It reestablishes itself simply by noticing that it has not been present. As soon as you are noticing that you have not been noticing, then by definition you are noticing and then you are back again to paying bare attention. Mindfulness creates its own distinct feeling in consciousness. It has a flavor--a light, clear, energetic flavor. By comparison, conscious thought is heavy, ponderous, and picky. But here again, these are just words. Your own practice will show you the difference. Then you will probably come up with your own words and the words used here will become superfluous. Remember, practice is the thing. As with so many things in the body, the effect of any one possible contributor to depression is not isolated. For instance, we know that antibiotics can disrupt proper digestion and absorption of nutrients, and we know the strong influence of dietary choices. But new studies show that the combination of these factors can lead to substantially greater problems than either one alone. In another study, mice were given penicillin and fed a high-fat diet. These rodents developed more body fat and had higher insulin levels (which leads to the development of type 2 diabetes) than mice exposed to either antibiotics or the high-fat diet alone and compared to mice exposed to neither microbiotic offender. Further, a group of studies demonstrated that aspartame--the key sweetener in many diet drinks and other artificially sweetened, low-calorie foods--caused an even higher level of insulin resistance, consistent with the elevated risk of diabetes. The researchers reported that the aspartame had supported the overgrowth of bacteria strains known to affect insulin tolerance negatively. In short, using aspartame ultimately causes us to crave yet more sweetness, which dumps us in a destructive cycle. These are but a few examples to illustrate a point: we need to be extremely careful about what we consume, because many studies are proving that the typical diet these days contains substances that greatly affect our physical and mental health. Many of these substances we simply take for granted or ignore as part of "normal" food production and preparation. With a delicate ecosystem like the human body, introducing harmful elements creates a ripple effect throughout the entire system.

As a result, to resolve any contributors to depression in this area, we must seek to restore and maintain balance with foods that offer robust vitamins and minerals. For everyone seeking optimal health--and especially those struggling to overcome depression--we should be on red alert about the many ways our modern culture is undermining our efforts to achieve wellness . In other words, you can stand next to someone as they talk (with your arms crossed across your chest) and deal with stubbornness, the inability to persuade them to close the deal, or the response of negativity or you can stand next to them (with your arms by your side), smiling, nodding in empathy, and making solid eye contact - all of which promotes a sense of trust and connection and persuade them to agree to what you're asking, respond in a positive manner and even extend themselves to you for the future! You can do this all without saying a thing. It's that powerful! In order to do the body motion mechanism technique, you simply mirror the body language of the person you're interacting with. The whole idea is when your body language mirrors theirs, you convey connection, trust, understanding, sympathy and a sense of belonging. When you don't mirror their body language, you can convey something much different, and any of the following: pessimism, boredom, complacency, distrust, and negativity. Who would you rather hire for a job, or enthusiastically want to go out on a date with--the person with crossed arms and who avoids eye contact with you, or the one who smiles, nods while I talk, and looks at me in the eye (instead of being distracted while she's speaking to me)? Practice the body motion mechanism technique by copying what another person does, as they are talking to you. If you're sitting side by side, notice their angle. Are their legs turned in towards yours? If so, mimic them by doing the same. Are they smiling? Smile back. Are they looking at you while speaking or listening to you? Look back at them. Sit up straight, with your shoulders rolled back and your back straight (this convey confidence, and confident people as you know by now, are popular people.) You truly do have more control than you think you do. The power of popularity is in your hands. Make others gravitate towards you simply by mimicking something they're already doing!

