5 Reasons to learn Mindfulness: A Guide to Mindfulness & Nutrition Connection-



Nargis Akhter MBBS,MS, RDN, LDN, CLT

March 24,2021



Are you feeling frustrated?

Are you depressed or anxious?

Are you feeling overwhelmed with negative thoughts?

Ever wonder what mindfulness can do for you?

Having self doubts?

If your answer is YES to any of the above questions, then this article is for you!

Keep Reading!


5 Reasons to learn Mindfulness

  1. To get more mental clarity

  2. Mindfulness decreases stress, teaches to be proactive rather than reactive

  3. It increases Neuoplasticity (ability of our brain to continually develop throughout life)

  4. It strengthens our immune system

  5. It helps us make better decisions


Table of Contents

  • What is Mindfulness?

  • Mindfulness & Emotional Self

  • Mindfulness & Spiritual Self

  • How to achieve Self Empowerment?


My interest in mindfulness started when we first moved to Pakistan from the United Kingdom in 1990 with our first born son. At the time, Pakistan was politically unstable and things were unpredictable. There was a huge difference in lifestyle (even though I was born and raised in Pakistan) I was finding it difficult to adjust. The first few months were rough, I started internalizing my feelings which made me highly reactive. We all have different ways of reacting, I used to repress my feelings. However, I realized that this attitude of mine is making me suffer most!


I started reading self help books. The very first non-fiction book I read was the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. The very first habit, 'Be Proactive', not reactive, gave me a Paradigm shift. I slowly started looking at things differently. At that time, I had no idea about mindfulness, I just kept on reading more and more books like 'The Power of Intuition' by Wayne Dyer, 'The Power of Positive Thinking', etc. In 1995, we moved to Omaha, Nebraska in USA. Life in U.S, introduced another culture to me. A much different one from Pakistani & European. I find Americans to be a lot more open & friendly compare to the Europeans. Adjusting in this culture was not as tough as my previous experience, partly because I was more mature and partly because here, people were in general easier to get along.

I started exploring places. I remember I got my first personal journal from a store called 'Things Remembered'. I found myself writing as a way to acknowledge my feelings.

Later, I fell in love with Elkhart Tolle's, book 'Power of Now'. This book was/is amazing, it changed my perception towards life.


“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” ― Eckhart Tolle,

According to a research done by a psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, at Harvard Medical center, the study involved taking magnetic resonance images (MRI) from 16 study participants two weeks prior to the study. MRI images were also taken after the study was completed. Analysis of the images, which focused on areas where meditation associated differences were seen in earlier studies, found increased gray-matter density in the hippocampus. This is known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection.


Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention in the present moment. The best outcome of practicing mindfulness is self compassion, mental clarity and resilience. It makes your thoughts flow without any judgement.

Our bodies drives energy from food, thoughts, feelings and words!


Are you being mindful of what you eat, what you think, how you feel and what you say?


On an average, one experiences around 60,000 thoughts/day. We tend to attract same kind of energy that we project outwards. Have you ever noticed that carrying negative thoughts makes you feel depressed, tired, with no desire to get up? It is because thoughts are vibration energy. Negative thoughts are low frequency vibrations.

Positive thoughts, gives a feeling of elation with incredible amount of energy. It is because positive thoughts are high frequency vibrations.


Mindfulness brings greater voluntary control over our mind. It gives greater emotional control, being less reactive, with longer attention span. 


Do you want to see how mindful you are? http://www.goodmedicine.org.uk/files/assessment,%20mindfulness%205%20facets_0.pdf



What is Nutritional Mindfulness?

Let's look at the definition of nutrition & mindfulness separately first:


Nutrition is the act or process of nourishing or of being nourished. (Merriam-webester)

the substances that you take into your body as food and the way that they influence your health.

Nutrition is the biochemical and physiological process by which an organism uses food to support its life. It includes ingestion, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion. The science that studies the physiological process of nutrition is called nutritional science (also nutrition science).


