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MindFirst / Mindfulness  / Mindful vs. Mindless Behaviors
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Mindful vs. Mindless Behaviors

To be or not to be… mindful. We have choices every day about how we face issues concerning our health and overall well-being.

If we’re mindful, we learn to take steps that contribute positively to our happiness and wellness. If we’re mindless, we can make choices that are detrimental.

On our journey to mindfulness we should see positive patterns and habits emerging. But it’s always helpful to have a map along the way.

So here’s a guide to help you understand mindful vs. mindless behaviors:

Mindful Behaviors Mindless Behaviors
Snacking or eating because you feel hungry and you know your body needs fuel. Snacking or eating because you feel bored, stressed, or because food is available.
Knowing when hunger cues are because of your body’s need for food and when they are because of emotions. Not being able to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger.
Having a small, satisfying bite of a less healthy snack, like a few chips, one brownie, or a small bowl of ice cream. Overeating unhealthy foods without being aware of, or caring about, amounts.
Accepting mistakes and moving forward. Obsessing over small mistakes and feeling stressed or like giving up.
Consciously making decisions about what foods to eat and what foods to avoid or eat more sparingly. Eating foods that are convenient, such as items in the break room or that are easily available in drive-through restaurants.
Enjoying and experiencing foods as you prepare and eat them, through their tastes, textures, and smells. Rushing through eating and paying more attention to just finishing a meal than to the experience.
Being fully present and in the moment while eating. Eating while distracted because you are working,  driving, or watching TV.
Paying attention to cues that you feel satisfied and full as you eat, and following these cues to stop eating. Continuing to eat past sensations of fullness, either because you are distracted or don’t know how to identify satiety.
Setting attainable goals and celebrating each victory. Feeling as though you will never be perfect.
Resisting food cravings by addressing the issues that cause them, like boredom, fatigue, and stress. Giving into cravings and continuing to feel bored, fatigued, and stressed.
Eating foods that are giving you energy. Eating foods that are emotionally comforting.
Reflecting on how you feel after eating foods, and continuing to eat the foods that give you energy and avoiding foods that make you sluggish. Seeking the immediate gratification of eating and not connecting later feelings of increased stress or fatigue to food choices.
Using activities such as meditation, taking a walk, and slow breathing to feel less stressed. Using food to feel less stressed.
Taking time every day to feel focused through meditation. Going through your day without taking a break for yourself.
Embracing the willpower and strategies to form new habits for overall health and wellness. Making up excuses for unhealthy eating, not exercising, and not focusing on mental well-being.
Becoming more attentive of your thoughts and emotions. Lacking reflection of emotional highs and lows.
Quieting a racing mind. Feeling easily overwhelmed by thoughts.
Experiencing your emotions without letting them build and become overwhelming. Becoming easily worked up and overly emotional, with no way to calm down.
Finding time for gratitude, acceptance, and forgiveness in everyday situations. Harboring grudges and feelings of denial.


So Let’s Recap:

Mindful behaviors are emotionally calming and involve an awareness and reflection of our mental and physical states.

Mindless behaviors, on the other hand, don’t alleviate stress or cravings, and we find ourselves easily being reactive and feeling overwhelmed.

As each moment passes, try to embrace it and experience it in a mindful way.

Once you can make mindful behaviors a habit, you’ll be on your way to a happier, healthier, more balanced you.

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