Monthly Archives: September 2010

Reduce your kitchen appliances for more comfort

A few days ago, I was looking at the pile of dishes that accumulated in my kitchen-sink that day. While I was dreading the moment I would have to take care of them, it occurred to me: why do I actually have so many appliances in my kitchen?

So I took a look. Here is roughly what I found:

– 12 large spoons
– 8 smaller spoons
– 15 forks
– 12 knives
– 7 large plates
– 5 small plates
– 7 bowls
– 12 glasses

And that’s even though I only live with my girlfriend.

This is most likely because I wanted to feel ‘safe’ that I always had enough appliances no matter what (or perhaps it is a habit I acquired while living with my parents?). After giving it just a few seconds of thought, though, I realized that the only thing this bunch of appliances was doing is causing me to be more stressed out and have much more work to do when it comes to dish washing (and that’s even though I do have an automatic dish-washer, which still requires some work to load, unload and dry). Instead of washing things as I was done with them, I was in the habit of constantly reaching for a new, clean piece of appliance – after all there were so many of them in the kitchen that I never had to worry. But in the end, that moment where you would have to do the dishes would come, and I would hate it 🙂

I immediately got to work, and reduced the above list to the following:

– 4 large spoons
– 2 smaller spoons
– 3 knives
– 3 large plates
– 1 small plate
– 3 bowls
– 3 glasses

And the rest of the stuff I just hid in a cupboard inside a box, and will only dive into it if I ever have a lot of guests come in and really need the extra appliances. Just make sure they are hidden somewhere where it is not super-easy to access them, otherwise you will continue to use them on a daily basis. Just wrapping them up inside some paper bag and hiding it in a hard-to-reach place will be enough.

This was around 4 days ago, and I _IMMEDIATELY_ saw the results. My sink never has time to get filled up with dirty appliances, since I have to wash what I’ve used in order to use it again. I have more place in my kitchen in general. I find what I’m looking for much easier because the things I’m looking for don’t get mixed up together.

Of course, I’m not saying that you should follow my reduction scheme exactly – we all have different needs. Do consider, however, which of the appliances you really need to have available at hand, and which are simply an extra burden that is causing you more pain than helping.

It has definitely helped me 🙂 my day has just become a little more organized and I feel better in my own home. Life has just gotten a bit happier for me 🙂

Saving time: shut off your computer more often

Today, I have another tip that should also prove useful for those who want to have more free time:

Shut off your computer more often.

I’m starting to find that this is a great way for reducing the time you spend at your computer. Most people nowadays never shut off the computer unless they are going to sleep or leaving their house (and even then, computers often keep running). The idea is that the computer can be constantly ready for us to use any time we think of something we would like to do. And of course, most of the time, when you sit down to check that “one thing”, you end up doing a lot more than you wanted to, get distracted, and end up losing tons of your free time.

I find that simply shutting off the computer is a great way to help prevent this, at least partially. When our computer is turned off, it is much less likely that you will want to turn it on just to check up on one thing. You simply won’t feel like waiting until the operating system and your user settings load, and will opt to ignore it and do something else instead.

This won’t always work, of course. But each time it does, it is quite likely that you have just saved yourself some considerable amount (sometimes even hours!) of time, which you would have lost through internet-related distractions. Of course, you might be leaving your computer on so that you can have some large files downloaded. In this case, go ahead and leave it on; do consider, however, that downloading a lot of files can often also lead to a considerable waste of time – learn why here.

So, from now on, make it a habit: every time you finish using your computer and want to get up to do something else, don’t just shut off the monitor or put your computer into hibernation – shut it off completely. You’ll see that just by following this simple rule, which doesn’t really require any effort or discipline, you will reduce the time you spend at your computer, and ultimately – you’ll have more free time everyday.

Hope it helps, and let me know how it worked for you.

Saving time: have control over what you watch

People are often complaining that they wish the day was longer so that they would have more free time, so it got me thinking : are the days really too short, or do we simply fail to use the time that we have properly? This prompted me to start thinking about ways to save up more time and use the time I have more to my pleasures and enjoyment. Starting this day, I will be writing short articles like this one, in each of them briefly discussing one thing I believe could help achieve this goal.

