The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has put itself firmly on record as being deeply concerned about our national epidemic of stress at the individual, organizational and societal levels. NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) broadcast on September 7th its annual Stephen E. Straus Distinguished Lecture in the Science of Complementary Therapies. The lecture was titled A Nation Under Pressure: The Public Health Consequences of Stress in America.
The American Psychological Association (APA) recently documented a worrisome increase in stress in the U.S. population (Stress in America https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress). Uncontrolled stress can cause or worsen anxiety, depression, PTSD and a wide range of clinical conditions affecting every organ system. Medical students, residents and practicing physicians experience higher levels of stress than their age-
Of all the sciences, medicine uniquely combines all domains of the human condition-
Medicine has always attracted the best and the brightest. Most applicants to medical school are also inspired by a desire to be of genuine service and express their deepest human values through their professional lives. This ethic of altruism, compassion, meaning and service distinguishes medical students from most other professional students.
This new patient was a desperate, mid-
Modern life is taking its toll on our nation’s mental and physical health. Physicians and their patients both suffer from stress-
Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy MD has sounded the alarm regarding our country’s epidemic of stress.(1) He calls for a serious national effort to mitigate the corrosive effect of chronic stress on every organ system. He calls for a nationwide campaign to spread a preventive, behavioral lifestyle prescription of healthy eating, physical activity and genuine social support (other than social media). Based on solid peer-
Behavioral medicine research confirms the value of mind-
Relationships are at the very heart of medicine. I recently saw one of my favorite patients whom I had not seen in 10 years. I have thought of her often since the hospital took over my Estill County practice in Irvine and I moved to Lexington. Wanda always lifted my spirits. She always asked me how I was doing because she cared about me. We joked and laughed while managing her chronic medical conditions. She was good medicine for me.
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and cravings as nothing more than thoughts and allow them to simply come and go like any other thoughts -
Mindfulness is the world’s leading behavioral, mind-
Mindful eating is a basic mindfulness skill. Bringing attention to the act of eating can transform an ordinary activity into a health-
Seven kinds of hunger
A useful review of the various ways to conceive of hunger is offered by pediatrician Jan Chozen Bays in her book Mindful Eating–A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food. Based on her work as a physician and mindfulness meditation teacher, she helps patients and families re-
Practical, ancient meditation practices and modern lifestyle medicine can be combined to help physicians and their patients achieve overall health goals through mindful eating.
This new patient was a desperate, mid-
His son later told me that his father had actively embraced mindful eating and other mindfulness-
Where is your attention when you eat?
Do you love the pleasure of eating so much that you overeat from sheer enjoyment rather than from physiologic hunger cues? Do you overeat as a self-
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is defined as paying attention to present moment experiences, intentionally and nonjudgmentally with openness and curiosity. Mindful eating means paying complete attention to this plate, this bite, this sip, in this moment. It means paying more attention to the food itself and less attention to the distractions all around you and inside your mind.
In particular, the regular practice of body scan meditation increases the capacity for mindful eating, accurate assessment of hunger cues and successful weight management. With practice, you can train yourself to experience your food desires
Dr Patterson chairs the Lexington Medical
Senator Alvarado earned his bachelor's degree in biology from Loma Linda University (California) in 1990, and then went on to receive his Doctorate in Medicine in 1994. He completed his medical residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Kentucky in 1998. Society's Physician Wellness Commission and is certified in Physician Coaching. He is on the family practice faculty UK College of Medicine and teaches nationally for Saybrook School of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences (San Francisco) and the Center for Mind Body Medicine (Washington, DC). After 30 years in private family practice in Irvine KY, he now operates the Mind Body Studio in Lexington, where he offers integrative mind-