Creating “now space” in your mind

by Dr. Ellen Cullman, FLT Columnist

Does every day seem like a marathon? Do your obligations and responsibilities of work, parenting, daily meals, household chores and necessary errands become tiresome, day-to-day hurdles? Then, consider how you fit eating into that lifestyle? Jumping too many hurdles on marathon days can whittle down time to enjoy preparing food and eating with an attentive pause. Yes, the American lifestyle is challenging. What is the answer?

There is not a quick answer. Lifestyle changes do not come in neat little bundles. They grow out of your exasperation with the present and your willingness to rearrange your priorities and learn a new, refreshing way. As busy as your daily comings and goings appear to be, allow me to say there is still something missing. “Huh?” you say, “There is something missing? I can’t possibly fit another detail into my day!”

I am here to say that you can; yet, it does take an honest commitment to trying something new. As a mindful eating coach, I suggest to you one additional, yet simple, commitment — pausing — just pausing. In fact, pausing is your most powerful tool for carving out refreshing new habits. Yes, you need more space in your day and in your mind between your rat race moments. Learning to pause ends the rat race and grows that mindful “now space” inside of you.

Here are your growing instructions:

  • Become curious about where you will find pause-moments in your day. Look for them as a child looks for hidden Easter eggs and you will find them.
  • Just look for moments — not hours — 30 minutes or even 10 minutes. You are looking for anything from 1-5 minutes. Keep it simple and doable.
  • Develop creativity and see refreshing new ways to pause. You could gaze out a window in the hall at work or in your car as you wait to pick up your children after school. Pause just before eating to calm down after your day’s activities. Notice your speed when driving and consciously slow down. The trick is to learn to notice moments needing a pause and do it.
  • Keep your mind consciously in the moment. If you find yourself thinking about the future or the past, gently come back to the moment. If driving, focus on just driving. If walking, pay careful attention to each step. If waiting, pay attention to your breath — in and out, in and out. When eating, notice your momentary intentions about how you want to eat.

Just begin. Aim for about five heart-felt pauses each day. Keep it simple and doable. Let us see what happens with “now space” in your mind!

Call (419-494-7699) or email ( Dr. Cullman with questions about this column, mindful eating, or for information about mindful eating sessions.