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Mindful Monday Tip #13: A Mental Tune-up for Labor Day or Any Day

What if we could give ourselves a mental tune-up on Labor Day (or any day)? Between heading to the pool or firing up the grill, what can we accomplish?  Maybe we can think about something that will give more meaning and enjoyment to our holiday (and everyday) activities.

It’s all about recognizing the difference between mindlessness and mindfulness.   And choosing the healthier path.

4 Characteristics of the Mindless Path 

  • Our behavior becomes automatic.  We act like robots who are unconnected to our actions and experience.       
  • Our attention stays divided and our intention is unclear.  We don’t really focus on what we’re saying or doing.    
  • We react to life without truly giving thought to our intentions.  We’re stuck in a pattern and  can’t really choose our behavior.    
  • We try to escape from or avoid uncomfortable experiences.  Our tools of escape may include things like food, drugs, gambling, or even self-harm.      

4 Characteristics of the Mindful Path

  • We become nonjudgmental observers of our thoughts and behavior.  Unlike robots, we recognize connections between our actions and our experience.  
  • We become able to focus our attention.  As divided attention diminishes, we are able to concentrate on one activity or experience at a time.  
  • We respond to life with thoughtful intention.  Our behavior flows from our personal values, and we think about which actions will be effective. 
  • We become open to experience, even when it’s painful or uncomfortable.   When we observe experience without judgment, we often uncover healthier possibilities.  
On the Mindless Path painful and uncomfortable experiences keep many of us trapped in unhealthy patterns of thoughts and behaviors.  On the Mindful Path we find a way to relate to painful and uncomfortable  experiences, and to move through them to healthier places.

The Labor Day Tune-Up: 

  • On this day, set aside a few minutes to review the difference between the Mindless Path and the Mindful Path.
  • Identify which path best describes your present approach to life.
  • What needs to change for you to walk on the Mindful Path?  Making small changes today could improve your holiday.  Practicing mindful changes daily could improve your life.
If you need support to switch paths, please contact me to learn about counseling in Manassas VA.    

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