By Diana Nunziato, RN
Mindfulness has been defined in Psychology Today, “as a state of active, open attention on the present” (2016). You are able to observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them as being good or bad, when you practice mindfulness. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experiences. On the other hand, mindlessness is defined as having no intelligent purpose, meaning, or direction. In other words, a mindless person gives or shows little attention to the situation.
According to psychologist Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., and author of The Now Effect, she says there are seven things mindful people do differently:
- Approach everyday things with curiosity and savor them
- Forgive their mistakes, whether they are big or small
- Show gratitude for good moments and grace for bad ones
- Practice compassion and nurture connections
- Make peace with imperfection inside and out
- Embrace vulnerability by trusting others and themselves
- Accept and appreciate that things come and go
Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD, a registered dietitian nutritionist and board member at The Center for Mindful Eating, says “self-compassion is often the missing ingredient to healthy eating.” Research shows the more understanding and forgiving we are of ourselves, the more motivated we are to do what we need to so we can take care of ourselves and eat well. It also helps guard against emotional overeating, which often occurs when we feel as if we have failed in our efforts to eat well. She continues to say we can add self-compassion to our meals by following four simple steps:
Step 1: Give up black-and-white thinking. Consider the flexibility among your food choices when you are eating healthy. Certain foods can be made healthier by different means of preparation and serving sizes.
Step 2: Become aware of how you talk to yourself when eating. Keep a journal of the thoughts that cross your mind when you are eating. Do you tell yourself to stay away from certain foods, or to stop after a certain amount. It is important to pay attention to what you think about your actions.
Step 3: Write down responses to those thoughts. When you hear yourself being questionable about your actions or being self-critical, you can read what you have written about yourself when you had a clearer state of mind.
Step 4: Practice those responses. It is important to start correcting harmful thoughts once you recognize them. If you learn how to respond to yourself, each time you do it will become easier and more natural.
Each of us should try to incorporate mindfulness into our daily routines. Being mindful can help in our success of our weight loss journey.