When you mimic their body language, you'll become someone who instantly becomes trustworthy, caring and magnetizing (the recipe for lifelong likeability!) This reconstruction from suggestive questioning can even occur for real-life events. In 1992 an El Al cargo plane crashed just after takeoff, killing forty-three people. Researchers questioned 193 individuals about the crash, asking them whether they had seen the television film that captured the moment when the plane hit the apartment building. More than half of the people (107) reported seeing the film--but there was no film of the crash! I was having lunch with a number of colleagues one day when my friend Dick started to tell an amazing story about something that had happened to his wife. We were all laughing at the absurdity of the situation that his wife found herself in, when another colleague at the table said, "Didn't that just happen on The Simpsons last week?" It turned out that Dick mixed up what happened on the TV show The Simpsons with his wife's account of what happened to her during the day. While it may seem hard to believe, this is a very common memory error, called misattribution. We have a tendency to take past experiences and jumble them up. We attribute one person's comments to someone else, or think we did something at one time or place, when, in fact, it was actually at another time or place. This misattribution can contribute to the memory errors that we make when asked suggestive and leading questions. For example, it's possible that people recalled seeing the El Al plane crash on TV because they misattributed a film they saw for another crash to the El Al crash. People may have believed they were lost in a mall because they combined a genuine experience of being lost someplace with their actual memories of the mall in question. Former President Ronald Reagan had a habit of misattributing fiction to fact. When running for office in the early 1980s, he repeatedly told a story of a World War II bombing raid over Europe. After a B-1 bomber was hit by antiaircraft fire, the gunner cried out that he couldn't eject from his seat. To comfort him, the captain of the plane said, "Never mind, son, we'll ride it down together." Reagan ended the story by noting that the commander was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism. A journalist curious about the story researched the incident and found no record of the award. However, he did find a scene in a 1944 movie called A Wing and a Prayer that sounded very similar to Reagan's account. In the movie, the captain of a Navy bomber rode the plane down with his wounded radioman, saying, "We'll take this ride together." When the White House was questioned about the story Reagan presented as reality, a spokesman replied, "If you tell the same story five times, it's true." Mindfulness adds nothing to perception and it subtracts nothing.

It distorts nothing. It is bare attention and just looks at whatever comes up. Conscious thought pastes things over our experience, loads us down with concepts and ideas, immerses us in a churning vortex of plans and worries, fears and fantasies. When mindful, you don't play that game. You just notice exactly what arises in the mind, then you notice the next thing. "Ah, this...and this...and now this." It is really very simple. Mindfulness and only mindfulness can perceive that the three prime characteristics that Buddhism teaches are the deepest truths of existence. In Pali these three are called anicca (impermanence), dukkha (unsatisfactoriness), and anatta (selflessness--the absence of a permanent, unchanging entity that we call Soul or Self). These truths are not presented in Buddhist teaching as dogmas demanding blind faith. Buddhists feel that these truths are universal and self-evident to anyone who cares to investigate in a proper way. Mindfulness is that method of investigation. Mindfulness alone has the power to reveal the deepest level of reality available to human observation. At this level of inspection, one sees the following: (a) all conditioned things are inherently transitory; (b) every worldly thing is, in the end, unsatisfying; and (c) there are really no entities that are unchanging or permanent, only processes. Mindfulness works like an electron microscope. That is, it operates on so fine a level that one can actually directly perceive those realities that are at best theoretical constructs to the conscious thought process. Mindfulness actually sees the impermanent character of every perception. It sees the transitory and passing nature of everything that is perceived. It also sees the inherently unsatisfactory nature of all conditioned things. It sees that there is no point grabbing onto any of these passing shows; peace and happiness cannot be found that way. And finally, mindfulness sees the inherent selflessness of all phenomena.

It sees the way that we have arbitrarily selected a certain bundle of perceptions, chopped them off from the rest of the surging flow of experience, and then conceptualized them as separate, enduring entities. Mindfulness actually sees these things. It does not think about them, it sees them directly. When it is fully developed, mindfulness sees these three attributes of existence directly, instantaneously, and without the intervening medium of conscious thought. In fact, even the attributes that we just covered are inherently unified. They don't really exist as separate items. They are purely the result of our struggle to take this fundamentally simple process called mindfulness and express it in the cumbersome and inadequate thought symbols of the conscious level. Mindfulness is a process, but it does not take place in steps. It is a holistic process that occurs as a unit: you notice your own lack of mindfulness; and that noticing itself is a result of mindfulness; and mindfulness is bare attention; and bare attention is noticing things exactly as they are without distortion; and the way they are is impermanent (anicca), unsatisfactory (dukkha), and selfless (anatta). It all takes place in the space of a few mind-moments. This does not mean, however, that you will instantly attain liberation (freedom from all human weaknesses) as a result of your first moment of mindfulness. Learning to integrate this material into your conscious life is quite another process. And learning to prolong this state of mindfulness is still another. They are joyous processes, however, and they are well worth the effort. Obviously, there are scores of helpful books available that dive deeply into the benefits and tools of good nutrition (some are listed in appendix 4, "Recommended Resources," in the back of this book). Within the context of our discussion here, I want to highlight some basic yet essential guidelines related to what you eat and drink and how your body can thrive, even when you are depressed. Even more relevant to the goal of this book, we will focus on what foods actually contribute to depression and what foods help combat its debilitating effects. That is the good news: there are foods and liquids that have been scientifically proven to help fend off depression. Let's start with what we don't want to put in our bodies. Below are some of the main culprits leading to nutritional imbalance.