Lately, I have been thinking about mindlessness and mindfulness. While mindfulness is a fairly common topic and one which also interests me, we also need to think about mindlessness. We may not even be aware of how often our behavior is on autopilot.
Mike and I were traveling a few days ago, and I had an ‘aha’ moment. I began to think about the number of times that my behavior is mindless, on autopilot. One way in which this occurs is when I am bored. Boredom can certainly set in when one is spending several hours in an airport lounge between flights. There is food all around. Even when we are not hungry, it is tempting to partake of the food. At one point a few days ago in the Jacksonville, FL airport lounge I almost helped myself to the snack mix displayed in lovely and easily accessible jars. Thankfully, I caught myself before doing so. I realized that there was no way I would be able to accurately count the points in the snack mix and that if I ate it, I would not really be satisfied. Plus, I was not even hungry. So, my mind went to this subject of mindlessness.
Mindless eating and drinking. How often we find ourselves eating and drinking things we really do not want, simply because it is available? I am much more conscious of this since I have been on my recent weight loss journey. Since May, I have been writing down everything that goes into my mouth. I have found that this helps me control what I eat. This isn’t hard to do with the WW app. I also weigh myself daily, looking for patterns of weight shifting. It has been wonderful to watch the weight on the scales go down and not up. I am more mindful of my eating and drinking now, and it has made a difference for me.
There is also mindless doing. How often do we waste valuable time doing things that really do not matter simply because we are not focused on what does? I am not referring to relaxing, with no agenda in mind. Relaxing is not wasting time, it is providing our body and mind a respite from doing, so we can refuel and have the energy for doing what matters. I am referring to just going through the motions, not really focused on any endpoint. This can take the form of mindless surfing the internet and mindless watching TV. We all do this occasionally, whether it is via Facebook, Instagram or Netflix. How often we do this best determines how problematic it is. There is an even more serious mindlessness, however.
Perhaps spending time with people who do not add any value to our days or our life is the biggest waste of time of all. This is the most dangerous type of mindlessness. Time is one of our most precious resources, more than money. If we need or want more money and we have more time we can make more money. Once time is lost, it can never be recovered. The only greater resource than time is our health. And it is best to not try to separate the two. Health and time are very inextricably linked.
It is best to spend time with those who add value to our days and our lives. I try to do this as often as I can. While writing this, I am waiting on my 50 plus year best friend Judy to arrive for us to spend some precious time relaxing in Key West. When I realized that Mike would have to leave Key West for a business trip to New York soon after arriving here, it was obvious to me that instead of rescheduling the trip, it would be a great time to spend it relaxing with Judy, catching up on our lives. Key West is more Mike’s place than mine, but the venue does not matter. Judy and I will eat, shop, and sun, reconnecting in this relaxing place, leaving refreshed and renewed.
Mindfulness or Mindlessness, it is our choice. I hope we make the right decisions about this more often than not. If we do, our schedules and our lives will reflect it.