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How Being Mindful Can Help Improve Your Health


If you are like most people you have at some point heard someone say to enjoy life more and stop worrying so much about the past or what lies ahead. After all, life is short and if you are busy doing those things you are not too focused on the here and now. Yet it's focusing on the here and now that can make a world of difference in your overall health.



Focusing on living in the moment is referred to as mindfulness. If you have ever done something, such as drive to the store or wash the dishes, and when you were done did not have much of a memory of actually driving to store or actually washing the dishes, then you know what it means to not be mindful. That's when our brains are more on autopilot.



Yet what we really want is to experience all of life, as it happens, whether it is good or bad, and without all the preconceived notions we may typically associated with it. When we are mindful we live in the moment and are one with what is happening in our lives.



There are a host of benefits of living mindfully, including better stress coping, handling serious illnesses, reducing anxiety and depression, relaxing more, being more enthusiastic about life in general, and higher self-esteem. Those who engage in mindfulness meditation also benefit by the changes taking place in the brain, which lead to improved learning, memory, and emotional intelligence. Studies have indicated that mindfulness can help youth to be better at coping with stress, have better relationships, and engage in fewer fights.



The practice of mindfulness encourages us to pay more attention to what we are thinking and doing with our body. Keeping this in mind, it can help us to become better at things like exercising, eating healthier, losing pounds and maintaining a healthy weight. If we practice mindful eating, for example, we will be less likely to over eat and ignore our bodies' signs that we are no longer hungry.



Becoming more mindful is easier than you may realize and can be done anywhere. You can do it while you are in your car, on the phone, or sitting at your computer. Simply begin to pay more attention to the here and now of what is going on. As your mind wanders to other thoughts, gently bring it back to your breathing, your feet on the floor, and what it is that you are doing at the moment. Your mind may start out racing, but with practice you can use mindfulness to achieve a healthier life!

February 23, 2013
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