As those of you who follow my work know, I am a huge advocate of creating white space in our lives, if even moments of it. I believe it’s the space in between one thought and another, or one activity and the next that gives us room to be deliberate and intentional about our lives.
This week’s word is mindfulness and this very essential ingredient in living an extraordinary life is dependent upon you creating space in your life for reflection. Simply put, mindfulness is the act of pausing to become present in the moment, to become conscious of what is happening in and around you. It’s a state of awareness of your feelings, thoughts and experiences.
Mindfulness is a precursor to change because if you aren’t aware of what’s happening and why it’s happening, it’s very difficult to make desired shifts in your life.
A great example of this is a client who hired me to help her lose weight. She felt she needed a structured plan and accountability to reach her goal. Like many people, she felt her extra weight was caused by too many calories and not enough exercise. It’s certainly true that eating too much, or not being active enough will cause you to weigh more than you’d like. But only approaching weight loss from this perspective will perhaps result in losing a few pounds in the short-term, but if you want to keep your weight off forever, it requires a tremendous amount of mindfulness to understand why you are overweight in the first place.
Throughout the months I worked with her, I asked her to pause each day to reflect on what triggered her to both overeat and to choose bad foods. I also asked her to become mindful about her thoughts, beliefs and attitudes about herself and her relationship to food. The results were very interesting. Besides the obvious things, like stress and just eating too much of something yummy, we also discovered a huge correlation between her feeling of being disempowered financially in her marriage and her use of food to compensate for that lack of being in control.
So, she agreed to let me guide her in a different direction. We put our discussion of food and weight loss on hold and began to put together a different plan, one that put her on track to own her finances and become more equal in the financial part of her marriage. She became mindful of how she frequently turned her power over in ways that made her anxious and uncomfortable, not only with food and finances, but in many areas of her life. We discovered some powerful themes. Through our work, her discussions with her husband and the shift she made in how she saw herself, she became a different person as it related to her finances, personal responsibility and relationship to money.
Well into her work in this area of her life, she started to become aware that the foods she was drawn to had started to shift. She became mindful that when she claimed power in other areas of her life, she naturally gravitated toward doing the same with food. And for the first time in her life, she got to the bottom of what was below her food issues. Jumping months down the road, she successfully lost the weight she had hired me to lose and realized unexpected results along the way.
And so it often is the case in my work with people, what appears to be the problem on the surface is often the symptom of something deeper.
Are there changes you want to make in your life? Not sure how? Let me help you. I bring insight and strategy to my clients that help them get unstuck and have breakthroughs. Want more? Sign up for a complimentary coaching session.
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