How´ s going your lockdown? Do you feel exhausted, tired or you see opportunities in this situation? Yes, we live in a difficult time. But the positive thing is that you are not alone. Can you imagine that the whole world feels you, the whole world stays at home like you and the whole world worries for you?
Well, I am very sorry that more than 2 million people were infected and 143 thousand have died, but now we know the price of kindness and progress. I guess you saw videos on how people support each other, applause to doctors, say “thank you” to police, bus drivers and shop workers. So many people help elderlies by shopping instead of them, support their everyday life and bring joy and gratitude. Start-ups generate new cool business ideas, move forward and build totally new future for all of us.
Another side of this situation are people who struggle with mental problems, who start to hate their annoying kids, miss sport, and binge everything they see at home. That´s sad as people were not prepared for remote works or remote studies for kids. But the good news is, that there are so many activities and techniques that help you to kick the virus’s ass and lead you to the next level. And here is the most popular one- Mindfulness!
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice on a daily basis. Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful.
Researces showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain.
The hype around mindfulness meditation is real. People who added it into their lives often report heightened levels of happiness, patience, acceptance, and compassion, as well as lower levels of stress, anger, and sadness. There’s plenty of research, too: Separate studies conducted by Northeastern University found that 3 weeks of usage Headspace app increased compassion by 23% and reduced aggression by 57%. What’s more, another study with students found that 10 days of Headspace increased positivity and well-being.
Mindfulness vs Meditation
Many people find confusing the difference between Mindfulness and Meditation. Mindfulness is not a temporary state of mind that is present during meditation and then vanishes for the rest of the day. Rather, mindfulness is a way of living in which we are able to step back and be in the present moment in any situation.
The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.
Mindfulness doesn’t eliminate stress or other difficulties. We are becoming aware of unpleasant thoughts and emotions that arise because of challenging situations and we have more choice in how to handle them at the moment. There is a better chance of reacting calmly when faced with stress or challenges. Of course, practicing mindfulness does not mean we never get angry, it just allows us to be more thoughtful in how we want to respond.
Meditation is exploring. It’s not a fixed destination. Your head doesn’t become vacuumed free of thought, utterly undistracted. It’s a special place where each and every moment is momentous. When we meditate we venture into the workings of our minds: our sensations (air blowing on our skin or a harsh smell wafting into the room), our emotions (love this, hate that, crave this, loathe that) and thoughts (wouldn’t it be weird to see an elephant playing a trumpet).
Meditation is the training ground for learning mindfulness. At first, we meditate to become familiar with the here and now for a limited period of time. Over time, however, regularly practicing mindfulness helps us develop the ability to be present throughout the day, every day.
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is about using mindfulness to reach a state of full attention to your experiences, cravings, and physical cues when eating. It is very good tool to get rid of eating disorders, anxiety, depression and unnecessary stress
Fundamentally, mindful eating involves:
- eating slowly and without distraction
- listening to physical hunger cues and eating only until you’re full
- distinguishing between true hunger and non-hunger triggers for eating
- engaging your senses by noticing colors, smells, sounds, textures, and flavors
- learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food
- eating to maintain overall health and well-being
- noticing the effects food has on your feelings and figure
- appreciating your food
These things allow you to replace automatic thoughts and reactions with more conscious, healthier responses.
Why You Should Try Mindful Eating
Today’s fast-changing society seduces people with an abundance of food choices. On top of that, distractions have shifted attention away from the actual act of eating toward televisions, computers, and smartphones. Eating has become a mindless act, often done quickly. This can be problematic, since it takes your brain up to 20 minutes to realize you’re full.
Mindful eating helps you distinguish between emotional and physical hunger.
If you eat too fast, the fullness signal may not arrive until you have already eaten too much. This is very common in binge eating. By eating mindfully, you restore your attention and slow down, making eating an intentional act instead of an automatic one. What’s more, by increasing your recognition of physical hunger and fullness cues, you are able to distinguish between emotional and true, physical hunger.
You also increase your awareness of triggers that make you want to eat, even though you’re not necessarily hungry. By knowing your triggers, you can create a space between them and your response, giving you the time and freedom to choose how to react.
Steps To Start Eat Mindfully
The ideal mindful-eating food choices are similar to the Mediterranean diet—centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils—the technique can be applied to a cheeseburger and fries. By paying attention to the food you eat, you may indulge in these types of foods less often. In essence, mindful eating means being fully attentive to your food—as you buy, prepare, serve, and consume it. However, adopting the practice may take more than a few adjustments.
