Disrupt your Nine Hungers with One Simple Mindfulness Tip

Mindfulness is the #1 food trend that will shape 2018 according to Forbes.[i] Being mindful at mealtimes and throughout the day is more than paying attention to the food we choose, prepare, and eat. It is learning to recognize hunger in its various forms. It is being able to eat without being impacted by external influences and noticing and respecting fullness. It is eating for enjoyment while nourishing our bodies.

Many of us have forgotten what true hunger feels like. We eat for many reasons besides being physically hungry. Personally, much of my hunger used to be mindless, before becoming mindful of consumption of tech, media and food. Experts across the fields of mindfulness and behavioral sciences talk about several types of hunger. See if you recognize these in yourself:

  1. Visual Hunger. We all have the natural desire or urge to look at food. Seeing crave-worthy food, physical (donuts in the break room) or virtual (e.g., food porn) can make us want to eat, now!
  2. Nose Hunger. Our sense of smell is linked with taste. Smelling the cookies in the oven, or rotisserie chicken in the store, can trigger this hunger.
  3. Ear Hunger. The sounds of meal preparation can kick-start salivary glands – like the sound of bacon sizzling in the frying pan.
  4. Mouth Hunger. Food can taste good! And as one craving for flavor is satisfied, our mouth hunger can perk back up if we switch to new tastes.
  5. Stomach Hunger. When our tummies rumbles, it could mean there’s an absence of food there, but a growl can occur at any time on an empty or full stomach. The rumbling is from the muscular activity in the stomach and intestines and from gas moving around.
  6. Cellular Hunger. When our bodies need particular nutrients, there may be physical manifestations like a headache, fatigue, or irritability. Understanding this takes sensitivity and inner wisdom.
  7. Mind Hunger. Our minds are busy (and maybe stressed) thinking 60,000 thoughts per day! Learning to calm our minds helps quiet the mental chatter and allows us to tune into what our bodies need and want.
  8. Mindless Hunger. This is when we eat out of habit or are distracted and eat on autopilot: in front of a computer or phone screen, in front of the big screen at a movie, or maybe even outside at a ballpark.
  9. Emotional Hunger. Often, eating is linked to emotions. We may associate foods with treats from our past or think of them as offering a sense of relief from unpleasantness.. We may have unmet emotional needs. At these times, we may turn to food for comfort and even develop habit loops around the cycle of discomfort and eating.

Mindfulness can help us identify these and choose the best way to satisfy them. When I want to ground myself in mindful presence, in the here and now, I do what I call an ABC check-in. It is a simple, effective method for identifying your hunger type. This is how you do it:

  • Attention: Focus your awareness on the present moment.
  • Breathe: Take a few deep, conscious breaths to center the mind and move from your mental narrative to calmly and directly experience life as it is.
  • Curiosity: Become actively curious about what is happening in your body, heart and surroundings. Being an engaged, nonjudgmental observer of what you are experiencing, like a scientist gathering data, will increase your perceptiveness.

ABC check-ins are a powerful way to become aware of your hunger and intentionally decide how to satisfy it. I write about how applying this in all food situations a__ such as food shopping and going out with friends transformed my connection to both my food and myself in my book, Mind to Mouth.

For example, noticing which emotion you’re experiencing can help identify alternate activities if what’s hungry is your heart, not your body. True hunger builds slowly and can be satisfied by healthy choices like apples and carrots. If your desire for food comes on quickly and only a pint of ice cream will do, you are likely not experiencing physiological hunger.

Try an ABC check-in next time you feel like eating or snacking to connect your mind and body become conscious of what is driving your hunger. You may be surprised at what you discover!

[i] 10 Food Trends That Will Shape 2018, Phil Lempert

Can you prove wellbeing, culture and social responsibility programs impact retention and brand?

Watch our Webinar to learn how your company can achieve your positive business engagement goals.

Did you know that Forbes has named 2018 “The Year of Employee Experience”? WeSpire Founder & CEO Susan Hunt Stevens and Malia Atta, diversity business consultant for MGM Resorts, shared their expertise in a webinar about how to inspire employees to take positive action and how to prove it’s driving impact.

In the first part of the webinar, Stevens highlights two new modules that WeSpire launched in January. The first module is focused on holistic wellbeing with campaigns like mindfulness, meditation, stress reduction, and healthy eating. The second is focused on positive workplace culture, including diversity and inclusion, driving innovation, agile work and gratitude. She shares how using WeSpire’s analytics tools, companies are able to measure the impact that various programs are having on retention, performance and brand.

Our guest speaker Malia Atta from MGM International also shares their experience using the platform to tackle implicit bias and engage employees in diversity and inclusion initiatives at MGM. said Malia Atta, Sr. Business Consultant Diversity & Inclusion of MGM Resorts International.