The first thing that came to my mind is movies/TV series/sit-coms/etc. I’m sure there are tons of people who, upon finding out about an interesting new thing to watch, will download the whole package: if they hear of a new interesting TV series such as Lost or Dexter, they will download the whole first season (or perhaps even all seasons). If they hear of an interesting actor, they will download all the movies with that actor. If they see an interesting movie, they will download all other parts of that movie and sometimes even extra related materials.

What this does, however, is it makes it extremely easy for us to watch a whole lot in one session. We start watching the first episode of a show, for example. When the show is over, we will immediately want to watch the second episode a lot of the times, because we are still full of awe and enjoyment, so we want more of it. Some video players actually automatically start for you the second episode of a show as soon as the first one is over, so you don’t even have a chance to say “no thanks!” 🙂 At this point, we do not notice that this has a destructive effect on us because we are feeling great. This changes though once we realize that we’ve spent the last 5 hours watching a show. With time, we might start feeling that, because of all this, we are failing to do things which we would really like to do. With time I believe this could even lead to lowered self-esteem, but I don’t want to go too far 🙂

All of the above is understandable; after all, we like it, so why not have as much of it as possible? We want to watch it, so you want to watch as much of it as possible. This would make sense if we didn’t have other exciting stuff that we would love to do, but fail to do them because of watching TOO MUCH stuff on our computers. This is where “interesting” starts to turn into “dangerous”.

SOLUTION:

My solution for this is really easy. Simply don’t download so much stuff at once. If you like a new show, download only one episode and watch it. Since you don’t have a second episode ready for immediate watch, and you have to undertake some actions (and wait a bit) before you can watch the second episode, this will give you just enough time to reflect on whether you would prefer to do something else with your time, or if you would really just prefer to watch more. You will have made a conscious decision about this, not dictated by emotions, and you will be better off with it.

That’s the whole idea. You only download that which you actually plan to watch now/tomorrow, and nothing more.

Very easy, right? Please, do try it. Thanks to this, you will not only suddenly realize you have more free time and you are doing and accomplishing more, but you also get to enjoy your favorite show(s) for much, much longer, since you don’t finish watching all episodes in just a few weeks 😉

Have fun

TV, mass media, role-models and their influence

INTRODUCTION

We live in times where computers and television have become such an important part of our everyday lives, that most of us probably cannot imagine going without them for over a month. We seem to think that without them, we don’t have much interesting things to do with our free time (which is usually false, but that’s beside the point).

An unfortunate result of this is that we are constantly being subjected to various types of role-models. TV actors (and their characters), famous musicians, fashion models, billboards in the streets, even characters in TV series. We are constantly exposed to them, and the underlying message is: “those people are happy”. There are many people who will spend a large portion of their day simply reading about those people, fantasizing about THEIR lives, most likely to get a glimpse of what it would be like to be in their skin. We observe, analyze and compare ourselves to them, trying to see how we measure up to those considered happy (and I stress the word ‘considered’ here J).

THE INFLUENCE

Each of us, at some point in their lives, is most definitely influenced by one, or more, of these characters. We then, subconsciously, make choices in our lives that are likely to lead us to become as close to our role-model as possible. The problem with this is that, as with everything else, what makes a person happy is very much subjective, and varies from person to person. Once we let others decide for us what should make us happy, and actually start believing it, I consider it a problem. This is something I believe everyone should try to become aware of. Ask yourself: “is my image of happiness really mine, or did I get it from somewhere else? Have the things I done lately actually made me happier like I thought they would, or did they simply just “happen” and I’m more happy simply with the fact that I achieved it, but in and by itself it didn’t make me happier?”

That’s a lot of questions, I know, but take a minute with them.

