There is a very simple practice that can help you reduce stress, feel happier and more peaceful, boost your immune system, look and feel more beautiful, improve relationships and even help you lose weight. Today on Fox 2 News I talked about the simple practice of mindfulness, which is the practice of being present and living with a moment-to-moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings, the sensations in your body and the environment around you and accepting what is without judgment – observing your life right here and now (vs. letting mind chatter run the show with ruminating on the past or worrying about the future) (click here to see the interview on Fox 2 News).
- One study found that after eight weeks of mindfulness meditation, subjects had improved brain function and immune system function.
- Several studies have shown that mindfulness reduces stress and improves mental health – which makes anyone look and feel more beautiful.
- One study found that couples who went through mindfulness training felt more satisfied with their relationships, closer, more accepting, relaxed and optimistic.
- Research has also shown that being mindful when eating — like paying closer attention to the bodies’ hunger cues and learning to savor food — is more effective in helping people control their weight than any diet.
So how do you cultivate mindfulness? Jon Kabat-Zin, the founder of his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program recommends:
- Breath. Pay close attention to your breathing, especially when you’re feeling intense emotions.
- Senses. Notice—really notice—what you’re sensing in a given moment, the sights, sounds, and smells that ordinarily slip by without reaching your conscious awareness.
- Thoughts and Emotions. Recognize that your thoughts and emotions are fleeting and do not define you – an insight that can free you from negative thought patterns.
- Physical Sensations. Tune into your body’s physical sensations, from the water hitting your skin in the shower to the way your body rests in your office chair.
Tools for Success. Since most of us living in a culture that is anything but mindful, I think it’s very helpful to have some tools to cultivate mindfulness. [Read more…]