In this webinar, you will also learn about:

  • How WeSpire’s new Wellbeing module helps employees be more active, healthy, mindful and less stressed and how the Positive Culture module drives agile, inclusive and resilient workplace cultures.
  • Our partnership with Urban Labs, an organization which works with businesses in integrating diversity and inclusion into leadership and corporate culture
  • Our new IdeaBoards feature, a crowdsourcing tool that allows employees to submit, vote, and comment on new ideas to collectively bring the best innovations forward

Hosts Include:

  • Susan Hunt Stevens- Founder and CEO, WeSpire
  • Malia Atta- Sr. Business Consultant, Diversity & Inclusion, MGM Resorts International

#MakeAmericaWell Encourages CEOs to Take Ownership for Employee Wellbeing

If you’ve ever used Classpass, taken a PureBarre class, or booked a haircut appointment, chances are that you’ve used the app from Mindbody Online, an innovative technology company that helps wellbeing companies to run and scale their businesses digitally.

Last week, co-founder & CEO Rick Stollmeyer took out full page ads in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, met with Jim Cramer and appeared at the NASDAQ to issue a call to action to the business leaders of America. America’s employees are not particularly healthy, it’s costing everyone a lot of money [$3.4T was spent on healthcare], and people need help and support to improve fitness, eat healthy and reduce stress which contributes to 75% of the expense. The #MakeAmericaWell challenge encourages business leaders to commit to investing more in employee wellness.

However, Mindbody doesn’t offer employee wellbeing solutions to corporations directly and Stollmeyer wanted to offer a solution for those leaders who took the challenge and needed one. We were so proud when MindBody decided to include a reference to WeSpire in the challenge – and highlight our increased investment in wellbeing programs and our revolutionary behavior change platform. This way, leaders who want to invest more in wellbeing but are struggling to implement a program have at least one option right in front of them.

“At MINDBODY, our purpose is to help people lead healthier, happier lives by connecting the world to wellness. WeSpire provides an employee wellness solution that allows corporations with a technology platform to design, run and measure the impact of their employee engagement initiatives.These programs encourage employees to take actions that are good for them, good for the company and good for the world we live in.” said Amanda Patterson, VP of Corporate & Brand Marketing of Mindbody.

So if you think your company’s leadership should increase their commitment to employee wellbeing, encourage them to take the #MakeAmericaWell challenge. And if you are at a company that’s struggling to design, run and measure the impact of employee wellbeing campaigns, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to help.


What are our turbulent weather events trying to tell us?

I’ve read many articles recently linking the multiple turbulent weather events to global warming. However, I believe there is a deeper meaning and connection, that few people are noticing and it’s called apocalypse.

The word does not mean the end of the world, but an uncovering or revelation. And what is that revelation? I believe the natural disasters we are experiencing should be viewed as a wake-up call that there needs to be a shift in mass consciousness.

What is mass consciousness? According to Gloria Excelsias, president of an educational platform with focus on psychological and spiritual development, it’s the consciousness of the masses. And unfortunately, it isn’t positive. It means being led by your subconscious mind, living on automatic pilot, not owning one’s power, not loving one’s self, and attacking others for lack of self-worth and personal power. How many people do you know who are actually in control of their minds, feelings, emotions and lower-self desires? The majority of people are not and because we are all connected, it’s having a negative impact on everyone.

How does this show up in the workplace? Lack of leadership, Corporate greed, decisions made based on ego and out of fear, clinging to the status quo and an unwillingness to change, people throwing one another under the bus instead of taking personal accountability, etc. And what is the byproduct of this? Dysfunctional cultures and disengaged workers.


If you’d like to begin the journey out of mass consciousness, Excelsias offers a few tips:

  1. Own your personal power and be assertive.
  2. Become completely whole within yourself so you don’t look externally to fill a perceived emptiness inside of you.
  3. Be vigilant for love and against fear.
  4. Understand that Earth is a school which you graduate from by learning to move out of mass consciousness.

Are the multiple turbulent weather events linked to global warming? Most likely. But I choose to believe that they seek to serve a greater purpose: the revelation that what we’re doing and how we’re being isn’t working. There’s a better way.

Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She was recently named a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book,If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth.

Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or jill@jillchristensenintl.com.

WeSpire’s founder was honored to be included with Jill on a list of 100 Most Influential People in Employee Engagement. This post was used with permission from her award-winning blog.

What to do About Monster Storms? Absolutely Nothing.

Every time I boil an egg, I am reminded of people who have no eggs. No eggs, no water, no power, and whose chickens are god knows where.

From my privileged perch above the (rising) Boston harbor, equipped with wifi, plenty of food, organic everything, and a cache of red wine, I stare at the eggs bobbing in the roiling Caribbean sea of my humble cooking pot. And I observe the simple principle that as water heats up, it boils.

