What does mindfulness mean?
Mindfulness is a kind of meditation where you concentrate on being extremely conscious of the sensations you are feeling at that moment. The practice of mindfulness includes breathing techniques, guided visualization, and other methods that could help the mind and body relax and minimize stress.
Wasting your time thinking of negative thoughts, solving problems, and daydreaming can be exhausting. These can also make you anxious, distressed, and feel depressed. Mindfulness can help you drive these undesirable thoughts away and become involved with what’s going on inside and around you. For example, you will notice that your head hurts when you think about your bills, that there are butterflies in your garden, or a little bird sings the same tune every morning. Without mindfulness, you do things without giving any thought on the matter.
Health benefits of mindfulness:
Problems from sleeping often come from worrying and stress. Stress causes anxiety and apprehension, making it difficult for you to sleep. When done before going to bed, mindfulness meditation may help in reducing insomnia and other sleep-related issues by making you calm. A study showed that mindfulness meditation can improve the quality of sleep and the researchers have noted that the improvement in sleep also reduced sleep-related disabilities during the day that can affect the quality of life.
Aids in weight-loss
Exercise and diet immediately come to mind when you read about weight loss. However, research suggests that practicing mindful eating can help you manage your cravings, boost your image, and promote healthy eating habits. In mindful eating, you focus on the taste, texture, and color of your food. Eating slowly without any distractions helps you become aware when you are already full so you will not overeat. It can also make you calm and help prevent having digestive issues.
Decrease stress levels
Life can be fast-paced, you just woke up in the morning and before you know it, it’s already night time. You get stressed thinking of the things you were not able to do, things you have to do, and things you fear that you will not be able to do at all. You need to learn how to manage stress and reduce the effect it has on your body and mind. In mindfulness meditation, you pay attention to what’s happening at the moment and this helps you control fast, repetitive, and unproductive thoughts that cause stress. A study showed that meditation helps relieve stress.
Reduce loneliness in the elderly
Growing older has its own challenges and many elderly suffer from loneliness due to different causes. A study showed that during an 8-week MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) program, loneliness, and pro-inflammatory gene expression among the elderly is reduced.
Eliminate fleeting negative emotions
Taking a walk is good for your health but taking a walk while being mindful of your breathing and your surroundings is even better. The mindful movement has been observed to lessen fleeting negative emotions among college students in this study.
Studies have shown that with just a little meditation even a beginner practitioner can experience an improvement in their ability to maintain their focus and memory.
Helps in managing severe aches and pains
Chronic pain is something that millions of people are experiencing. There are many kinds of chronic pain and they have different treatments. One of the best ways to help manage severe pain is through mindfulness meditation. A study showed that participants who practiced mindfulness meditation were able to experience a 22 percent decrease in pain and a 29 percent decrease in anticipatory anxiety.
Helps in preventing depression from relapsing
Based on research done in 2016, MBCT (mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) a psychotherapy method that integrates mindfulness meditation procedures, can help in lowering the risk of having a depression relapse.
Finding some time to practice mindfulness these days can be difficult as we focus on finishing our daily tasks, catching up with family and friends, worrying about the future, and other stuff that occupies our mind even as we sleep
You can start practicing mindfulness while you mow the lawn, water the plants, answer emails, or while you’re on a video call. You only need to be aware of the moment, your breath, your feet on the grass as you mow, the flowers in the garden, the letters on the keyboards as you type, or what your colleague is saying while on the call.
You will get distracted at times but don’t let those distractions get you. Return to the moment and go back to being mindful of the present. Take it slow and before you know it, you’ll have a more mindful and healthy happy long life.