- Written by Dr. Stephanie Shelburne Dr. Stephanie Shelburne
Remember the last time something stopped you in your tracks and took your breath away?
Maybe it was a sunset, a song, or even a taste of something so amazingly delicious it evoked a spontaneous and unencumbered exclamation of pleasure? There's a name for that. And believe it or not, the more of that you have in your life, the healthier you are.
I call that moment an 'mmmmm factor' moment. It's the sweet spot where your inner world and your outer world come together and complete and total non-language, neurochemical agreement that something is beyond good.
Sweet spot moments actually re-calibrate your nervous system and contribute to greater health and well being. Keep reading if your life could use a little more mmmm....
In the science geek world a sweet spot moment is often referred to as the 'point of encounter' and it signifies that for a brief moment all of your bodily systems and your internal and external reality are having a spontanous moment of delight.
Mmmmm factor moments increase your 'aesthetic intelligence'; the more you have the smarter you are and the healthier you become.
But only if it's the real deal. You can't fake an mmmmm factor experience. Your body just won't be fooled.
So, how do you know if it's the real deal?
The Genuine Mmmmmm
The real deal mmmmm is a biochemical reaction that occurs when everything lines up. It's actually an autonomic response, that typically stimulates a deep inhale and a brief snippet of slow motion. It only lasts a second or two but trust me that's enough to work its magic.
Not everything delicious, or fun, or interesting is an mmmmm situation. Without getting too technical, it sort of boils down to the chemistry of 'wanting' something versus 'liking' something. When we crave or 'want' something we are motivated to seek it out. The brain chemistry of 'wanting' and trying to satisfy an appetite is great because it gets you moving, but it's not the one that produces the mmmmm factor.
To experience the mmmmm, your "seek and consume" chemistry typically needs to be in neutral. In other words, you have to slow down enough that your bodymind has the opportunity to actually respond with the chemistry of "liking" whatever it is that's capturing your attention. Think about it, that sunset wouldn't take your breath away if you didn't for just the briefest of moments, stop and let your vision register it. It takes a pause to allow your brain train to switch tracks...
How do you get more Mmmmm?
The only way to up your mmmmm factor is to notice what you're doing when you're doing it. Mmmm factor living and spending your life on autopilot or chronic distraction don't really co-exist well. That's a good thing, because really who wants to live their life on autopilot??!?
What's not to love about feeling fantastic inside, outside, upside, downside...
So, the way to get more mmmmm in your life is to get back into your body and let your senses participate in what you are doing. I'd use the phrase 'slow down' but that tends to panic people, as if they have to find more time. Believe it or not it doesn't take any more time to be present than it takes to be on autopilot. A minute is a minute whether you are paying attention to it or not.
So, tune in, let your tongue taste that bit of food, let your nose smell it and your mouth feel it.... see what happens. Let your skin feel those clothes you have on most of the time, let your body feel the sun and your feet feel the ground and your eyes see the sunset (or sunrise).... that's the way to get more mmmmm.
Eat, move, and think your way off the couch and into an mmmm factor life... whether it’s a mmmmm factor gastro-fabulous meal or mmmmm's of bliss... You will be happier, healthier, and juicier!