Mindfulness is a very simple concept and means paying attention in a particular way. It is an ancient Buddhist practice that helps increase awareness, and acceptance of our present-moment reality.
There has been a lot written and talked about in the media recently about mindfulness and it has been shown to be very helpful when trying to change behaviour – such as trying to eat less to lose weight.
So what is mindfulness?
There are many definitions of mindfulness, however a simple explanation is:
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgement.
(Mindfulness explained by Chantal Hofstee, Clinical Psychologist from Renew Your Mind).
Here are some ‘mindfulness’ tips related to eating:
Take your time & notice what you eat
Why? Eating fast, on the run and while distracted can lead you to eat more food than you realise or need:
- It takes 30 minutes for your stomach to tell the brain that it’s full.
- Many of us eat for reasons other than hunger – and recognising this is the first step in making changes.
- Slow down and wait for meals to digest.
- Sit at the table, with friends, whanau.
- Minimise distractions such as phones and TV.
- Enjoy your food.
- Some people find it helpful to write down what (and how much) they eat and how they feel before and after.
Relaxation, meditation & mental resilience
Your mind is a very powerful tool and there are many ways to harness that power and channel energy in different ways that can help you feel better or more positive. It is possible to build your mental resilience in the same way as you can build physical resilience and strength.
There are many sources of information and supports available online and in shops.
Five steps to mental wellbeing
The five steps to mental wellbeing is an evidence-based approach that has become popular around the globe. Give them a go. These simple tips can help you feel happier, more positive and able to live the life you want. Read more about the 5 steps to mental wellbeing on the NHS Choices website.
(NHS Choices, UK)
Mindfulness for mental wellbeing NHS Choices, UK
Five steps to mental wellbeing NHS Choices, UK
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and the prevention of relapse in depression University of Oxford