Steps To Start Your Mindful Eating Journey
- Begin with your shopping list. Consider the health value of every item you add to your list and stick to it to avoid impulse buying when you’re shopping. Fill most of your cart in the produce section and avoid the center aisles—which are heavy with processed foods—and the chips and candy at the check-out counter.
- Come to the table with an appetite— but not when ravenously hungry. If you skip meals, you may be so eager to get anything in your stomach that your first priority is filling the void instead of enjoying your food.
- Start with a small portion. It may be helpful to limit the size of your plate.
- Appreciate your food. Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to think about everything and everyone it took to bring the meal to your table. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the companions you’re enjoying it with.
- Bring all your senses to the meal. When you’re cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to color, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them. As you chew your food, try identifying all the ingredients, especially seasonings.
To begin with, it’s a good idea to pick one meal per day to focus on these points.
- Take small bites. It’s easier to taste food completely when your mouth isn’t full. Put down your utensil between bites.
- Chew thoroughly. Chew well until you can taste the essence of the food. You may be surprised at all the flavors that are released.
- Eat slowly. If you follow the advice above, you won’t bolt your food down. Devote at least five minutes to mindful eating before you chat with your tablemates.
Reasons to Give Mindfulness a Chance
Researches show that Mindfulness helps reduce not only anxiety and stress levels, but has many positive effects on our body. Here are some of them.
Lower Glucose Levels
In a study at Brown University, researchers found that those with higher scores for mindfulness were significantly more likely than people with lower scores to have healthy glucose levels. Almost 400 volunteers participated in psychological and physiological tests like glucose tests and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). Those with high MAAS scores of 6 or 7 were 35 percent more likely to have healthy glucose levels under 100 milligrams per deciliter than people with low MAAS scores below 4. You can thank mindfulness’s emphasis on the present for that since it’s been shown to help reduce negative reactions to emotional moments.
Better Eating Habits
We’ve all mindlessly snacked. Sometimes a bite of Chocolate turns into a bar of Chocolate before we’ve even noticed. But practicing mindfulness—making thoughtful food choices and recognizing when we are hungry, satisfied or full—could improve glucose levels and heart health better than behavioral weight-loss programs alone.
Less Anxiety And Stress
Researches discovered that anxiety disorder patients had sharply reduced stress hormone and inflammatory responses to a stressful situation after taking a mindfulness meditation course. The researchers believe mindfulness helps improve resilience to stress by forcing you to focus on the present instead of the traumatizing past or worrisome future.
More Focus At Work
It’s no surprise then that forward-thinking companies like Google use mindfulness training to improve workplace results: mindfulness improves focus, the ability to manage stress and how employees work together. Even the British Parliament is getting in on the action and recently launched a mindfulness initiative called “Mindful Nation UK” that leverages mindfulness to improve national health and productivity.
And that’s not all, folks. A new study of almost 400 participants in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine has found a significant association between self-reported everyday mindfulness and better cardiovascular health. Researchers believe that people who are attuned to their of-the-moment feelings are better at handling cravings that lead to cardiovascular risk factors like obesity, smoking, and blood pressure.
Time to optimize your study game. According to researchers , just two weeks of mindfulness training can improve your reading comprehension, working memory capacity, and ability to focus. Almost 50 undergraduate students were split up into attending two different classes: mindfulness and nutrition.
They were tested for verbal reasoning from the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), working memory capacity (WMC), and mind-wandering a week before the classes started and a week after they ended. Unlike the nutrition group, the mindfulness group significantly improved on both the verbal GRE test and the working memory capacity test, and mind-wandered less during testing.
How’s this for a pain-killer alternative? In a randomized, double-blinded study of 78 healthy volunteers, researchers showed that pain was reduced by over twenty percent after meditation—even after one group was injected with naloxone, which blocks the pain-reducing effects of opioids. The groups who didn’t meditate reported increased pain levels in the experiment.
Mindfulness is available to us in every moment, whether through meditations and body scans, or mindful moment practices like taking time to pause and breathe when the phone rings instead of rushing to answer it. If you have bad relationship with food, it is a good time to give mindful eating a shot. Try to realize, why and what you are going to eat. Prepare food with love and feel this love yourself. You don´t need to binge to feel good, satisfied and happy. The less we are stressing, the happier our body and mind are.
To get help and start with new practices check Best Meditation and Mindfulness apps 2020 here