Mindfulness is a tool that can help us live "on purpose" rather than feeling like we are at the whim of all that happens to us. With practice, we can use it to observe ourselves without judgement, respond rather than react in challenging situations, and feel more in control of the choices we make in life.

Naturally, these benefits come in quite handy when considering how we might go about creating improvements in our personal health and well-being. Mindfulness can help empower us to move, eat, and drink with conscious awareness. And beyond that, it gives us an opportunity to be gentle with ourselves as we encounter perceived failures and setbacks.

Here are three tips you can use to apply mindfulness to your health goals:

1. Move mindfully: Whether you’re working out or taking a leisurely walk, practice mindfulness while you move. I’m lucky enough to live in San Diego, California, where I frequently have a walking meditation on the beach. I love to open all my senses to feel the air on my skin; to hear the birds, the surf, and the people; and to see the colors, shapes, and sights of the scene. I like to feel my body walking, concentrating on different parts of my feet, legs, and arms, and then switching back to all my senses to take everything into my awareness.

2. Eat and drink mindfully: Mindful eating is another helpful meditation. I love it when I remember to eat mindfully. The food tastes unbelievable and I find I eat much more slowly. When my friend Monica served the most incredible fresh berries, she agreed when I said, “It’s like a crazy party in your mouth.” Drinking your morning coffee or tea can be another great mindfulness activity. If you are feeling the warmth of the mug in your hands, inhaling the aroma, and paying attention to how it tastes when you take your first sip, that is mindfulness in practice. You might want to drink the entire cup like that, savoring each swallow.

3. Practice mindful self-compassion: The path to your health goals isn’t a straight line. It has hills and valleys, and there are times when you may feel frustrated about being off track from your own expectations. This is when it’s great to practice mindful self-compassion. Try saying something to yourself along these lines: “Oh, it’s tough to feel this way. I’ve got your back. You are going to be okay.” Or, “I feel you. It’s tough to feel this way, but you are smart and resilient and worthy of … (love, knowing your own worth, etc.).”

Author's Bio: 

About: Mindfulness expert and author Julie Potiker is an attorney who began her serious study and investigation of mindfulness after graduating from the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of California, San Diego. She went on to become trained to teach Mindful Self-Compassion, and completed the Positive Neuroplasticity Training Professional Course with Rick Hanson. Now, she shares these and other mindfulness techniques with the world through her Mindful Methods for Life trainings and her new book: “Life Falls Apart, but You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm In the Midst of Chaos.” For more information, visit www.MindfulMethodsForLife.com.