Published on February 3rd, 2012 | by Lynn Fang0
If you’re used to a consumer lifestyle, going green can be challenging at first. There’s a host of new habits to pick up and new skills to learn, like crafting, cooking, and gardening. It’s also often about restraint – going without, cutting back on plastic, reducing waste. It asks that you learn about our problems, pushing you to engage with the darkness of the world. It’s noble, and it feels good to do good for yourself and the environment, but it can get challenging and depressing.
How can you be more conscious of your actions and take care of your happiness at the same time?
What is mindfulness? Psychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
Cultivating the ability to pay close attention on purpose and without judgment can be challenging for those who haven’t considered it. But there are small ways to infuse your life with more mindfulness.
The more mindful you become, the more effortless it is to practice living green. It frees you to make better decisions for yourself. Here are a few simple ways to get you started.
Before eating, send gratitude to the nature, farmers, workers, and cooks who provided your meal. When eating, savor every bite. What does it taste like and feel like? Really indulge your senses.
When walking, pay attention to yourself and your surroundings. What’s around you? How do you feel in this particular moment? Don’t place judgment on anything, but simply observe and be aware. Every corner of the world changes every moment of every day. Whether it’s sunny, raining, snowy, windy, or wet, the world around you is ever changing and ever evolving.
When you take home food from a restaurant in plastic and styrofoam trays, consider where they came from and where they’ll go. Consider this for everything you use.
When cooking, indulge in the colorful food, the aromatic spices, and the process of transforming raw veggies and grains into a delicious cooked meal.
One of the best ways to begin cultivating deeper mindfulness is through meditation. The basic premise of meditation is relate differently to your passing thoughts and emotions. Instead of seeing them as the truth of who you are, see them as simply that – passing thoughts and emotions. Be grateful for their presence, but let them float away so your mind can return to a relaxed and centered state.
The easiest way to begin meditating is to sit still in a quiet, comfortable room. Begin to breathe deeply, focusing your attention on where your breath moves. When thoughts come in, be aware of them, and float them away.
Practicing mindfulness can be challenging if you’re used to a busy life schedule. But with a little bit of effort, you can find pockets of time to be more attentive, be still, and see yourself in the world more fully. So the next time you pick up the car keys on auto-pilot, you can take note and choose differently – maybe you’ll walk or bike instead.
[Photo from Shutterstock]