Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and aware in the moment. It has become a popular practice with some real benefits. Studies indicate that it can help relieve chronic pain; reduce depression and anxiety; improve attention, and eating and sleeping habits; help with weight management and recovery from substance abuse; and improve coping with chronic diseases.
Less stress response to stressful situations–individuals with more mindfulness skills have a lower stress response to emotional stimuli. It seems that this is due to the way in which the emotional centers in the brain are activated.
Once the skill of mindfulness is learned, it can be applied to any situation: interacting with a challenging co-worker, eating a meal, responding to a rebelling teenage son or daughter, working, and cleaning the house. Mindfulness allows you to pause, and become aware before you react. It can help you to pause at a buffet and consider the types and amounts of foods you put on your plate rather than just reacting to the display of appetizing foods. Even further, it allows you to focus on your eating so that you take small bites, chew well and stop when you feel comfortable—enjoying the tastes and textures in a way that you cannot while on auto-pilot or multi-tasking.
If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness, look for a course through your local community education, wellness center or health center. Learn more about mindful eating here.