Guys, I used to hate grocery shopping. I would do ALL I could to get in and out in 5 minutes. And I never wanted to go shopping more than once a week. And if I forgot something, tough luck, I would just wait till next week to get it.
I don’t know why I hated it so much, I mean, I LOVE food. For some reason, I just had grocery shopping tagged as some huge burden… I know… woe is me! #firstworldproblems
Then, we moved. I had a whole new grocery store (and area) to explore. It was actually still the same brand of store, just in a different location, closer to our new (to us) house.
Walking in the first time, I was so impressed with the look of it. It just seemed “fancy.” So, that first trip in, I went up and down every aisle. Looked at a ton of food I normally don’t look at. I didn’t buy more or less than I normally would (I have a pretty boring/standard shopping list, I’m sure you are not surprised).
I actually liked reading new labels and walking up and down the aisles. So, now grocery shopping has really become a leisure activity for me. I use it to calm my mind, cool down after workouts (I now go to the store multiple times per week) and practice being mindful. Oh – and practice patience and not judging people.
As I walk the aisles, I say hi to people (never would have done that before, I would have just plowed through everyone). I give people time to search for their items. I just wait patiently. I’m in no rush now, I’m not mindlessly running through on autopilot.
I spend a lot of time in the “healthy” aisle and look at the foods and see if they are really worth it. I take my time. I stroll the cuts of meat and see if there is anything that we should try, or that we haven’t had in a while. I see how the produce is looking on that day.
I think the biggest thing is that I can enjoy the moment and I can get a 20-30 minute leisure walk in.
But the point is really not about grocery shopping. It is about being present where you are, being aware of your doing, not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is around us. AKA, being mindful.
Now let me tell you. This still isn’t easy for me. I still am practicing this. I do catch myself huffing if I am in line behind someone writing a check lololol, but I am able now to catch myself and rethink that last thought.
So, while the grocery store might not be the place for you to practice being mindful, here are some ways you can incorporate it into your life and practice it daily.
1) Meditation. This is the obvious one. And it is HARD. To sit still and try not to think or plan or review is hard. But, ANYONE CAN DO IT! There are no barriers to starting this. You can use an app, or just sit in silence, or chant a mantra. Whatever you want. But, again, it takes practice. You will have a million thoughts running through your mind. It is OK! It happens to everyone, so don’t give up. I’ve been meditating for years and I still have good days and bad days. Some days totally in the zone, somedays, totally not.
2) Breathe. Easier than meditation. ? Just step away from what you are doing and take a few deep breaths. Just focus on your breath, in, out, in, out. You can even count them. Actually, this one is good even if mindfulness isn’t the goal. Whenever you are in a tough situation, have a mental block, or feel overwhelmed. Take a few minutes to step away and breathe. It works!
3) Walk Outside. I love a good slow walk. It clears the mind and reduces stress. Take a walk and look around you. Love what you see, listen to the sounds of the animals and even the cars. Enjoy it. Be grateful you can be outside. When thoughts pop into your head, just let them in and let them out. Don’t force them either way. Just let them flow in and then get back to listening to the birds.
Again, none of this stuff is easy, and it will take practice. But you can do it. Being mindful opens up new pathways in the brain, it sparks innovation, it reduces stress, and the best part is that it is already in you. You just have to recognize it and build it up.