Mindfulness Could Be the Key to Making Healthier Choices

We’re bombarded by messages about better health everywhere we go. From advertisements to the people we hang around, there’s almost no escaping the latest wellness trend or scientific health fact. And while many of us know that we could be making healthier choices in our lives, even the most legitimate and well meaning messages we receive from the outside world can trigger us to feel sort of annoyed and maybe even a little resentful.

Some people, however, completely embrace these health messages. In fact, a new study suggests that more mindful people are not only more likely to embrace health messages, but also more likely to sustain their motivation to create positive changes.

Researchers gathered a group of subjects who performed only low levels of exercise on a regular basis and instructed them to rate a series of statements related to mindfulness, such as ”I forget a person’s name almost as soon as I’ve been told it for the first time,” using a scale of 1 to 6 where 1 was “almost never” and 6 was “almost always.”

The also examined their reactions to various health messages — including their motivation levels — and then followed up with them later to find out if their motivation caused them to make healthier choices or not. The study revealed that those who scored lower for being mindful were less likely to make healthier choices in their lives.

On the other end of the spectrum, those who scored higher for being mindful reacted more positively to health messages and were less likely to feel threatened or get defensive. Not surprisingly, these people who were more mindful were also more likely to be inspired and motivated to change their unhealthy habits to healthier ones.

In another related study, researchers found that mindfulness meditation produces physiological evidence linked to reducing stress and anxiety. Participants showed reduced biomarks of stress-hormone and inflammatory responses when they were asked to undergo a stressful situation after taking a mindfulness meditation course. In comparison, subjects who took a regular stress management class (which didn’t involve meditation) showed worsened stress responses when they were asked to complete the stressful task.

So, in addition to the practice of mindfulness itself helping people open themselves up to being more receptive to positive health messages, mindfulness may also help regulate negative responses of resent and defensiveness to these health messages by reducing stress and anxiety. After all, practically everyone can relate to feeling a bit stressed out in response to someone or something basically sending the message that we’re not as healthy as we should be.

Mindfulness is the ancient practice of bringing the mind and body to the present moment so that we can pay attention to our inner and outer experiences as they’re happening without controlling or judging them. You can turn mindfulness into a meditation simply by intentionally setting aside time to do it, or alternatively find a quiet space where you can sit, close your eyes, and tune into yourself and/or the environment around you.

Making mindfulness or mindfulness meditation a part of your life could mean the difference between short-term healthy habits that just don’t stick and long-term healthy habits that last a lifetime. Check out these five ways to meditate if meditation scares you.

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Photo Credit: Thinstock

41 comments

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran9 months ago

noted

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Winn A
Winn A9 months ago

Thanks

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Winn A
Winn A9 months ago

Interesting

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Winn A
Winn A9 months ago

:-)

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Amy Ingalls
Amy Ingalls9 months ago

Interesting connection

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Virginia Miller
Virginia Miller9 months ago

Thanks for the info.

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Mona M
Mona M9 months ago

Thank you for informing innocent or ignorant people that our beautiful world has been and is bombarded by business influences.

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Richard T
Richard T9 months ago

Thank you!

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JD She
JD She9 months ago

Noted

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Kathy K
Kathy K9 months ago

Interesting. Thanks.

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