By Kristyn Kusek Lewis From layoffs to security threats, we live in a crazy and scary world. You could just pray for calmer times — or learn to love the occasionally wild ride.
Life, as you may have noticed, is one great big roller-coaster ride. From job changes (planned or not) to turn-your-world-upside-down milestones like marriage and motherhood, there's no end to the twists and turns you face through the years. And these days, what with headlines constantly reminding you about the shaky economy...
"People often put on weight from trying to comfort themselves with food," says Adam Perlman, MD, executive director of Duke Integrative Medicine.
Although there's not a lot of research showing that meditation directly helps you lose weight, meditation does help you become more aware of your thoughts and actions, including those that relate to food.
For example, a research review showed that meditation can help with both binge eating and emotional eating.
"Any way to become more mindful will guide that process," Perlman says.
How to Meditate
There are many ways to meditate. The CDC says that most types of meditation have these four things in common:
A quiet location. You can choose where to meditate -- your favorite chair? On a walk? It's up to you.
A specific comfortable posture, such as sitting, lying down, standing, or walking.
A focus of attention. You can focus on a word or phrase, your breath, or something else.
An open attitude. It's normal to have other thoughts while you meditate. Try not to get too interested in those thoughts. Keep bringing your attention back to your breath, phrase, or whatever else it is you're focusing on.
Pick the place, time, and method that you want to try. You can also take a class to learn the basics.
Becoming a 'Witness,' Not a Judge
Meditating requires a commitment to stop and look within and around you, even if you have only a few moments, says Geneen Roth, author of the New York Times best-seller Women Food and God.
"The way I teach meditation and integrate it for myself is to focus on being a witness to your thoughts and not so much how long you need to practice," Roth says. "You want to learn how to quiet your mind and sometimes avoid the stories you tell yourself, like you need to go eat cookies or that bag of chips."