your 5 senses, maybe you feel some tightness in your shoulders, butterfly in your stomach (maybe you’re anxious), hear the chaos of kids around you? Most importantly, do you notice the thoughts in your mind? Now the hard part, don’t try to get wrapped up in them, but try to be more aware. No need to judge or change anything, but take note of those thoughts that may have always been there, but are being blinded out with what is going on around you.
Acceptance can be tricky as we spend a lot of time struggling against reality, mentally fighting against traffic, work conflicts, raising children, and vying for everyone’s approval. The reality is, we spend a lot of precious time and energy wishing things were different. Start accepting the fact that you forgot to send an important email, forgot your kids snow pants for daycare, or spilled a gallon of milk on the floor. Instead of spending countless time berating yourself, accept what happened and move on.
This is an under-appreciated skill and it is the ability to get interested in our experience or environment. Curiosity can help manage emotions or gain some clarity in the situation. This doesn’t have to require an hour of time, but a few simple questions should arise. What am I feeling? What am I thinking? What do I need right now? Using this tool will help ground yourself and figure out what or where to go next.
We will notice sometimes that things are unpleasant, boring, or maybe even painful. We are going to be faced with problems we cannot fix. The ability to take these situations and respond to both ourselves and others with kindness will make our lives easier and more pleasant along with getting us back on track more quickly.
So, the next time you are feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, and wondering where to begin take a moment to have a S. N. A. C. K. Maybe try to leave the cookies and chips behind and try a mindful snack instead. Take a minute to stop, notice, accept, curious, kindness to whatever situation is at hand. This tool is a simple way to get back on track and will hopefully make your life more enjoyable, less stressful and more satisfying.