31 Day Mindfulness Challenge

I just got back from a walk on this sunny bluebird day and I had some thoughts I wanted to share and a challenge I want you to join me in.

I write about mindful eating, meditation, and yoga often and talk with clients about it all the time too.  I think increasing awareness and enjoying the moment in regards to food and just in general is a good thing and an important part of our overall health.

Mindfulness and meditation can no longer just be passed off as some “new agey” thing for hippies.  The benefits of meditation are very clearly noted in scientific literature.  Still having trouble buying it?  Here are 20 benefits noted by Emma Seppala, Ph.D, Science Director of Stanford University's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, with the links to the scientific evidence to back it.
It Boosts Your Health
1 – Increases immune function (See here)
2 – Decreases Pain (see here)
3 – Decreases Inflammation at the Cellular Level (See here) and here and here
It Boosts Your Happiness 
4 – Increases Positive Emotion (here and here)
5 – Decreases Depression (see here)
6 – Decreases Anxiety (see here and here and here)
7 – Decreases Stress (see here and  here)
It Boosts Your Social Life 
8 – Increases social connection & emotional intelligence (see here and here)
9 – Makes you more compassionate (see here and here and here)
10 – Makes you feel less lonely (see here)
It Boosts Your Self-Control 
11 – Improves your ability to regulate your emotions (see here) (Ever flown off the handle or not been able to quiet your mind? Here’s the key.)
12 – Improves your ability to introspect (see here & for why this is crucial see this post)
It Changes Your Brain For the Better
13 – Increases grey matter (see here)
14 – Increases volume in areas related to emotion regulation, positive emotions & self-control (see here and here)
15 – Increases cortical thickness in areas related to paying attention (see here)
It Improves Your Productivity 
16 – Increases your focus & attention (see here and here and here and here)
17 – Improves your ability to multitask (see here)
18 – Improves your memory (see here)
19 – Improves your ability to be creative & think outside the box (see research by J. Schooler)
It Can Help to Reduce Emotional and Binge Eating
20 - Decreases emotional and binge eating (see here)

Ok, so after reading all that, certainly there aren’t many people who can argue the benefits.  Pretty impressive right?  But just like many things in life, knowing something is good for us - like exercise, or eating more fruits and vegetables, etc. –  doesn’t necessarily mean we are great at putting it into practice.

This is the case for me.  I fully know the benefits of meditation and talk about it often, but struggle myself to incorporate it on a daily basis.  I am hard-headed.  So…I am putting myself to a challenge and want you to join me.  For the entire month of October, starting on the 1st through the 31st, I am committing to meditating at least once a day.  I plan on using the app I recommend so often called Stop, Breathe, and Think.  It’s free and provides great guided meditations that range from 3 minutes on up.

I will post daily on my AnnaJonesRD Facebook page just to check in and report that I have done what I have committed to.  Join me there if you like and feel free to provide comments about your experiences throughout the month or the impact it might be having in your life.

So much of forming new habits is making the commitment and doing it repetitively until it becomes a new norm and your new go-to way of doing things.  That is my plan and I hope you will join me!