Clinical psychologist, coach, author and podcaster Cass Dunn has helped people overcome depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder, adjustment disorder, relationship and parenting difficulties.
She feels drawn to teaching people what she has learned about mindfulness and positive psychology and what it takes to truly thrive in life and at work.
Here is an amazing article she wrote about the link to meditation and weight loss. To read more about Cass or listen to her podcast Crappy to Happy click here.
Meditation has long since dropped its reputation as a weird hippy past-time and firmly established its place in the mainstream as a foundation for optimal physical and mental health.
There is research demonstrating that the benefits of mindfulness meditation include, but are not limited to:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Boosting immunity
- Slowing the signs of ageing
- Reducing depression, stress and anxiety
- Enhancing relationships
- Improving attention, memory and focus
The list is long and perhaps you’ve already heard people (i.e., ME) espousing the many benefits of maintaining a meditation practice. What you may not have heard is that some of those benefits can directly and indirectly support your efforts to lose weight and create a healthier lifestyle. Here are three very specific ways that incorporating a bit more mindfulness into your day might help you to more quickly shed that excess weight:
- REDUCING STRESS
Stress causes your body to produce cortisol. A little cortisol is normal and healthy but when you’re continually stressed, you can have an over-production of cortisol and that can have far-reaching negative consequences. Too much cortisol stimulates overeating (particularly high fat and high sugar foods) and also causes your body to hold onto fat.
- CURBING UNHEALTHY HABITS
Mindfulness involves bringing your full awareness to what’s happening as it’s happening without judgement. Most of us move about our days on autopilot, and our thoughts and behaviours are very habitual. If you think about it, how often do you reach for a snack, finish a whole bag of chips or stand staring into the fridge without even consciously thinking about what you’re doing? Anything can be a trigger for this kind of automatic eating, e.g., the time of day, feeling bored, or another (linked) habitual activity like watching TV. By developing an increased capacity for mindfulness, you bring yourself into the present and realise what you’re doing.
- LEARNING TO TOLERATE DISCOMFORT
Stress and boredom can certainly be triggers for emotional eating and sometimes a little awareness can be enough to help you curb that behaviour. But sometimes your difficult emotions can be a lot more intense than a few moments of frustration, and in those situations sometimes you don’t care about what you’re eating because your main goal is to take away the pain you’re feeling. We all have various strategies we use to avoid, suppress or numb emotional pain and food is definitely one of those strategies for many people. Practising mindfulness meditation, contrary to popular stereotypes, is not about emptying your mind or taking yourself off to a happy place where you can take a lovely break from your real life.
WHERE TO START
If you’re interested in exploring meditation, there are a lot of free apps you can download that include guided meditations. I recommend the Insight Timer app as a good starting point as it’s comprehensive and FREE.
This article is an exert from Cass Dunn Blog. For the full article click here