“Be here now.”
It’s not just a new-age slogan. A growing body of evidence suggests that paying attention to the present without judgment can help you feel more optimistic, have higher self-esteem, and have happier relationships, all of which will enhance your life — and help your weight loss.1, 2
Ready to get more mindful? The technique below will help you tune into your body, reduce stress, and improve your feeling of well-being.3
(HINT: You might want to read through your activity first, or even record the steps on your smartphone’s voice memo app, so you can practice without stopping.)
- Take a few deep breaths, feeling yourself relax as you exhale.
- Focus on the sensation of your feet touching the floor.
- Mentally move up your body, noticing your legs touching the chair.
- Notice your back pressing into the chair back.
- Bring your attention into your stomach area. If your stomach is tense or tight, let it soften. Take a breath.
- Now focus on your hands-if they are tense, try to let them soften.
- Do you notice any sensation in your arms? Relax your shoulders.
- Move on to your neck and throat, soften and relaxing them.
- Soften your jaw; relax your facial muscles.
- Be aware of your whole body. Inhale. Be at home in your body. Exhale. When you’re ready, open your eyes.
1. David DM, Hayes JA. What are the benefits of mindfulness? A practice review of psychotherapy-related research. Pyschotherapy. 2011; 48 (2): 198-208.
2. Keng SL, et al. Effects of mindfulness and psychological health: a review of empirical studies. Clin Psychol Rev. 2011;31:1041-1056.
3. Carmody J and Baer RA. Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms, and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of Behavioral Medicine.2008; 31(1):23-33.