A woman opening her arms toward the sun

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness has been found to be a key element in happiness because when we are present, focused on just this moment, we experience a sense of peace and calm, no matter what is happening around us.

The most recent research into the health benefits of Mindfulness meditation confirms that meditation and mindfulness training can cause neuro-plastic changes in the brain’s gray matter. Sara Lazar, Ph.D., the study’s senior author, said this in a press release: “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day.”

While Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism, most religions include some type of prayer or meditation technique that helps shift thoughts away from our usual preoccupations toward an appreciation of the peace available in each moment and a larger perspective on life.

Professor emeritus Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, helped bring the practice of mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine and demonstrated that practicing mindfulness can improve both physical and psychological symptoms as well as create positive changes in attitudes and behaviors.

How Can Mindfulness Help You?

Mindfulness improves well being:

  • Increasing your capacity for mindfulness supports many attitudes that contribute to a satisfied life.
  • Being mindful makes it easier to savor the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events.
  • By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.
A person sitting on a cliff above a river looking off into the distance

Mindfulness Improves Physical Health

If greater well-being isn’t enough of an incentive, scientists have discovered the benefits of mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in a number of ways. Mindfulness can:

  • Help relieve stress
  • Treat heart disease
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce chronic pain
  • Improve sleep
  • Alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties
  • Mindfulness improves mental health
  • Treat depression
  • Treat substance abuse
  • Help with couples’ conflicts
  • Treat anxiety disorders
  • Help obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Treat eating disorders

Some experts believe that mindfulness works, in part, by helping people accept their experiences—including painful emotions—rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance.

It’s also become common for mindfulness meditation to be combined with psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy. This development makes good sense, since both meditation, EFT and cognitive behavioral therapy share the common goal of helping people gain perspective on irrational, maladaptive, and self-defeating thoughts.

A woman with her hair blowing in the wind at sunset

Mindfulness for Weight Release

It should come as no surprise that living a Mindful life—and the increased awareness of our thoughts and feelings that being Mindful creates—could help us change our relationship with food. Given that so much of our experience of food has been, for many of us, unconscious, Mindfulness gives us an opportunity to discover what it means to truly savor not only each bite, but each and every moment that surrounds our experience of food.

In truth, achieving your weight release goals has more to do with becoming more Mindful and asking yourself these four questions:

  • Why am I eating?
  • What am I eating?
  • How am I eating?
  • When am I eating?

Honestly answering these questions when you’re headed to the fridge, the freezer or the cabinet, will go a long way toward not only giving you the power to reach your weight release goals, but discovering the feelings or thoughts you might be trying to avoid. Becoming greater than our thoughts and feelings; realizing that since we are the witness of them we are at choice, is one of the greatest gifts Mindfulness practice has to offer.

To participate in my next 8-week Mindfulness for Weight Release online series, simply fill out my contact form! I’ll be sure to let you know when the next series will begin! I truly look forward to assisting you in achieving your new, healthier, happier self!