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Mindfulness is a meditative practice consisting of training the brain to be more aware, pay more attention, and notice. By practicing awareness, attention, and noticing, we become more present. Meaning, rather than be distracted by our thoughts about the past or the future, we live fully in the here and now. Some may think that mindfulness is a spiritual “humbo jumbo” but the practice has been extensively researched in the scientific community. As mindfulness has become a buzzword in recovery, spiritual, new age, self-help, and even medical, academic, and scientific communities, the practice has reckoned investigation. Innumerable reports have found that mindfulness reduces stress and inflammation. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, chronic pain, serious disease, disorders, and other ailments have all found impressive relief with mindfulness. Activities as simple as taking a deep breath and actively turning attention to the breath can change brain chemistry, body chemistry, and reprogram the nervous system.


Mindful eating has been shown to help slow down eating, improve digestion, and even support weight loss or weight management. Applying mindfulness to eating can take many forms. Most often, we eat without considering what we are eating, how we are eating it, how it tastes, or how it feels. We eat to consume calories with taste, to satisfy our hunger, and because we have to. Mindful eating invites us to notice the sensory parts of our food, savor what we are eating, and pay attention to how food makes us feel.


The difference between hearing and listening is often debated. Frequently, we listen without hearing and we hear without listening. We listen only to reply. When we listen we judge, evaluate, analyze, and take ourselves out of the present moment of truly listening. Mindful listening encourages us to fully and truly pay attention and notice what the other person is saying.


Exercise almost immediately begets mindfulness. In order to prevent injury, we have to pay attention to what is going on in our bodies. Exercise pulls us into the present moment. We focus on our breath, carefully calculate our movements, and regularly notice how we feel so we know when we are done.


The easiest way to practice mindfulness is to simply practice noticing. There are millions of parts of our day we don’t notice, from the wind to what we see out the window when we drive, to even our own thoughts and actions. Practicing mindfulness multiplies our ability to be mindful, increasing our health and wellness.

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