Popsugar Fitness Healthy Living Is Mindfulness the Same as Meditation?
A Neuroscientist Explains How Mindfulness Can Help Prevent Overeating May 1, 2019
by SAMANTHA BRODSKY
You might have heard about mindfulness for the first time when you were little — your parents probably told you to be mindful of your tone. Then, in high school, you were told to be mindful of curfew, and when you hit the working world, you had to be mindful of deadlines. The concept of mindfulness is simple yet difficult for people to grasp all the same. It’s a topic of conversation that’s increasing in popularity via social media, in workout classes, on the checkout line at Trader Joe’s — but what exactly does mindfulness mean?
What Is Mindfulness?Neuroscientist Jud Brewer, MD, PhD, director of research and innovation at Brown University’s Mindfulness Center and associate professor in psychiatry at Brown’s School of Medicine, told POPSUGAR that a number of professionals in his field prefer to use “awareness” in lieu of “mindfulness” because the latter is a something that you often have to define for people. It’s “helping them be aware of what’s happening and also helping them really pay attention to the push and pull of experience,” he said. More important, it’s about not being pushed or pulled; not getting caught up, but still being curious about our experiences.
When we get caught up in cravings or get anxious about something, there’s this feeling of contraction, Dr. Brewer explained, meaning the literal feeling of “closing down,” which is common in anxiety. It’s also how we feel when we resist certain urges.
Mindfulness is about letting go of our frustrations and not resisting our experience, Dr. Brewer said, and when we implement mindfulness practices and stop resisting, that feeling of urgency and contraction dissipates…