Mindfulness is the light of awareness of the present moment. It is when you bring mindfulness to your core faculties; Spiritual, Emotional, Mental and Physical (SEMP), and learn the art of combining Equifinality (to arrive at the same destination from different paths or conditions) with Synergy (the whole is greater then the sum of its parts). It is as if you bring a lighted candle in a dark room.

Mindfulness, is that bright light that lighten up every cell in the body.


My definition of nutrition: "Nutrition is What you Eat, How you Feel, and What you Think."

By looking at the definition of nutrition, our thoughts and emotions are a source of nourishment


Nutrition and Mindfulness, are both very dear to me, so much so that I have been passionately educating myself since childhood. Now it’s time to share with you all. Nutrition, is what we need to function. Mindfulness, is what will make it beneficial.

The need to really understand the connection between these two is now a necessity as some of the major diseases are related to nutrition. For example, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular, hypertension and many more.


Mindfulness statistics for 2021

76.2% of people meditate to promote general wellness.

40% of Americans meditate weekly.

35% of people meditate to reduce stress.

94% of women find meditation helpful.

5.4% of American children practiced meditation in 2017.

Meditation slows down the aging process.

22% of companies had mindfulness programs in 2016.


Mindfulness & Emotional Self

  • What is emotional mindfulness?

  • Why emotional mindfulness is the key?

  • Can it be learned?

One way of answering these questions is to know how the brain works.

We have an inner 'emotional radar', that gives us signals of our emotional well being. This radar, detects any unpleasant feelings, When we keep ignoring these red alert signals, we end up crashing one day.


Have you heard of 'Emotional Hijack'?

It is the state of our mind where our cognitions are overrun by our emotions. It is not uncommon to make a wrong decision when you're extremely angry, mad or annoyed. This is the best example to understand emotional hijack.

Knowing, understanding and implementing EM, is the key to self-awareness. Emotional Mindfulness (EM) is about taking care of your own emotional states as well as being empathetic towards others.


Emotional Intelligence, is your best companion. It is because intellectual intelligence can be learned but emotional intelligence has to be nurtured.

Owning our emotions must take precedence for the sake of our emotional health. As we learn the skill of acknowledging emotions without judgement through mindfulness will allow us to choose what can be hold on to, in our lives.

An interesting fact, is that our emotions play a vital role in defining our physical health. It is very important to understand, the role of emotions on our physical selves, how they effect our entire body.


Mindfulness & Spiritual Self

When we talk about spiritual mindfulness, we are referring to our core of being. In kinesiology, the 'core' is a complex set of muscles that acts as a stabilizer and force transfer center. It needs to be trained, to get the strength and to prevent the back from injury. Mindfulness is the core for soul. It needs to be strengthened, evolved. It needs those quiet moments to be able to connect to the source energy.


When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.~ Rumi

Our Spirit, is the divine presence in a physical body. It is the power house, it is the light inside us. In this light, we can strengthen our physical, emotional and intellectual self. Spiritual mindfulness, is first being aware of your true self and then connecting with the source energy. This connection will change the way you see life.

Spiritual awareness, helps us bring positive energy in every facet of our lives. The root of all our physical illnesses resides in our spiritual self first and then it manifests as physical illness.

Mindfulness helps us establish the inner connection.


Self Empowerment

Self empowerment comes from inside. It starts with self.


The Road to Self Empowerment

It is going to be long, and curvy road towards exploring yourself but believe me it is totally worth it. It gives you the freedom, the power, and the best of all Real Happiness.


3 Steps to Self Empowerment

  1. Mindfulness -

  2. Nutrition -

  3. Exercise - Releases 'feel good' hormones


Do you believe that mindfulness is the answer to 80% of your problems? If YES, then continue to follow my future posts!


Next Post- Self Empowerment!










https://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/12/11/harvard-study-unveils-what-meditation-literally-does-to-the-brain/


https://moderngentlemen.net/mindfulness-statistics/

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