Mindfulness is related to meditation, but the terms are not synonymous. Moreover, Mindfulness consists of formal meditation exercises (e.g., paying attention to the body, lying on the ground, or walking slowly with a sense of awareness of one’s surroundings) as well as informal exercises (e.g., paying full attention to what one is doing or experiencing at a certain moment).
Science has gone into great depths on the benefits of mindfulness-based training to improve stress and anxiety. In fact, studies now suggest that mindfulness-based activities lead to stress reduction in employees. A study by Janssen Math et al suggests that mindfulness-based stress reduction, otherwise known as MBSR may help to improve psychological functioning in employees.
We believe we need to change the way we view physical activity in order not to see it as something we ‘have to do’, ‘should do’ or ‘ought to do’ for our health, but as something that we do because we personally value its positive benefits to our wellbeing.
The Mental Health Foundation states “Physical activity has a huge potential to enhance our wellbeing. Even a short burst of 10 minutes’ brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy, and positive mood. Participation in regular physical activity can increase our self-esteem and can reduce stress and anxiety, it also plays a role in preventing the development of mental health problems and in improving the quality of life of people experiencing mental health problems.
Eating plants to fight the blues
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) states, “The magnitude of our mood has far-reaching implications, from our ability to focus at work to maintaining healthy relationships. Following a plant-based diet, rich in antioxidants and polyphenols from fruits and vegetables, can serve as an inexpensive, natural, and noninvasive therapeutic means to support mental health.”
A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry analyzed the dietary patterns and risk of depression in 3,486 participants over a five-year period. Individuals eating whole foods reported fewer symptoms of depression compared to those who ate mostly processed foods. Additionally, when comparing a vegetarian versus omnivorous diet, vegetarians reported more positive moods than meat-eaters, according to a study published in Nutrition Journal.