What Is This New Trend Called Mindfulness?
Mindfulness? Being mindful? What is this calming new trend that is sweeping the internet? You may have already heard about the trend of mindfulness, but do you know what it means?
Hi! It’s the Greenhouse Education Center (GEC) Nutrition Educators here to focus in on some positive lifestyle habits. How can mindfulness be beneficial to your life? Keep on reading to find out!
Breaking Down Mindfulness
Mindfulness is focusing in on yourself and being conscious of what you are doing. It achieves a mental state of awareness in the present moment and allows both your body and mind to come together to understand your surroundings.
Mindfulness is more than just a feeling, it is listening to the senses put forward in your environment.
Why Is Mindfulness Important?
With the stress of everyday life, it is becoming more important than ever to take a break to clear your mind. Mindfulness provides this clarity and allows you to connect with yourself. There are many benefits to practicing mindfulness.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Scientifically , , mindfulness has been proven to aid with:
- Increased mental flexibility and clarity
- Increased emotional regulation, empathy, and compassion
- Increased ability to manage distractions
- Decreased task effort
There is also evidence to prove that mindfulness has health benefits! Some of these benefits can include ,  :
- Increased immune functioning
- Improved well-being
- Lower levels of anxiety and stress
From the benefits listed here, you can see how mindfulness can almost act as a refresh button on your computer screen, but for your body and mind instead! Mindfulness can be applied to many parts of your life, with one large part of this being mindful eating!
Mindful Eating Habits
What is Mindful Eating?
Similar to mindfulness, mindful eating encourages someone to take their time and listen to their body. The objective is to focus in on what you are eating and to regulate your eating habits. The new Canada’s Food Guide says it perfectly:
“It is being mindful of your eating habits, taking time to eat and noticing when you are hungry and when you are full.”
By incorporating mindful eating into your everyday life, there are many benefits that can follow.
What Are The Benefits of Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating allows you to increase awareness of your relationship with food. By being more mindful about your eating habits, you can:
- Identify and address distractions while eating
- Recognize the amount of time it takes to finish a meal
- Understand the meaning and difference between emotional and physical hunger
- Take enjoyment in your meals and focus on your senses to explore different flavors
You may think to yourself, these benefits sure do sound great, but how can I make mindful eating a reality in my life?
Tips & Tricks to Introduce & Practice Mindful Eating
A great way to start introducing mindful eating into your life is by asking yourself the following mindful questions to increase awareness of the way you eat.
- What am I eating?
- Why am I eating?
- When am I eating?
- Where am I eating?
- Who am I eating with?
- How am I eating and how much am I eating?
These questions can provide a guideline to start building healthy eating habits. To help encourage mindful eating practices in your life, listen to these additional tips and tricks.
6 Tips to Promote Mindful Eating in Your Life
- Listen to Your Body – It may sound simple, but listening to your natural hunger cues is a great way to focus in on yourself and recognize when your body is truly hungry. Sometimes it can be hard to find the distinction between physical hunger and food triggers. Have you ever passed a bakery and the amazing aroma of fresh bread caused you to think, ‘Yea, I could go for that’. That is a food trigger. But by listening to your body, you can ask yourself if you actually need that food.
Pro Tip #1: To be mindful and to help find this distinction easier, try to ask yourself the mindful questions listed above.
Pro Tip #2: Sometimes you may find yourself hungry, but you might be confusing hunger with thirst! Try drinking a glass of water first to help see if it will help satisfy your hunger. If not, then it’s snack time!
- Remove Distractions – According to Canad’s Food Guide distracted eating can cause you to consume more, lose track of how much you have eaten, and can cause you to not pay attention to when you are full. To help avoid distractions, put away all technology when at the table and focus on your food specifically. This can stop you from eating more than your body needs!
- Take Smaller Portions – A large issue many people face when it comes to healthy eating habits is portion sizes. As portion sizes in North America tend to be very large, people often try to finish the food on their plate instead of stopping when they are satisfied. A great way to focus in on your senses to avoid eating too full of a plate is to start with smaller portion sizes. This way you can listen to your hunger cues to see if they are full from the meal – and if not, go for seconds!
- Eat Slowly – Another way to help listen to your body while eating is to eat slower. This tip simply includes chewing slower to allow you to really focus in on your meal. This way you can recognize your hunger cues and see if you need more food or if you are satisfied.
Canada’s Food Guide Pro Tip: If you find yourself to be a fast eater, try placing your knife and fork down between bites to help slow down the speed of your eating!
- Eat Together – Eating together can help to bring happiness to your meals and make eating a more enjoyable event. By sitting with others, you allow yourself a set time to focus in on your food. This can help you to eat slower and take the time to appreciate food with others. For more information and benefits about Eating Together, check out our PC® #EatTogether Day blog.
- Engage with Your Food – Mmmmm, flavors, spices, tastes, and textures. Food can be very exciting when experimenting in the kitchen. But don’t stop there! Take the time to enjoy the flavors in the food your eating. Use your senses to explore the tastes, smells, and textures of your meals! This can help create a more fulfilling experience while eating, as it allows you to slow down your speed of eating and be more mindful of your food intake.
Where to Start: Changing the Mindset
You may be thinking: Mindfulness? Sign me up! If it seems a bit overwhelming at first, remember: practice makes perfect! It is always easiest to start out with small steps. Take a minute out of your day to reflect on the food you eat. Connect with yourself and listen to your body. Every small bit helps towards changing your mindset.
That is it for now, GEC Nutrition Educators over and out! Stay tuned for more informative and helpful blogs coming soon.
1. Davis, D. M., & Hayes, J. A. (2011). What are the benefits of mindfulness? A practice review of psychotherapy-related research. Psychotherapy, 48(2), 198-208.
2. Verplanken, B., & Fisher, N. (2014). Habitual worrying and benefits of mindfulness. Mindfulness, 5(5), 566-573.