I work in a school that teaches social and emotional learning. We follow the mind up program established by the Hawn foundation. Part of it teaches the children about mindful eating. I just watched a YouTube about the obesity pandemic and it talked a lot about mindfulness in regards to eating more mindfully and also as a way to reduce stress. Anyone out there had much experience.
asked byandrea_15 (518)
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on April 28, 2013
at 03:22 PM
While a useful trait, thinking constantly about the future via what-if's and about the past, it turns out we don't live in the past, and we don't live in the future. At best we can learn from the past and run probable scenarios in our heads about the future.
This is what allows us the ability to plan and think long term and is one thing that differentiates us from other animals. Perhaps some do, I don't know. But the point is, that a lot of time, we waste the present for the future, and past.
Mindful meditation simply means you live in the moment and enjoy it fully, observing everything around you as it happens, and experiencing it. It refocuses your mind and lets you let go of the stress of "What If" or "What if I did it another way?" and all of the daydreaming we do.
It's also to quiet the internal chatter that we have in our pre-frontal cortex and give us a break from the stress of being human. :)
Another way to think of it is to change your visual focus. Normally where we look has a very narrow locus, sort of like a spotlight, you'd want to expand that small spot to just take in all things in your field of vision and be able to observe it all rather than aim at one thing and ignore everything else.
A simple thing you can do to start is to at first control your breathing (later you can just observe it instead.) Breathe in slowly for say 5 seconds, hold the breath (gently) for one second, and then breathe out for 7 seconds, then hold for another second before starting again. If the timing is too long, try 3-1-4-1 instead of 5-1-7-1 and slowly try to increase the timing for each step - you'll find your body and mind getting very calm very quickly. A minute of this is a simple meditation you can do. Once you master this, try to just observe your breathing, and then expand your focus to outside of yourself to what's around you.
I was lucky enough that our junior high science teacher taught us to meditate with the above technique. She was all about science, no spiritual stuff here, but that was one awesome teacher. Hope there are others like her out there. It's a very useful tool, and try to associate it with stress and rough times - that is whenever you experience them, remember to invoke this technique.
Ideally, meditate daily. I wish I could find the will do to do myself. But, I do have a cat, and a purring cat in your lap forces you to slow down and relax. Petting the cat can be a form of meditation - that got me through some stressful events.
Terry mentioned Jon Kabatt-Zinn in the other answer. One of the youtube links below is an Authors at Google talk he did. Very useful stuff in that series to dig through.
Have fun learning, and best wishes.
on April 28, 2013
at 01:44 PM
Its essentially a form of meditation done by slowing down & paying close attention to your experiences.
Google: Jon Kabatt-Zinn
He's generally acknowledged as a leader in this technique, although it has its roots in Zen.
on April 28, 2013
at 03:24 PM
There's an entire branch of Buddhism called Vipassana, the Pali word for mindfulness. Google/Bing that, and you will get a lot of relevant search results. Some of my favorite beginner's books for English-speaking practitioners:
- It's Easier Than You Think
- A Path With Heart
- One Breath at a Time (12-step orientation)
on April 29, 2013
at 01:30 AM
I think some of these answers are a little deep.
Mindful meals should start by removing the distractions from the meal. No TV, cell phone ect. Try and keep your mind on the food and the people your eating with. Enjoy the event.
The opposite extreme is wondering where your dinner went while watching survivor... the eating doesn't register in your consciousness, and won't be as satisfying.
on April 28, 2013
at 06:40 PM
I've had some experience with mindfulness and meditation; I studied it for the past four years (as it has been known to work for depression and mental problems).
Unfortunately, some of the culprits of mindfulness are not known. First of all, let's distinguish mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness is observing your inner state, meaning everything you can sense in the moment. Approaches differ, but what they all have in common is the idea that whatever you are experiencing, it's good to bring it in full consciousness. Mindfulness comes, as described in a previous post, from the rich tradition of buddhism, most of all from it's meditations. Meditation is a method to "cleanse" the body and mind from things that are considered not cool within that specific branch of buddhism. The end result would be enlightenment, a state of pure joy and insight.
Meditation in this context should be considered a religious practice.This is something that people in the west often don't get, but in for example the zen tradition meditation isn't regarded as a tool to manage everyday stress, but to reach a nirvana state.This is a great difference, and of course both objectives can come in conflict with each other. In the sense that meditation involves technique - sitting in a certain way - which by definition immobilizes you.
Let's just say that the psychiatric instituions near monestaries in Japan all have a department where there are patients with zen-psychosis. Monks who were considered healthy when screened during the selection procedure of the monestary, but got mad while meditating.
I think everybody will agree with the notion that living in the now, as being fully aware of what you're experiencing, is a good thing. This is something you can practice, but meditation is not the best way.
I highly recommend the work by Peter Levine, which draws heavily on inner body awareness.