Ice cream, Netflix and Mindfulness

When life tests you, I’ll bet the very first thing you do is find a quiet room and meditate, right?

Your cat just knocked over a vase with flowers, the laundry’s stacked up waiting to be folded, you’ve got an angry colleague you have to deal with, you’re going through a family crisis and amidst all of this, you reach for a meditation cushion. 

Wait, that’s not the first thing you think of doing?! 

I’ll let you into a little secret. It’s not the first thing I think of doing either.

When I feel stressed, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t always doing something good for me, like meditating on a cushion or going for a run. Especially if the distance between myself and the fridge is a lot closer than myself and my meditation cushion.

There are days when I’ll happily reach for my dark chocolate and ice cream, get settled on the sofa and binge watch Netflix. Broadchurch is an awesome series I’m watching right now by the way. 

I don’t believe there’s a silver bullet that can completely change our need for things that bring us comfort like ice cream or binge watching TV. We can, over time with awareness, lean into our habits and change our relationship to them.

I’m pretty sure I’m in good company when I say, there’s no such thing as perfect people, only perfect intentions. Everybody needs down time. Everybody needs to have fun. And it helps to get sleep, exercise and manage our stress.

If you haven’t heard of the Healthy Mind Platter by Dr. Daniel Siegel you might want to check it out. Dan explains seven essential activities we need in our lives to be happy, including sleep, exercise, downtime, playtime, focus time, time-in and connecting time.

We don’t have to choose one thing over another. We don’t have to compartmentalize the things we need or want to do in our lives. We can eat ice cream, watch Netflix as well as practice mindfulness.

We can be fully present and aware of the choices we make in each moment without having to change or stop anything.

Let me give you an example.

When we move towards the fridge, we notice that. We can feel the fridge door in our hand as we open it, notice the light inside, feel the cool sensation. We can feel the weight of the food in our hand. Smell it. Notice what it looks like. Eat a little slower. 

When we sit down to watch TV, we can feel the pressure of our seat on the sofa, we can take a conscious breath or two during the show. We can notice the TV screen, feel the weight of the remote. 

We can drop in and be present anytime.

We can reconnect with the wisdom of our body and listen more deeply to our heart and gut and allow them to be a wise guide in our endeavours.

We can bring mindful awareness and curiosity to the choices we make. 

In time we may find some of those choices feel less right for us. 

And it is in these small, consistent acts that we create positive change.

In what ways do you bring comfort to your life? And more importantly, what's your favourite Netflix show right now?! Share in the comments below.

Photo by Amy Treasure on Unsplash