Get Happy: The Power of Mindfulness

Paying attention can pay off with less stress, more joy, and even weight loss. Here are some ways to reap the benefits.
Get Happy: The Power of MindfulnessWeekly Topic

When you're stressed, it can be tempting to try to escape those feelings by watching TV, surfing the web — or even, yeah, eating. But fleeing the mental tumult doesn't help in the long run. A better, if counterintuitive solution: Tune in, not out. Paying attention to your surroundings, your food, and your actions can help right away (you slow your racing pulse, enjoy food more, and are even less injury-prone), and over time by helping you make more thoughtful choices. In fact, being mindful is part of self-monitoring, a skill that helps you lose weight. Your meeting featured a short mindfulness exercise just to give you a taste of its benefits. (Feeling more relaxed, for starters). When you have more time, try some of these ideas. If you have…

10 minutes: Find a quiet place — perhaps in your car or in the bathroom — where no one can bother you. Some members find it helpful to hold a memento of a relaxing time, such as a seashell, a pebble or a leaf. Just close your eyes, relax your jaw, breathe and recall the feelings of being in that serene time and place.

20 minutes: Leave your to-do list and cell phone behind and take a 20-minute walk. Focus on the here and now: the sidewalk, the sound of sprinklers, the warmth of the sun, the caressing breeze.

30 minutes: Try a few relaxing yoga poses, like these moves, which are good for beginners. If you're not into yoga, take a bath, dance to a favorite song or try some simple, ease-out-the-kinks stretches.

Whenever your weight-loss efforts start to overwhelm you, bring yourself back to the present, and breathe slowly and deeply to regain your focus. It's a great way to stay on Plan for life.

Add your own mindfulness moves in Comments, below, then read on for more ways to banish stress and stay focused.

Just breathe
Just breathe
Dissolve stress and nourish calm with something as simple and elemental as your own breath and your attention. The ancient art of meditation can be a weight-loss ally; as you practice it, you’ll find your mind at peace, your thoughts at rest — and this emotional and mental centering pays off in healthier choices and attitudes. (Plus, it just feels great!)
Body/mind tune-up
Body/mind tune-up
Mindfulness can be active, too! See how it can improve your workout: Try meditating while walking, as you swim, or jumping rope.

Is Work Making You Fat?
Be the boss
It’s all too easy to meld with your desk chair and lock onto your computer screen while you’re at work. Bad idea! Shake it off with these six tips to boost mindfulness, de-stress, and get in some body-loving moves.
Lazy Sunday
Treat the dad in your life to Grilled Mahi Mahi with Lemon-Herb Aioli, a fancy-ish but fast dish from the Weekly to celebrate Father’s Day. Bonus: Use that citrusy sauce to dress up vegetables, too! Don’t forget to track it!

Next week: Keep your “why” close by
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