Summer is the perfect time to practice Mindfulness Activities. Research on Happiness informs us that the more we focus on what we are doing each moment, the happier we are.
Sunshine of course improves our mood. Not having to think about how many layers to put on before leaving the house gives us a few more minutes every day to enjoy ourselves. Of course, each season can bring up other things as well, and summer can bring up body image issues. How many commercials and ads can one see about getting into “summer shape” or your “bikini body” and not compare ourselves to the idealized images we wish we had. So how to avoid dropping into that trap and enjoy the moment?
The easiest mindfulness activity we often do but could do more often is to go outside and look up at the sky. There’s so much to see there. Clouds moving really stimulates our imagination and the slow movements are calming and centering. Going to a water source and watching the movements in the water or the birds or a forested area or backyard and watching the movements of the leaves in the wind can be mindful as well. I think of a magnificent “Serenity Garden” of someone I love, and it instantly brings up the peace and love I feel there. So by creating or practicing these kinds of Mindfulness activities on a regular basis, you can re-create them by just thinking about them when you need to. Powerful and healing stuff.
Enjoying this Moment was the theme of my yoga class yesterday, which was perfect for me, as on Wednesdays I often try to go from yoga to Zumba at another location afterwards. I always arrive late to Zumba and it’s crowded and I hate being late anywhere. It kind of confuses my mind in some ways as you can never go late to a yoga class, it would disturb everyone else to walk in late, but Zumba late is no problem. It makes me feel conscious of that distinction, and I find the contrast and how that confuses me funny. On Saturday, both my favorite Zumba and Yoga in two different places means I have to choose one of the other each week. I could leave Zumba early to get to yoga, but can’t bring myself to do so. On other Wednesdays, sometimes the idea of arriving late to Zumba messes with my head so much I don’t go. For the last few weeks, I couldn’t get myself to go because of this. Yet, how funny is it that yesterday I decided it was fine to go late and got there on time? How often are our brains the things keeping us from doing what we want to do?
Yesterday something else amazing happened to me as well. The reason I took up Zumba at all is the amount of calories it burns. I have been watching my intake for about 9 months now using My Fitness Pal which is a great Ap. It also makes me uncomfortable every day because I can rarely maintain to the amount of calories it restricts me to, and of course, as a result, my weight loss has been very very slow, but I’m ok with that. But yesterday, I suddenly lost a pound and a half. After no loss for about 3 months. So today, I was a little afraid to get on the scale. Since I am usually using magical thinking to just hope really hard to lose weight, how did it finally happen? Is it real? I was a little afraid to look today. It just doesn’t seem possible after trying for so long. Yet, voila, it was actually still gone, and this was a huge milestone for me. It feels unreal. I certainly don’t see it anywhere on my body unless I really try, but the scale says it’s real. You know what I’m going to do today? I’m going to enjoy this moment.