Of course, everyone is influenced to some degree by our surroundings. Friends, parents, people we see everyday, co-workers, teachers. It also makes sense that we are also influenced by the people and characters we see on TV / commercials / on our computers. What you need to remember, however, is that those characters and persons are NOT REAL. But through the mere exposure and repetition mechanism, we start to believe in them, like them, and ultimately – want to become similar to them. Consider these two examples:

  1. You start watching a new TV series, it’s your first episode. You don’t really like the characters that much, but as they are exposed to us much, over time we start liking them either way. We develop compassion and a liking for them, we start perceiving them as humans (when they are anything but that). This is the reason why it is quite easy for us to like murderers, serial killers and general negative characters when watching TV. They’ve been exposed long enough to us.
  2. You are talking with your friend, asking him if he really did see something happen or not. And he answers: “Yes I did.” You don’t believe him, so you ask: “really? You are not making this up?” “No, I swear, I didn’t!” you are still not convinced and say: “Yeah right…” and he goes again “No really, I DID see it”. If this cycle is repeated a few times, we will actually start believing him. Even though nothing actually changed from the moment that we first didn’t believe him to the point that we started to do so. He simply repeated the same thing over and over a few times, until it simply started getting real. Whether he is telling the truth or not is besides the point here, I just wanted to illustrate this phenomenon of repetition.

Naturally, since we are so over-exposed to TV/computers/commercials/magazines, we are at a point where it has simply become part of our reality. We believe in its existence and therefore participate in it, strive for it, work by its rules – almost like if it was a real part of our lives.

HOW IT CAN BE DANGEROUS

But ask yourself this: how does all of this stuff that you see related to what you actually DO see on every day life? How does it relate to your school, your work, your friends, your family, your girlfriend(s) or boyfriend(s)? This – real life – is where we should be getting our inspiration from. Where was the last time you actually met someone, a real living person from flesh and bone, that you admired and wanted to become like them? Most likely the answer is “I don’t remember”. Or perhaps you will say a name of some famous person that you hear about a lot or read about a lot. But that is not a real person, is it? It is just a projection of that person, designed in such a way to attract attention. Be very, VERY careful how seriously you take all of these characters. Come to think of it, this could actually make for a great drama story. The plot would go like this:

A guy bought an interesting book, and he loved the characters and story so much that he went out for an adventure through unknown lands looking for mysterious writer who he have hard possessed some magical powers. The writer has the ability to make any person a character in a book. He (the writer) would actually add extra chapters to the story of any book, and immerse the person into that book as a character of those few extra chapters. The person, of course, seizes to exist in reality, and can only be read about in these few chapters of a book.

Well, maybe not the story of a best seller, lol. BUT, I’m pretty sure that if I would read a book like that, and if at the end of it our hero really did become just a part of a few chapters in a book, I would feel really sorry for him. And yet, this is what seems to be going on around us all the time – tons of us, trying to become a part of a huge story, forgetting our everyday lives and simply getting absorbed into The Book.

And yes, I do realize that for a huge lot of us, the reality created by the mass medias must seem at this point so real, that changing it or leaving it entirely behind must seem extremely difficult. It is possible, though. Just like it became reality to us (when a few decades back no one probably cared about this stuff, at least in Europe), we can unlearn this behavior by getting more and more exposure to real, everyday life, and less and less exposure to The Book.

THINGS I CAN DO ABOUT IT

Now, don’t take me wrong. I’m not some weird guy who is against all sorts of advancements and who would simply prefer to remain in the stone age. By all means, do watch TV and read magazines, BUT:

  • Let them inspire you, don’t let them guide you.
  • Let them interest you, don’t let them absorb you.
  • Love them, but don’t devote yourself to them.
  • Hate them, but don’t hate because of them.
  • Judge them, but don’t let them judge you.

You get my point, I hope. Treat everything you see in the mass-media as a “cool story”, but nothing more. Don’t dwell too much around it and don’t try to identify yourself with it. The more you think about it and try to work it all out, the more it will become a part of who you are and what you want to be. Instead, devote your whole attention to your every day life, your friends, family, hobbies, having sex, whatever it is – but make sure that it is something REAL and something that you can actually at least touch. And if you are thinking that everyday life is boring, think again! You are only thinking that because it is a habit. 15 years ago there were no computers, yet no one complained they were bored? 100 years ago there were no TV’s, and I bet people weren’t being bored out of their skulls? I’m sure the purpose of a man’s existance wasn’t to invent TV and mass media, so I’m pretty sure you will find tons of interesting stuff to do around 😉 the human can adapt incredibly to any circumstances, all it needs is a bit of time. It might seem hard at first, since when we are used to something we tend to believe it is THE only way to live. But break the routine for a few weeks and suddenly new doors will open up to you. And in a lot of cases, the new doors will surprise you and turn out to be hiding much more interesting (to you) things than what you were doing before. Just give it a try.

