The holidays are over and the New Year is here! For many of us that means our calendars have been full of gatherings with family, friends and coworkers; squeezing in holiday festivities, performances, shopping and maybe some sleep, there has been little time for anything else. During this time of chaos, we forget that it is important to maintain normal health habits, like getting enough sleep, sticking to an exercise routine and managing stress to help keep us in a positive state of mind. The new year is a perfect time to remember and highlight the benefits of practicing mindfulness in all that we do.
Food is one of the most powerful ways to bring people together. However, on an average day we often find ourselves rushing through meals to get to the next errand or task on our “To-Do” lists. From research, we have learned that being present, or mindful of our actions, words, and even thoughts, can have a positive effect on our health.1 When we take the time to slow down and be mindful of our actions, how our bodies process food, emotions and stress differently.2 It lowers blood pressure, cortisol levels, and other stress markers.3
It’s important and often forgotten however, to approach the concept of being mindful without judgment. If you want to eat that cookie, eat it. In being mindful, ask yourself why you are consuming it; is it boredom? Is it stress? Is it the company you’re surrounded by? Or is this what my body wants right now? By doing this, you will begin to notice patterns that arise in your eating behaviors, and in turn, it may inspire you to pick something different, to eat then or in the future.
Cheers to a happy and healthy 2016, from the NUNM family to yours!
Authors: Kendal Kubitz and Kari Sager
- Mason A, Epel E, Kristeller J et al. Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on mindful eating, sweets consumption, and fasting glucose levels in obese adults: data from the SHINE randomized controlled trial. J Behav Med. 2015. doi:10.1007/s10865-015-9692-8.
- Mantzios M, Wilson J. Exploring Mindfulness and Mindfulness with Self-Compassion-Centered Interventions to Assist Weight Loss: Theoretical Considerations and Preliminary Results of a Randomized Pilot Study. Mindfulness. 2014;6(4):824-835. doi:10.1007/s12671-014-0325-z.
- Buchholz L. Exploring the Promise of Mindfulness as Medicine. JAMA. 2015;314(13):1327. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.7023.