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  • The One Buddhist Teaching That Can Lower Your Stress

    mindful eatingThere’s a Buddhist teaching that says, “When you eat, just eat.” It’s a simple way of reminding folks to be mindful of everything they do. It’s also a great reminder to not multitask. It’s also a great way to lower your stress level.

    Studies have shown that regular mindfulness reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. On the other hand, studies have also shown that people who multitask are less productive and less efficient, no matter how great they think they are at multitasking.

    Why It Matters

    I chose this particular teaching primarily because of its simplicity. I also chose it for a literal lesson it teaches us: We are less likely to overeat, if eating is the only thing we’re doing. Wouldn’t that help with the stress of an expanding waistline?

    The beauty of this teaching is that it doesn’t just apply to eating. It can apply to literally anything. Here are a few examples:

    • When you talk to someone, just talk to them
    • When you read, just read
    • When you look at art, just look at art
    • When you watch something (child, nature, movie), just watch it

    It can also help us break habits. For instance, if you want to start breaking the habit of looking at your phone compulsively try this:

    • When you pee, just pee – Bonus: you never drop your phone in the toilet if you don’t take it in with you
    • When you dine out with friends, just dine out with friends – put your phone in a pocket or purse where it’s out of sight. Bonus: You look like a fully functional human who’s capable of interacting with other humans in a face-to-face manner
    • When you hang out with friends, just hang out with friends – Bonus: People will like you so much more if you pay more attention to them than you do to your phone.

    To show you how easy it can be, I’m gonna walk my talk. In a couple days, I’m going to my first ever professional conference in sunny San Diego. While I’m out there, I’m going to visit some friends who live there and enjoy some vacation. During the conference part of my trip, I’m going to focus on each conference presentation or class, and only that presentation or class as it happens. When I’m with my friends, I’m just going to be with my friends and experience whatever we’re doing at the moment.

    What ONE thing can you promise to apply this principle to? If you’re so inclined, I’d love for you to share it in the comments, in the form of “when I _____, I will just ____,” so others can get inspiration from you.