CONCLUSION

Stay in reality for as long as possible, don’t wander too often. And when you do wander, make sure it is just for fun, and not as a life-defining activity. Because, otherwise, we are no different from the 5-year-old children being told stories about santa clause and actually believing in them. Those kids are cute of course, but the reason we allow them to believe in these stories is that we know that “oh, in a few years, they will know the truth and stop believing in it”. In the case of adults, we don’t really stop believing the stories in The Book. And that’s dangerous.

About respect and accepting peoples’ flaws

INTRODUCTION

From an early childhood, most of us are taught to respect other people and to respect whatever situation they might be in. I must say, this is extremely valuable advice, and one which I find is quite hard to really stick to. And by that, I don’t mean that most people lack respect, not at all. What I mean is, even though most people try to show respect and be nice to others, they don’t necessarily mean it. And this is actually what matters – whether you mean it or not. I know this sounds superficial, so let me explain. I introduce to you: the taxi driver.

THE TAXI DRIVER

Around a year ago, I was taking the taxi to work. The driver was quite talkative, and he told me this short story about a friend of his that made me entirely change the way I look at people. He told me that his 35-year-old friend had suffered an accident around 10 years earlier, one which left him disabled – his hip-joint was terribly damaged and he basically had extremely difficulty walking (he had to take extremely small and slow steps, like older people do). His profession had always been working on building constructions as an electrical and mechanic, but due to his disability he was forced to quit, since he could barely walk to his place of work, let alone climb up any steps or machinery, or walk a distance of a few dozen feet to get some tools. Soon he was forced to rely solely on government pensions.

So he went to the pensions department (it is called so here in Poland), where he had to prove that he was disabled enough to get a pension. When he got to the building, he realized that he had to climb 2 floors up (there was no elevator) to get to where he had to go. He couldn’t do it by himself and he thought it would be awkward to ask strangers for help, so he called a few of his friends (one of them the taxi driver telling me the story) to help him up.

When they got upstairs, it turned out that he would have to wait for a few hours in line, so his friends had to leave and go back to work. They promised they would come back later for him to help him down.

When his turn had finally come and he got into the appropriate office, he told the attendant what he was there for. He told him that he would like to receive a pension because he is not qualified for any job at the moment. Here is what he heard in return: “Unfortunately you are not going to be eligible for a pension, since you were able to climb up 2 floors by yourself, you cannot be that disabled”. It didn’t help when he told them that his friends had to help him climb up. His application for a pension was immediately rejected.

I should also note, that here in Poland, you cannot really get your way in court in cases like these. Most court-cases of this nature simply take many years to reach a conclusion, and most of the time the government entity unfortunately wins.

Two years later, this guy was homeless, living in back-alleys and looking for food in trash containers.

WHY IS RESPECT IMPORTANT

Now, a person can think whatever they want about the taxi driver’s story. One might believe it, one might say that this person could have done more to help his cause. In the end, however, what it taught me was this: you can never fully grasp someone’s really situation until you have talked to them and learned about their life, and how they actually got to the point where they are.

The above story aside, though, there is one major reason why learning the art of respect is so important in my opinion (other than the obvious reason of making more friends, which is very valuable in itself):

When we disrespect others based on their life situation, when we think negatively of a person based on what he dresses like, what he does, what looks like, we are artificially inflating our ego.

We are, in the back of our heads, implanting the idea, that we are so superior, so incredibly strong when compared to other people, that nothing like that will ever face us. We are simply lacking enough data to make proper judgement, so we simply think those people inferior to us and inflate our ego.

