Mindfulness is a form of meditation

Mindfulness is a form of meditation and both are often in the media for their link to stress reduction, increased focus and improved happiness – but did you know they could help you lose weight and meet your wider 2017 resolutions and goals?

Meditation Teacher Judy Claughton from www.BalanceTime.co.uk runs regular classes at Theale Wellbeing Centre and shares five of the top reasons to make mindfulness meditation part of your new year.

  1. Stress Reduction – Mindfulness and meditation exercises are scientifically proven to help your body to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline – so you can physically and mentally feel more rested. You can try mindful breathing by just pausing for a few moments to notice your breath, observing the speed, temperature and position in the body – then try to count and extend your breath in and out.
  2. Sleep better – not only will meditation help you to feel calmer it can help with specific problems such as insomnia. There are specific techniques that are particularly useful – such as the ‘body scan’ where you start to deliberately pay attention to each part of your body in turn, moving in your mind slowly from head to toe, in order to bring a feeling of relaxation into each part of your body.
  3. Increased happiness – Research from as early as the 1960s has proven a range of health benefits through meditation as well as the fact that meditation increases dopamine (the happy hormone) in our brain. Dr Benson of Harvard Medical School’s early studies found that meditation helped to reduce obsessive thinking, depression and hostility, and help us to be happier.  It also reduces the ‘fear centre’ in our brain so we receive less negative messages from our brains and more happier ones! Benson also found you can even change the ‘set point’ for happiness when affected by challenging life circumstances, by using a daily meditation practice, in as little as six weeks. More recent studies confirm how the part of our brain responsible for our happiness actually grows when we practise meditation.
  4. Weight loss – There is a growing understanding of the link between over eating and our emotions, alongside the role of calorie counting and exercise. Meditation helps us to understand and monitor our emotional wellbeing and better tune in to our bodies. It can help us to stop reaching for unhealthy comfort food in times of stress and sadness. It can also help give us more focus to stick with our fitness and diet plans! You can try Mindful eating with the first bite of your next meal and start to notice the difference. Take a moment to really pay attention, pausing to look at your food, listening to any sound it makes as you cook it, open it, cut into it etc. Observe the smell and then really experience the taste and texture and take note of how your body reacts to each mouthful.
  5. Sticking to our Goals for 2017 – meditation can help increase focus by making changes to our brain. It works like a form of ‘brain training’ growing parts of our brain and helping to build neural connections that help memory, concentration and focus.

If you are curious and would like to give it a try – come and discover the range of drop in workshops and classes on offer at Theale Wellbeing Centre.

Mindfulness and meditation classes at Theale Wellbeing Centre include Judy’s BalanceTime workshop the Two Hour Holiday on Tuesday 17th January – a relaxation evening packed with ideas to help you reduce stress and help you feel as if you have been away, or Mind Your Body Confidence on Tuesday 24th January to discover mindfulness and meditation exercises to help you to set and stick to your goals for life, health and fitness in the year ahead.

Theale Wellbeing Centre’s weekly one hour meditation group then starts on Tuesday 31st January.

Call us on 01189 303535 or contact Judy from BalanceTime direct on 07789 713 876 email: hellobalancetime@outlook.com

Judy Claughton