One of the best ways of being mindful is to adopt a habit of meditation. Meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety, and shift focus to more constructive ideas. You can only think about one thing at a time, so if your focus is on positive things, you will benefit from the uplifting hormones and translate that into positive actions. Gratitude is one of the most powerful focuses you can have. It connects you to others, and it centers on the benefits you already enjoy. It also improves mind-body connectivity. And there’s plenty of research to back up the health benefits of meditation, particularly around stress levels and restorative sleep.

Stress is connected to anxiety in two ways. It’s connected with emotional eating and the release of certain hormones. That’s why people under chronic stress often use food as a way to cope. That leads to overeating or weight gain. Meditation is a great way to control stress levels, so eating for comfort is no longer needed.

When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol. Your appetite increases and your body starts storing more belly fat, both of which severely thwart weight loss efforts. The great thing about meditation is that it releases the wonderful hormones oxytocin and serotonin – which counteract those negative effects.

And finally, another way to be mindful is to use box breathing. Using the 5-5-5 technique to inhale for 5, hold for 5 and exhale for 5 is great to recenter your mind, calm you. Repeat 5-10 times. This works well during stressful moments and also before going sleep. Whether you use sleep meditation or box breathing, it will increase your level of mindfulness and help to promote restorative sleep, reduce stress and reward your pleasure seeking brain.

Do you practice mindfulness or meditation? Share your practice or your intention to start.

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Why is mindfulness a valuable practice for ladies in perimenopause? Well, it’s because it gets us to focus on the present. The past can’t be changed and worry won’t change the future. But by exploring and absorbing what is happening in the present you can acknowledge how you feel about things – pleasure, happiness, sadness, overwhelm – and break it into manageable pieces.