And what is the result? The result is that, when we are finally faced with a situation that we thought would never reach us, our ego simply doesn’t allow us to believe this. You go into denial, you try to avoid the thought, fight it, and it pretty much makes you life extremely messy. You are most likely afraid to ask for help because of the ego, and the problem could very much grow extraordinarily out of proportion.  And this problem, since it’s so big now, will lead to more problems, and the domino effect kicks in. Soon, a person finds themselves with a load of other problems, all the time not being able to acknowledge that something is actually wrong with them. Be very careful for this!

LEARNING RESPECT

Learning respect, like any other thing, takes practice. And, as with everything else, it might seem hard at first, but give it a few weeks and you will see considerable improvement. Here is something to get you stated:

  • Whenever you see someone you usually think is inferior to you (for example someone poor or overweight or anything else), take a moment to think: what might have gotten him to this place? Why am I not in that place? I’m much thinner than this overweight person, but what if I didn’t watch tv or use the internet at all – what I also care of I was overweight or not? What if I didn’t come across person X, who resulted in me finding that ideal job, what I also have all the money I have now? Could it be that this person’s parents’ suffered an accident when he was young and he didn’t get a chance to develop as I did?  Basically, any question will do – as long as it overrides your automatic reaction of disrespect or contempt.
  • Realize that life is probably one of the biggest gambles out there. An extreme great deal depends on sheer luck, such as: who your parents were, what were your genes, who you met in your life, what you did during a specific period, what your role models in childhood were, what movies you watched as a teenager, what kind of school you went to, etc. When you can grasp all this, you’ll see a change in your approach.
  • When you see someone you find yourself enticed to disrespect, think about your own “shortcomings” that might be considered outrageous by other people. I’m sure that each of us has at least a few traits that are disliked by millions of people. Realize that this is all subjective, you will then start accepting flaws in people and give everyone a chance to show their interesting side – which is what you should always be aiming for.
  • Get yourself busy. It is when we start examining and constantly comparing ourselves to other people that we tend to feel disrespect for them. If you are busy with stuff and activities that interest you, you simply won’t have the time to do that – after all, why should you care what someone else is wearing today and what their face looks like when you have an awesome book to read, or a great meeting to look-up to?
  • Do this small exercise: think of 3 or 4 people whom you have avoided so far based on some initial impression they left on you. It could be someone from your school, work place, a friend of a friend – anyone actually. Then, make it a goal for yourself to actually get to know those people, despite what you might be feeling right now towards them. It is likely that they have noticed your dislike for them and so they might also be wary of you, so don’t get discouraged to easily in the beginning. You will be surprised how likeable they might turn out to be, and this will definitely change your way of thinking for the better.
  • Your ultimate goal is going to be to simply avoid judging people based on their appearance and surface. So whenever you find yourself unable to stop judging someone, simply try to avoid this thought. Get busy with something else, let your mind wander. It is much better than the self-destructive pattern that a person might get their selves into.

CONCLUSION

Respecting others is not just about being polite. It is about being able to keep a grasp on reality as it is, of not slipping into some imaginary world that doesn’t exist, since this will make us extremely vulnerable to anything that might prove our perception of reality false. Now, I’m not saying not to care about what people look like. Obviously, we all like everyone to be easy on the eye and attractive. Just make sure not to judge others based on your own rules and give everyone the benefit of the doubt – you’ll be much better off with it 🙂

Facing stress and depression

Disclaimer: this article is not intended to be a medical consultation or anything like that. If you have severe depression, you should probably see a doctor (although this article might help you too, but shouldn’t be considered a substitute for a proper treatment).

When you have to face a certain day, or period of your life, where you just feel like “nothing makes sense”, “why am I doing all this” and “I’m just going to stay at my house and weep”, realize this:

It is you yourself that have to make sense of the world. The world itself is neither good or bad, neither happy or sad, neither easy or hard, neither fair nor unfair – the world simply IS. You, however, with your subjective interpretation of your surroundings, define how this word looks to you and how you perceive it.

So whenever you are feeling down, stop waiting until the world itself suddenly unveils it’s meaning and positive sides to you, because most likely it ain’t going to happen and you will unnecessarily delay your suffering. You have to seize life by its horns and tackle it. You have to get out there (even if you don’t feel like it) and start doing things that will give the world around you meaning. Simply sitting in front of the TV or computer won’t do it – you have to experience LIFE, with its smells, tastes, visuals, social opportunities.

