Mindfulness is essential for not only health coaches, but for patients as well! You need to understand and practice mindfulness so that you can show patients how it is beneficial and to help them work on their mindfulness, as well.
There are two areas of health coaching where mindfulness is especially important, stress management and mindful eating.
When it comes to stress management, the practice of mindfulness allows a client/patient to reframe his or her thoughts so that stress is minimized and positivity is maximized. Helping clients focus on the good things can help keep them from being discouraged throughout their behavior change process. Perhaps a patient is only able to cut down from one pack a day to a half a pack a day after one month of their behavior change process. Instead of allowing them to be discouraged by how long the process is taking, celebrate with them on the fact that change is happening and they’re seeing improvement! Use journaling, affirmations, or other techniques that can help keep patients in a positive mindset as they move throughout the change process.
For mindful eating, the concept looks a bit different. The key to eating mindfully is to stop eating mindlessly… in other words, do not eat out of boredom, do not overeat because you were given a large portion, and create a positive attitude about eating, rather than allowing negative or guilty thoughts to enter into meal time.
The keys to eating mindfully are:
- Notice your cravings
- Minimize distractions and focus on the present
- Check portion sizes and use smaller serving ware
- Be aware of your fullness level while eating
- Express “mindful attitudes” of self-compassion, patience, joy and gratitude!