Mindfulness has many benefits that can improve your health and well-being.
In this constant, “always-on” world it can be difficult to find a moment to pause. Many of us move from one thing to the next, often juggling multiple tasks at once. Though in living this way, it can be difficult to connect with ourselves and just be.
Enter mindfulness. This ancient practice has remarkable benefits, from helping to reduce stress to improving mood and mental clarity.
What is Mindfulness?
The Oxford Dictionary defines mindfulness as: “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique”.
Mindfulness is about being present and being aware of your experiences without judgment. It is as simple as paying attention to the feel of a soft sweater as you put it on to noticing the color of a flower as you walk past it.
It has gained in popularity in Western cultures throughout the last few decades, but mindfulness practice has been around for thousands of years.
Meditation is one example of mindfulness practice, but being mindful is also just being in the moment. You can practice mindfulness by engaging your senses fully and concentrating only on the task at hand.
When we are mindful, we experience the world through our senses. We learn how our minds work and become better equipped to handle the constant thoughts and feelings we are having.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Recent scientific studies have shown that mindfulness has many remarkable benefits. Mindfulness has been proven to improve physical health, mental health, and overall well-being as well as:
- Reduce Stress
All of us can probably use a bit of stress reduction! Mindfulness can help reduce stress by building inner strength and awareness. The more mindful you become, the abler you feel to deal with whatever life throws at you.
- Decrease Anxiety
Mindfulness helps you deal with intrusive thoughts which in turn can reduce anxiety. Through mindfulness practice, you can better recognize unproductive worries and push them away.
- Improve Mental Clarity
By practicing being in the moment, your ability to pay attention and your focus improve. Some studies have shown that with consistent mindfulness training, you can sharpen your memory and improve mental performance.
- Improve General Health
Scientists have discovered that mindfulness can lower blood pressure, improve sleep, improve pain tolerance, and can help with weight management.
Mindfulness is often referred to as a “practice” because it takes time to master. Start slow with a few minutes a day and eventually progress to longer mindfulness sessions if and when you feel ready.