When you are feeling down, probably the last thing on your mind is to go out and meet some friends. You might actually prefer to stay at home alone, hoping that confronting your negative feelings and thoughts will help you to resolve the issue. But this is usually not the case – there is really nothing to resolve, this whole feeling of depression or stress is quite likely a result of your bad daily habits. If you are “on the run” almost every day of the year, always trying to achieve new goals, your body and mind have probably gone into overload; you have gotten used to having to be constantly alert so much, that your body simply doesn’t recognize any other type of feeling. So even when you rest, you find yourself unable to rest and get this uncomfortable feeling that something is wrong, even though you cannot put your finger on it. It has become a HABIT for you to always be on the run, so you basically lose the capacity to really rest and enjoy yourself. And in order to regain that capacity, you simply have to slow down (see my other articles for a more in-depth discussion on the subject).

So, what should you actually do when you find yourself in a negative state of mind? Here are a few suggestions that helped me personally a lot:

  • Meet up with your friends. So simple, and yet it can make an enormous difference. You might not feel like going out to them, but trust me when I say that this is going to be very helpful for you to regain your balance and harmony. Make sure they are positive friends, not the type that constantly wine and suck everyone around them into their negative reality – avoid these people.
  • Meet up with your family. I find there is nothing more relaxing and comforting than having a chat with your parents or siblings (hopefully you have a good relationship with them). Somehow, all the problems of the world get lost when you are around them. Make sure, however, that you are not constantly distracted when you are with them – don’t constantly peep at your cellphone, don’t go sit down at the computer every now and then. Just spent the time with the people! I know, it might be hard at first, and your habit of constantly using the cellphone/computer might get the better of you, but once you do it a few times in a row, with every next time it will become easier and you will actually find yourself enjoying it much more than before.
  • Get busy: watch a movie or your favorite series (I don’t usually advocate watching movies as a positive way for spending time, which I will discuss in more detail in an upcoming article, but in case you are depressed or stressed out, it might be a good solution). Make sure it is an easy-on-the-mind movie, which is entertaining and yet doesn’t get you thinking about the sense of life and other philosophical issues.
  • Whenever you find yourself analyzing life and its meaning, thinking about “whether this feeling will ever go away”, or any other type of philosophical issue, realize that this type of thinking is exactly what will make you feel worse and which will deepen your frustration. Avoid these thoughts as quickly as possible and distract yourself with any other activity which doesn’t get you thinking these destructive thoughts. You will find that each time you ignore a thought, it will come back in a few minutes. But you have to ignore it again, and again, and again, while constantly being aware that soon enough, those thoughts will start coming back less frequently and they will last shorter and in general be much less annoying. So stay sharp, and keep yourself busy with whatever you really enjoy.
  • Stay active in your hobbies. Whether it’s painting, playing music, reading. Anything that you enjoy doing – don’t stop it just because you are feeling down.
  • Have sex. It’s the best natural happy-trigger a human has. You will feel much better after it for at least a few hours.
  • Remember to always try to keep your life as it was before you started feeling worse. Think to yourself: “how was my life a year or two back from now? Was I much happier than? What was it that I used to do at that time that I used to feel that way?” Once you answer these questions, do whatever it takes, and as quickly as it takes, to restore your daily habits to what they were at that time. And again – you might not feel like doing it at all, but trust me: you WILL appreciate it and it WILL quickly make you feel better. Just get started.
  • Try eating healthy. Doing something nice and good for your body will help you break a cycle of bad habits that might have become ingrained in you. This could be a great start for changing your life and for coming out of any sort of self-destructive mechanism that might have started in your life lately.
  • Most of all, avoid any type of drugs. Alcohol is ok as long as it doesn’t make you feel worse. But completely avoid marijuana: if you must smoke, make sure you only do it when you are in a good mood, but NEVER do it to make yourself feel better in a bad mood. It will backfire and make you feel much, much worse in the long run, since your mind will get used to the drug as it’s source of happiness, and your mind will actually stop producing happiness hormones. So as soon as you stop smoking for a longer period, it’s like that your depression/stress levels will rise even higher than they were before. Trust me when I say this – marijuana is MUCH more dangerous to your mind (not body) than you might think. Again: if you have to smoke, make sure it’s only once or twice a month, and only when you are already feeling good.

