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May 23, 2016

Mindful Mondays: Silencing your inner critic

Wellness Mindful Mondays
05232016_Mindful_Mondays Photo courtesy/Saxby's

Forward-thinking companies like local coffee chain Saxbys offer bi-weekly meditation sessions for managers.

Each week, on Mindful Mondays, Christie shares three tips toward a healthier lifestyle. She proposes something healthy to think about, something healthy to eat, and something healthy to do. Give these tips a try to improve your health, wellness and quality of life!

• • •

Think

MINDFUL THOUGHT: Practice silencing your inner critic

Inward reflection can be one of the most beneficial behaviors when practiced as a healthy self-improvement technique. The problem is that, many times, our own self-evaluations can do more harm than good because we allow our “inner critic” to take over in a negative way. The inner critic is the internal voice that causes you to “beat yourself up,” damages your self-image, and deflates your self-worth. These types of adverse self-assessments can also lead to self-loathing and more importantly, more self-destructive behavior. A good rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t let someone else talk to you that way, don’t talk to yourself that way.

Because in most cases this is a negative behavior that has been practiced for years, the inner critic cannot be silenced overnight. Know that it will take time to lessen the influence and deflect these detrimental thought patterns. This week, simply noticing how you self-assess is the first step to quieting this internal chaos. How do you treat yourself? When you find your inner critic taking over, think about re-framing the critique to be constructive. Come from a place of kindness and compassion for yourself, because the first step to living in vibrant health is truly caring and putting value on yourself.

Taste

MINDFUL EATING: Is this food worthy of me?

Mindfulness, at its core, is the skill of deep observation although is not at all judgmental. In fact, the building blocks of mindfulness are presencing and curiosity, allowing yourself to be in the moment with a completely open mind. When applied to eating, mindfulness as a tool can be especially helpful. No matter what you are eating this week, take pause for a few moments to think before you begin. Be thankful for what you are about to consume and consider, where your food came from. Who labored to get it to you? How is the quality? Is this food worthy of you? With a mind on treating your body with compassion, you may be less likely to consume foods that could be harmful to your health.

Try

MINDFUL ACTIVITY: Loving-Kindness Meditation

This week’s principles in mindful eating were first outlined in Dr. Ruth Wolever’s "The Mindful Diet." This book was transformative for me and highly influenced my perspective on health and how to shift my mindset and gain control, coming from a place of kindness and compassion rather than anxiety and fear. In keeping with our theme of treating yourself with kindness, take 10 minutes and listen to a podcast on Wolever’s Loving-Kindness Meditation.

If you think you don’t have time to be mindful, know that taking this time to reflect has big benefits, especially in the workplace like increased productivity, boosted morale and decreased absenteeism. Forward-thinking companies are catching on, too, like local coffee chain Saxbys (@Saxbys), which now offers bi-weekly meditation sessions for managers in its new Philadelphia headquarters.

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