By Donna Gates, as seen on:
If you eat while driving or take lunch in front of your computer screen, you may be absorbing less than you realize!
In 1987 the journal Gastroenterology published a study demonstrating how profoundly distraction can affect our ability to fully absorb nutrients from food.
In the study, participants sipped on mineral-rich drink while in a relaxed state. Researchers found that all of the minerals in the drink were absorbed.
Next, they asked participants to focus as two different people spoke to them at the same time. Then, the same mineral-rich drink was offered. The results? Participants showed a marked decrease in their ability to fully absorb the nutrients in the drink.
The Benefits of Fully Experiencing One Bite At a Time!
Attempting to listen to two people at once creates psychological conflict. Researchers found that this conflict was significant enough to affect the parasympathetic nervous system.
The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for what is known as a state of “rest and digest.” In other words, this is when we are able to spend energy on the release of digestive juices and enzymes.
This 1987 study is cited often because it shows us that small stressors, such as multi-tasking, is enough to send out an alarm signal that halts digestive function.
While this may not seem like a big deal at first glance, further research has determined that a lot can go wrong when the digestive process is at all impaired. For example:
- Bacterial overgrowth, which can lead to constipation or diarrhea.
- Abdominal bloating, cramping, and gas.
- Gut permeability, also known as “leaky gut.”
- Energetically, our inability to digest food can signal our inability to digest life.
The digestive system literally links our outer environment with our inner environment. When problems arise in the gut, if left unchecked deeper problems are sure to follow.
Multi-Tasking Affects More Than Our Digestion.
Most of us live in a face-paced, modern environment that prizes a high degree of productivity.
- We do as much as we can in as little time as possible.
- Or, we are surrounded by so much stimulation, that a day without our smartphones or computers can seem like utter isolation.
This shift has left many of us out of touch with the simplicity and health found in each moment.
Ultimately, we are healthier and happier when we are able to simply rest in the moment of now.
Science proves this in the relationship between the digestive system and the nervous system.
But we do not need a stack of studies to show us what we already intuitively know: That in this moment you have a choice. You can overload the nervous system with thoughts, emotions and tasks. Or, you can fully participate in one experience at a time, without waiting for or rushing into the next.
What happens when we are not regretting the past or planning the future? What happens when we fully experience each moment?
We live mindfully. We cultivate stillness. And we open the door to pure possibility!
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