That’s a lot of tips up there. The rule of thumb is this: do whatever used to make you feel happy before you started feeling worse. You have to force it in the beginning, but it will get much easier and much more comfortable quite quickly. Also, work on reducing your stress level on a daily basis (that’s exactly what this website is all about, actually).

Of course, no cure is ever as good as prevention, so please, try to slow down – it will be worth it.

Food for thought

Ever notice how when eating their favorite meals and foods, most people rush from one bite to the next one, almost like in a race?

I believe this is also a result of our modern approach to life, which tells you that you always need to be moving forward and planning for the future. This is yet another thing which might seem “trivial” at first sight, but when a lot of these trivial issues get together, it is exactly what determines how happy and fulfilled you actually feel.

Notice how huge are the portions at most fad food joints, yet we can usually go through the whole meal in literally 5 minutes. As soon as one bite enters our mouths, we are no longer aware of it. We are already thinking of the NEXT bite, and then the NEXT bite, and then.. you get the picture 😉 Why do we do that, though? What’s the difference between the next bite, and the one we have in our mouth right now?

It’s all just a mentality thing. We have been taught to do all our everyday things quickly. Who cares about food, showering, putting clothes on, walking to the bus stop – those are irrelevant issues that need to be handled quickly, so you can get to the REAL important stuff – achieving goals… This sort of mindset is widely spread through western society, and it only results in more and more everyday stress. So not only has this rush leaked into our sex lives, but it has also leaked into our food, making for yet another thing that we are unable to enjoy each day.

There are a lot of ways to fight this, though. Here are some tips you should  try:

  • Devote a block of time each day to your meals. Do whatever it takes to make sure that you can eat your meals quietly and in comfort. The reason we instinctively rush through meals is that we are always on the run, we want to get to the next task as quickly as possible. If you devote 15 minutes to lunch, for example, you can simply relax during that period. You will stop thinking about the upcoming task and will simply be able to enjoy the food you are taking in. Most of us think we don’t have time for food, but if you just take a second to think it through, you’ll see there is tons of opportunities for healthy and mindful food consumption. Realize that it will be to you of great benefits, making you less stressed out and also more productive in whatever you do each day.
  • If possible, try to always eat away from the TV and your computer. Don’t make eating just a mandatory task that you have to be done with as quickly as possible; eating is one of your primary tasks as a human being, give it the attention it deserves. You might find it hard at first to do this, but trust me – if you do it consistently for a few days, you’ll see a great change.
  • Be mindful. When you chew on your food, keep your eyes (and hand/fork/spoon etc.) away from your plate and away from the rest of the food. Focus on what you are chewing. Try to notice what it tastes like, what it feels like. Don’t rush and swallow it too quickly – take your time with it. Make sure that before you swallow your food, it has been nicely dissolved by your saliva. If you can’t find the time in the morning to eat at peace because you are in a hurry to work or school, do yourself a favor and wake up 5 minutes earlier than usual. Those few minutes won’t do your sleep any extra good, but they might just be enough to allow you to have a peaceful and quite morning, and I guarantee you that this will make a huge impact on the rest of the day and this morning calmness will radiate towards everything else you do that day.
  • While we’re on the subject – always try to have your breakfast before going out to work or school. You will have more energy, you’ll feel more relaxed, your mind will be fueled so you will be much more resistant to stressful factors and much more productive in everything you do.

Try those steps for yourself, give your food just a bit of attention, and you will be rewarded. You will have a much healthier diet because of it; since you now eat slowly and manfully, you will not have the need to consume a lot of food to make up for the lack of a sense of fulfilment (which resulted before from eating too fast). You will require less food to be satisfied, and you will reduce your daily stress levels by yet another notch.

Just some food for thought.