Q: I came here to retire about six years ago, and although I have always enjoyed evening cocktails, I found that once down here it was easy to start my cocktail hour a little earlier each day. What do mindful practices have to say about that?
A: The late-morning or midday cocktail hour becomes a struggle for many people who move down here. Some say it is the “permanent vacation” feeling retirees get that makes it seem OK. From a mindful perspective, it is not about “judging” whether the cocktail hour is right or wrong, but rather about looking at how it is affecting your life.
Mindful living practices revolve around bringing awareness to the present moment; the platform here would be to ask yourself how your habit affects your awareness or active presence in the moment. Does your habit create difficulties in other areas of your life, such as work, relationship or health? Any kind of intoxicating habit, whether drinking, smoking, overeating or even binge shopping, is often a pathway to numb out an uncomfortable feeling – or at least that may be how it got started. Something about being present in the moment may be uncomfortable, whether it’s pain or just plain boredom. If this is the case, it may be useful to pay attention to what is going on.
A recent study found that people who are future-oriented make more positive health-related decisions in the present moment because they look to conserve their physical health. From this perspective of present-moment focus, you may also ask yourself what the long-term health risks may be and how they might affect your quality of life.
Natalie Garvey D., M.Psych., is a California native and an eight-year resident of Costa Rica. Recognized by the Costa Rican Professional Psychologists Association (4496), she dedicates her professional time to accompanying others on their path of self-discovery and healing. Send your questions to [email protected].