Mindfulness that has emerged as one of the most interesting personal practices in the world. It can be used for a wide variety of things. Mindfulness has been used by people to improve their health, to relieve anxiety, to improve their cognition, to get better at work… the list goes on
Today, we are going to look at how mindfulness can help you combat your weight issues.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness, sometimes known as no-mind by philosophers and spiritual guides, is a state of complete awareness and engagement with the present moment. Mindfulness is the backbone of many spiritual practices, and is the essence of meditation.
During a state of mindfulness, there is no room for anxiety, anger, worry, or any other negative emotion to arrive. People are able to truly live and be at their best when they are completely present and mindful.
So how can this help with weight issues?
Many people have weight problems that they are aware of, but they have difficulty finding the motivation to start improving them. This could be for any number of reasons.
- Maybe they are worried that a new exercise routine will be uncomfortable or painful, and they cannot bring themselves to start it because they feel like they will just be committing to an uncomfortable experience.
- Maybe their weight issues are caused by overconsumption of certain foods that they know are unhealthy for them. Addiction to food is a serious problem, and cannot simply be overcome by telling yourself not to eat.
- Maybe they’re unable to go to the gym because they are anxious about what people will think about them.
Can you see a common thread running between these three separate situations? The common thread is that all of these problems are psychological in nature.
Worrying about your exercise routine, being addicted to food and being unable to stop yourself from giving in to cravings for junk food, and being anxious about what people think, are all psychological issues.
So why does this matter? Because true mindfulness allows you to be in complete control of your mind, or in other words, to be the master of your own psyche. There is no room for anxiety or worry to exist in the state of mindfulness.
This might sound a little bit ridiculous if you have never experienced mindfulness, so you should learn a bit about it before you dismiss the idea.
How can I experience mindfulness?
You already have. Every person on the planet has experienced mindfulness. In fact, mindfulness is our natural state of being. It is only as we age that we start to overshadow our mindful nature with labels, ideas, beliefs, values, and the like.
If you look at a child, running free and smiling, without a care in the world, you are seeing somebody in the state of mindfulness. They are completely aware of what is going on around them, they are focused in the moment, and they are not worrying about the past or the future.
This, in essence, is mindfulness. Being completely grounded in the current moment.
If you focus your entire consciousness on the present moment, then your consciousness cannot be invaded or occupied by anything but the current moment. You accept what is for what it is, and don’t hold on to past events or fear for what could go wrong.
- This means that anxiety, which is a worry about the future, cannot exist because you’re grounded in the present.
- This means that sadness, anger, regret, and other negative feelings cannot exist, because these emotions require some attachment to a past experience to exist.
- If you are angry that your friend broke your favorite cup, that is not unreasonable. However, a mindful person would simply see the cup break, perhaps feel sadness or anger in that moment, and then accept the next moment as it came – a reality that is no different except for the absence of a cup. There will be no anger because the anger would be linked to an attachment to the cup, which is now a thing of the past.
Applying mindfulness to weight issues
We will use the previous three examples to show you how mindfulness can be used to help you combat weight Issues.
- The first example, in which you are worried about your exercise routine being uncomfortable or painful, will be solved because being mindful will not allow you to fear for injuries in the future. While it is smart to prepare for injuries, worrying about hurting yourself while doing something simple like exercising is only going to hinder you from actually getting it done.
- The second example, in which you are getting overweight from eating food that you know you shouldn’t, can be overcome by mindfulness because cravings can be overcome through perfect acceptance of the moment. A craving is a desire for something that is not with you in the present moment, but if you accept your reality for what it is, you’ll be happy with what you have, attenuating any cravings.
- The third example, in which you are worried about what people will think of you while you’re at the gym or out for a jog, wouldn’t happen if you were mindful. Not only will anxiety about other people’s opinions of you not manifest, but you will be able to focus better on your exercise. You will fatigue slower, be able workout harder or for longer, and have better form and posture.
Practicing mindfulness can be very difficult at first, because most people have lived in a state that is nearly the opposite of mindfulness for most of their lives. There are many books and articles that can teach you how to begin training yourself to be mindful. It can be as simple as noticing the breeze blowing on your face or hearing the birds chirping outside.
One of the best ways to explain how to capture the feeling of mindfulness is to remind people of the feeling that they get when they are completely captivated by something. One of the most common things that captivates people is nature.
Most people will find themselves in a state of momentary awe or appreciation when they are exposed to nature – whether they simply sit peacefully in a meadow watching a dandelion blow in the breeze, or round a corner and are greeted by the awesome sight of the ocean. Maybe while watching birds fly off into the sunset, or staring up at the night sky and seeing the stars.
All of these things tend to induce a momentary trance in which the person stops thinking about the past or the future and fully engages with the beauty of nature. There’s often only a few seconds of complete mindfulness before the thought, “this is beautiful” comes to mind, which is fine, but the essence of mindfulness is the complete silence, acceptance, and awe of those first few truly captivated seconds.
This is what you want to capture for every living moment of your life. This will help you overcome your weight issues, and anything else.