Episode #35 Is Mindfulness Bogus New Age “Science”?

February 17, 2015

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Mindfulness is often described in terms of meditation protocols and in a somewhat mystical way. That is a misnomer perpetuated by folks in the media who would rather relabel meditation by calling it something different. Mindfulness is not meditation.

The mindfulness I am going to talk about today is actually a form of paying attention.

Paying attention to what we are feeling inside and making behavioral changes on the outside to get a positive response of what we feel on the inside. That is the mindfulness I am going to discuss today.

We can use mindfulness in myriad ways- from mindful movement, mindful communication, mindful eating, etc. Mindfulness is a base skill upon which we can build powerful pillars for living.

Today we are going to discuss how to use mindfulness to heal and nourish your body.

Mindful of mindset- Mindset helps us to regulate the way we experience and respond to stress- whether emotional stress, food stress, chemical stress, and physical stress.

Our bodies were designed with only one stress response- the fight or flight response of our Sympathetic Nervous System.

Sympathetic Nervous System- designed to save our life in the event of an emergency (tiger on the savannah)- The SNS shuts down our higher functions like digestion and healing in order to focus all of our energy on a physical threat- for a very short period of time. Once the threat is over, our body relaxes as our Parasympathetic Nervous System begins to dominate.

Parasympathetic Nervous System- is designed to nourish and heal our bodies- it keeps us relaxed and responsive without being reactive. A reactive body is in fight or flight mode. A responsive  body is in rest and relaxation mode. The PNS keeps us alive and in shape for the long haul.

In theory, both the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System exist in balance- most of the time our Parasympathetic system is activated with a certain level of alertness driven by the SNS.

When we are under constant threat (worrying, living in a bad neighborhood, etc) our SNS is activated- ultimately this depletes our body in several ways:

  • Keeps us from properly digesting food (and thereby absorbing nutrients)
  • This leads to malnutrition over a longer term that cascades in to diseases.
  • Glandular exhaustion. Constant taxing of the glands- digestive, adrenal, thyroid, hypothalamus, pituitary, sexual glands, etc- depletes them. This also leads to a degenerative cascade of diseases.

What you can do:

  • Of course you can meditate/pray/visualize.
  • Plan meals and eat sitting down undistracted.
  • Pray or give thanks prior to the meal (bless the food)
  • Eat with friends and family
  • Chew your food
  • No eating on the go, no reading or tv at the table, no eating in the car

I am going to do this for the next month and report back.

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