Mindfulness trains you to become aware of what is going on inside your body and mind and how your inner world of thoughts and feelings is reacting to the events that are taking place in the world around you. When you develop this kind of mindful awareness, you become more aware of inner disturbances when they arise. You are therefore able to take steps to maintain a positive outlook in times of trouble. This can shift your attention from depressing or angry thoughts to more positive ones with greater ease. It can also improve your decision-making, providing the ability to make better choices and live a healthier lifestyle.
With mindfulness training, you learn to stop labeling the events in your life as bad, irritating, or boring and so on. Instead, you learn to accept things as they are without reacting to them. Of course, this does not mean that you stop working to change the things in your life that problematic for you. However, through the practice of mindfulness, you will experience a greater sense of wholeness and aliveness, even during seemingly mundane moments in life. You may find that your mind begins to disentangle itself from negative thoughts, negative reactions and negative judgments.
Developing a mindful lifestyle can help in many areas of life. For example, with obesity at epidemic levels across the US, and this is something I struggle with myself, learning mindful eating habits can benefit us by creating a better mental attitude, which is much easier to maintain than highly restrictive (and useless) dieting strategies. Mindfulness can bring awareness to what can set off cravings for sweet, salty, and comfort foods, for example. Cravings can be encouraged by feelings of irritability, annoyance, anger, sadness or loneliness, or as a result of feelings of embarrassment or guilt. By identifying cravings, we may be able to stick to a healthier eating plan instead of giving in to “comfort” eating or impulsivity.
Behavioral weight loss programs typically result in short-term weight loss of approximately 7-10%. Research findings demonstrate that a short program in mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable effects on brain and immune function, improving both short and longer-term weight loss. This suggests that meditation may change brain and immune function in positive ways resulting in better health.
Overeating, alcoholism, substance abuse and PTSD are a few of the conditions that mindfulness training can help mitigate. Mindfulness is an excellent choice for improving total overall health.
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