Improve Your Life With Mindfulness
It’s a busy world. Most of us catch ourselves doing one thing while thinking about something completely different. You may be planning your weekend while listening to the radio and driving to work, or maybe you’re the person who can type a paper and simultaneously think about what you need to get from the store for dinner. In the rush of actions and thoughts flooding through your mind together, you may find yourself completely disconnected from what you are doing and how you feel. This auto-pilot feeling is something that I am sure we have all sensed at one time or another, but how do you change it?
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present that makes us aware of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and our surrounding environment. Additionally, when you are mindful, you are in a “no judgment zone”–instead of dwelling on a thought or feeling being “right” or “wrong,” you just think and feel. When mindfulness is practiced you focus in on what you are feeling in that moment instead of worrying about the past or planning for the future.
Mindfulness was originally cultivated in Buddhism, but it has been brought into mainstream medicine by Jon Kabat-Zin and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. This program,along with thousands of other studies, has demonstrated that practicing mindfulness can benefit people in multiple physical and psychological ways as well as improving their well-being.
Physical Health Benefits Of Mindfulness
- Help treat heart disease
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce chronic pain
- Improve sleep
- Improve gastrointestinal issues
- Boost immune system
- Fight obesity
Psychological Health Benefits Of Mindfulness
- Increase positive emotions and decrease negative emotions
- Reduce stress
- Fight depression
- Prevent relapsing (substance abuse, eating disorders)
- Increase gray matter associated with learning, memory, emotion regulation, ability to pay attention, and empathy
- Reduce symptoms from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Improve Well-Being With Mindfulness
- Practicing mindfulness supports many attitudes that help to attain a satisfied life
- Advance compassion and altruism
- Build more satisfied relationships
- Improve level of happiness (and reduce suffering)
- Reduce anger, hostility, and mood disorders
Practicing mindfulness allows you to “Say Yes to Life” by accepting and allowing experiences as they occur, without the thinking mind constantly judging or labeling. It can allow you to focus more on the present moment and now instead of getting hung up worrying about the future or regretting the past. It truly can help you lead a more peaceful and fulfilling life, just as it has for me.