What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is moment-to-moment awareness.

Mindfulness is cultivated by paying attention on purpose from moment to moment with an attitude of non-judgement, curiosity and compassion towards the unfolding moments of our life.

So rather than becoming over-identified with a thought, feeling, or a particular body sensation, mindfulness provides a grounded way for us to reconnect to our present moments and our inner resources.

How can mindfulness help?

Hopefully this website can help you cultivate a capacity to be with yourself, anchored in the present moment – befriending what is, rather than resisting what is unfolding for you moment to moment. This involves helping you notice just how much you might not be present-here, now; but rather pre-occupied or lost in your wandering mind. Practicing becoming anchored in the present and experiencing moments directly and intimately, help us all experience our lives in their fullness.

Another aspect of training involves becoming more aware of your body including the different hunger and satiety signals, as well as your many senses (there are more than 5!) so that food can be savoured from moment to moment. Mindfulness training also naturally involves becoming aware of thoughts (am I on autopilot? am I lost in thinking about what I have just eaten?) and feelings (am I sad and craving something sweet?) and how they impact the relationship with food. The use of food as an emotionally soothing object is explored.

Mindfulness and mindfulness-based eating awareness can be useful in a number of different situations:

  • Mindful eating for a health and wellness.
  • Being competent in healthy eating behaviour in order to to manage a long-term health condition, while still enjoying food.
  • Recovering from eating disorders and disordered eating, where food (or the lack of it) is used to comfort yourself.
  • Facilitating long term weight maintenance that is enjoyable.
  • Eating well and looking after yourself during busy and stressful times.

I want to share with you an excerpt from Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book: Wherever you go, there you are-Mindfulness Meditation for everyday life.

“Mindfulness requires effort and discipline for the simple reason that the forces that work against our being mindful, namely, our habitual unawareness and automaticity, are exceedingly tenacious… It is empowering as well, because paying attention in this way opens channels to reservoirs of creativity, intelligence, imagination, clarity, determination, choice and wisdom within us. We tend to be particularly unaware that we are thinking virtually all the time.  The incessant stream of thoughts flowing through our minds leaves us very little respite for inner quite.  And we leave precious little room for ourselves anyway just to be, without having to run around doing things all the time.  Out actions are all too frequently driven by those perfectly ordinary thoughts and impulses that run through the mind like a coursing river, if not a waterfall.  We get caught up in the torrent and it winds up submerging our lives as it carries us to places we may not wish to go and may not even realise we are headed for. Meditation means learning how to get out of this current, sit by its bank and listen to it, learn from it, and then use its energies to guide us rather than to tyrannize us.  This process doesn’t happen by itself.  It takes energy.  We call the effort to cultivate our ability to be in the present moment “practice” or “meditation practice”.

Minding the food space