The sky is blue - mindfulness practice:

When you notice negative thoughts arising in your mind, just tack on the phrase “the sky is blue” to the end of each judgment.

My belly is huge—and the sky is blue. I can’t believe I ate that whole plate of pasta—and the sky is blue.

Adding the neutral phrase after a judgmental one is a way of neutralizing the negative thought. They are both “just thoughts,” and neither has to produce any more or less emotional impact. 

Try it for yourself. Add “the sky is blue” after every negative thought that you have, even for a day, and notice the impact.

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Mindful-eating exercise to reduce stress-induced eating

Every day I meet and work with women who use eating as a stress management tool and sooth themselves with food and sweets when under stress. 

Food has the power to temporarily alleviate stress and sadness, enhance joy, and bring us comfort when we need it most. It's no wonder experts estimate that 75 percent of overeating is triggered by our emotions, not physical hunger. 

Diets don' t work and physical activities are not enough when it comes to stress eating, especially for us women over 40.  What works?

The good news is you can overcome stress eating through mindfulness activities that are healthy for both body and mind.

Being mindful is an active state of releasing all judgment and worried thoughts, freeing oneself from stress to fully perceive the moment.

As an integral part of mindful living mindful-eating exercises are great every day mindfulness practices to reduce stress-induced eating. (in nutshell mindful eating reduces emotional eating and helps to lose weight and manage stress at the same time).

Exercise: eat a food mindfully.

Take a raisin, grape, strawberry, piece of cheese, or chocolate. 

Observe the appearance and texture. Is there an aroma? What kind of changes do you notice in your body as you observe this food? (Answers may include salivation, impatience, anticipation, and nothing.)

Place a small amount of the food in your mouth, and do not chew it. After 30 seconds (wait 1 minute for chocolate), start chewing. 

After you  have finished eating, answer the following questions:

 What did you notice about the flavor or texture before you started chewing the food? After you started chewing?
 How does that compare with your typical experience?
  ____________________________

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Be mindful: real hunger or stress-induced appetite?


Have you ever stopped before eating to ask yourself " I am really hungry?" or "Do I feel stressed or anxious?"
 
This is a toughie for women who tend to eat to deal with stress. Food is comfort when stress takes hold, and the urge to eat feels a lot like real hunger. When you wander into the kitchen or place an order at a restaurant, ask yourself if you're truly hungry, or if you're eating for other reasons.

If you are truly hungry, it will be easier to eat healthy foods. If you're stressed, you may crave fatty and/or sweet foods. 

If you keep in mind that food will NOT solve the stress problems (and may create more of them) in your life, and learn other coping mechanisms for stress, you will be far better off. 

Discover how Mindful eating, mindful living coaching program can help you to break free from stress eating!

Basic mindfulness exercises given by Thich Nhat Hanh: Releasing Tension

Fifth exercise: Releasing Tension

The next exercise is to release the tension in the body. When you are truly aware of your body, you notice there is some tension and pain in your body, some stress. The tension and pain have been accumulating for a long time and our bodies suffer, but our mind is not there to help release it. Therefore, it is very important to learn how to release the tension in the body.

In a sitting, lying, or standing position, it’s always possible to release the tension. You can practice total relaxation, deep relaxation, in a sitting or lying position. While you are driving your car, you might notice the tension in your body. You are eager to arrive and you don’t enjoy the time you spend driving. When you come to a red light, you are eager for the red light to become a green light so that you can continue. But the red light can be a signal. It can be a reminder that there is tension in you, the stress of wanting to arrive as quickly as possible. If you recognize that, you can make use of the red light. You can sit back and relax—take the ten seconds the light is red to practice mindful breathing and release the tension in the body.

So next time you’re stopped at a red light, you might like to sit back and practice the fourth exercise: “Breathing in, I’m aware of my body. Breathing out, I release the tension in my body.” 

Peace is possible at that moment, and it can be practiced many times a day—in the workplace, while you are driving, while you are cooking, while you are doing the dishes, while you are watering the vegetable garden. It is always possible to practice releasing the tension in yourself. 

Written by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

These mindfulness exercises is an essential part of my mindful eating coaching program.  

Basic mindfulness exercises given by Thich Nhat Hanh: Awareness of Your Body


Third exercise: Awareness of Your Body

The third exercise is to become aware of your body as you are breathing. “Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body.” This takes it one step further.

In the first exercise, you became aware of your in-breath and your out-breath. Because you have now generated the energy of mindfulness through mindful breathing, you can use that energy to recognize your body.

“Breathing in, I am aware of my body. Breathing out, I am aware of my body.” I know my body is there. This brings the mind wholly back to the body. Mind and body become one reality. When your mind is with your body, you are well-established in the here and the now. You are fully alive. You can be in touch with the wonders of life that are available in yourself and around you.

This exercise is simple, but the effect of the oneness of body and mind is very great

In our daily lives, we are seldom in that situation. Our body is there but our mind is elsewhere. Our mind may be caught in the past or in the future, in regrets, sorrow, fear, or uncertainty, and so our mind is not there. Someone may be present in the house, but he’s not really there, his mind is not there. His mind is with the future, with his projects, and he’s not there for his children or his spouse. Maybe you could say to him, “Anybody home?” and help him bring his mind back to his body.

So the third exercise is to become aware of your body. “Breathing in, I’m aware of my body.” When you practice mindful breathing, the quality of your in-breath and out-breath will be improved. There is more peace and harmony in your breathing, and if you continue to practice like that, the peace and the harmony will penetrate into the body, and the body will profit.


Written by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

These mindfulness exercises is an essential part of my mindful eating coaching program.