As we all now know, elevated water temperatures can cause significant trouble on an oceanic scale.

Consider the Caribbean Ocean, and on into the Atlantic Ocean, which lap the shores of lush vacation spots and major urban centers, i.e. Houston, Miami, San Juan, and, further up the coast, New York and Boston. September hurricanes here have shattered records for velocity, frequency, disruption, cost, and suffering.

Every day brings more evidence of a changing climate: Arctic sea ice is disappearing rapidly, accelerating sea-level rise. Alaska permafrost is thawing, spewing dangerous methane into an overloaded atmosphere. Conditions are ideal for wildfires in the West. Conditions are ideal for all of it.

Americans are awakening to the reality that our political leaders in control are exacerbating climate calamity instead of protecting an increasingly aware population from these extremes.

In the United States, we have in place a range of policies that all but guarantees a worsening string of Katrinas, Sandys, Harveys and Irmas and, now, Marias as far as we can see into the future,well-known hurricane specialist Kerry Emanuel writes in the Washington Post. Climate change acts as a threat-multiplier to these policy-generated disasters, making them progressively worse than they would have been in a stable climate.

Last night at a South-End dinner party among new acquaintances, the conversation turned from the delicious food to clean-tech investments and climate-policy issues and then to the anatomical manifestations of a new classification of stress.

“I must have rock marbles in my shoulders,” said one foundation executive, wincing and shifting in her seat. Across the table, an interior designer nodded vigorously. “I have TMJ. Otherwise known as clenching your teeth,” she explained to the group.

“Are you a clencher or are you a grinder?” the foundation executive inquired.

“Clencher. My doctor gave me a mouthguard to wear when I sleep. It wasn’t cheap, and it doesn’t work.” In a low voice, an insurance banker mentioned his worsening neck spasms.

We all want to know when the next storm will hit.

One psychologist says that hurricane Irma was “one of the most anxiety-inducing storms” in memory before, during, and after the storm hit mainland Florida. The images and the length of time it took to get here made it even worse. In waiting for the storm, you are talking about the fear of the future and when it’s over, you are talking about the fear of what you are returning to, if anything. Floridians raced to board up their houses, sandbag the garage, pack their cars, and bundle up their kids and pets for evacuation, only to revise those plans with each storm-tracker update. Since Irma was the size of France, it easily covered the entire peninsula.

“People are worn down by the process of awaiting a storm, the process of fighting gas lines, the process of evacuating, staying with friends or family.” This from a New York Times report titled “Frazzled Floridians in Search of a Balm” posted on September 14.

Ricardo Arduengo/Agence France-Presse. Getty Images

As the heat index hovers above 100F today in Maria-savaged Puerto Rico, where the hospital corridors are dark and air conditioning is a fading memory, the rest of us contribute to relief efforts, grind our teeth, and boil our eggs. The big picture is coming into focus for tens of millions: This is what climate change looks like.

And, we want to be part of the solution.

First, I have a humble suggestion:

Do nothing.

For ten minutes.

Every day.

Sitting quietly, aka meditating, is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and sanity. It’s free, it doesn’t take much time, it will help you think more clearly, and you will do everything better.

Concentrate on your breath. You know, breath: the air that goes in and out of you, which keeps you alive allday/allnight without you paying much attention. For ten minutes, pay attention: Breathe. Count one as you inhale, two as you exhale. Try counting to eight. Inhale, exhale, 5, 6, 7, 8. Then try sixteen.

You’re still sitting there, right?

Easy? No. It is not. You’ll fidget, you’ll get side-tracked, you’ll think about what’s for dinner. That’s completely to be expected. Never mind. The point is to set those things aside, again and again. And again.

Return to the simple task at hand: do nothing.

Fortunately there’s an app for this! I live by Headspace, Andy Puddicomb’s brilliant meditation university on a phone. Imagine a world where we can all choose our own surnames! “Puddicomba” is perfect for this savvy, soothing, mindfulness expert equal parts friendly cockney bloke-at-a-pub and enlightened spiritual leader on high. Like all successful on-screen edutainers, Andy can become a dear friend. In truth, he can become essential.

At last count, more than 6 million people around the world are Headspacers. Try it free:https://www.headspace.com/

And, or, find yourself a great yoga class. They’re all around.

When you pay attention in this way, you are building an insistence on being your best so you can do your best work in the world. Returning to the simple exercise of stillness and breathing, you learn to do one thing well, one at a time. And that, my friends, is the path to accomplishment.

Image @NASA

NASA Satellite Images

Sarah Finnie Robinson is a Founding Partner at WeSpire. She is also a Climate Solutions influencer & investor and a Climate Reality Corps Leader. You can find her on Twitter @SarahFRobinson. This post was originally published at www.huffingtonpost.comon September 27, 2017.