• Ben McCrary

The One Thing You can do Right Now to Change All Aspects of your Health

The word mindfulness is being thrown around a lot lately but what does it mean? Is it a concept like many others that lose their meaning once packaged and sold to the masses? Today I’d like to talk about real mindfulness, what it is, and how it can turn your health around.

To me, mindfulness means paying attention. It’s as simple of that. In acupuncture we look at disease not through the lens of cause and effect but by studying complex patterns of disease and health. Forming a good diagnosis means attuning your senses to notice patterns in your patients. Likewise, anyone can avoid falling into a pattern of imbalance by developing these senses in their own lives. It’s simple, really. Pay attention!

How do you go about your day? What do you do when your day begins? What do you do before going to sleep? How often do you sit? How do you sit? Can you feel what muscles you are using? Can you focus your awareness to different parts of your body or is it difficult? Is any part of your body not relaxed? Do you know when you are tense? What do you do when you’re hungry? How often are you hungry? Do you pay attention to each bite or do you eat mindlessly? These are all just a small piece of paying attention, of practicing real mindfulness.

Here are some ways that paying attention can help you be healthy:

  1. Physically – many injuries whether chronic or acute could be avoided with paying attention to how you move, being efficient, and relaxing

  2. Mentally – Can you quiet your mind and let go? Pay attention to how you think, what patterns of thought that you might be stuck in, be able to focus on what you’re doing.

  3. Financially – Do you spend money compulsively? What makes you spend money other than necessity? How much money do you have? Notice what you have and how you use it.

  4. Nutritionally – Do you eat compulsively? Can you describe your diet? Pay attention to what you’re eating, eat slowly with intention, know where your food comes from, and pay attention to tastes, cravings, when you actually feel full.

  5. Sleep – how often are you sleeping? Do you feel rested? Pay attention to your sleep patterns. Don’t just sleep and wake up. Make sure you get the most out of it by being mindful of sleep hygiene. What keeps you from sleeping well? If you have trouble falling asleep notice what you’re doing before you lay down to go to sleep.

These are just a few ways that practicing mindfulness and paying attention can make your life healthier. It is easy to just go on autopilot but that is when illness arises. Oftentimes we don’t even realize that we are doing things detrimental to our health and balance. Living a healthy life isn’t easy but it starts with awareness. Pay attention!

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