Anyone have a dog? I was thinking that the practice of formal mindfulness (meditation) is like training our brain similarly to the way we would a pup – we don’t want them running all over the place, piddling everywhere and going bananas, nor do we hold them on such a tight leash that there’s no room to move.
Instead, we might train dogs (or is it called “canine behaviour shaping?” lol) by using gentle but firm and consistent techniques like this:
(dog goes wandering, like our mind does)
good dog. Read More
And ….repeat. Our minds naturally wander (we’re human!) but the real skill in mindfulness practice is in noticing the wandering off, then gently and non-judgementally coming back to the present moment. And doing that again, and again, and again for as long as you wish. You might like to use the dog analogy, calling yourself gently when you realise you’ve wandered off. And did you know that the moment you notice you’ve wandered off, you’re actually being mindful? Go you!
As you’re probably aware, we’re pretty into mindfulness. Why? Because we see with our own eyes (and hear others’ experience with our own ears) that it makes a big difference to the relationship people have with food, eating and their body. That, with practice, mindfulness helps bring more calm, and less chaos, which opens to door to making choices from a place of self care, respect and compassion. We practice mindfulness ourselves too (because we’re big believers in practising what you preach!) and have found it instrumental in holding steady when life throws all kinds of things at us. As life has a tendency of doing right?
Luckily for us, research has shown that mindfulness (by way of formal or informal practices) can improve health and wellbeing, specifically depression, anxiety, relationships, immune system and general life satisfaction. With regards to eating, mindfulness can support you to have a much more calm and considerate approach to your eating behaviour so when things don’t go the way you’d prefer, mindfulness can help us not drop our bundle but come back to a kind and compassionate approach which helps us ride the waves of life experience. Bringing attention to body sensations also supports us to be able to be responsive to our own appetite rather than looking outside of ourselves for what/when/how to eat (except for medical reasons).
Each and every human has an enormous amount of wisdom, and mindfulness can help us reconnect with what is most helpful at any one point in time.
Come, sit, stay. Repeat. Good dog Rex! *woof*