In this article, I will explain how mindfulness can change your life. I will teach you how to practice mindfulness and what are the benefits of mindfulness.
Our mind is the greatest resource we have that helps us experience every single moment of our life. We rely on our mind for almost anything in life. We expect it to keep us happy, emotionally stable and focused. However, we spend little time taking care of it and, as a result, our mind can become our worst enemy.
Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally being present in the moment. By practicing mindfulness, you will become aware of your thoughts without getting carried away by them. Mindfulness allows you not only to notice the thoughts as they appear, but also to make a choice of how you respond to them.
Mindfulness is a choice that you can make at any moment. It helps you better understand how you feel and what you are experiencing, without replaying the past or worrying about the future.
The practice of mindfulness allows you to see how your automatic thoughts are the main causes of pressure, anxiety and stress. By identifying the negative thoughts patterns and understanding they are not facts, you will begin to get less distracted by them and, as a consequence, improve your mental and physical health.
The practice of mindfulness involves 4 easy principles:
1. Pay attention to your breathing
2. Be aware of the thoughts that enter your mind
3. Without judging, let the thoughts go
4. Bring your attention back to your breathing
It is normal to have millions of thoughts passing your mind when you start to practice mindfulness meditation. Don’t try to fight the thoughts. Instead, observe them without judgment and slowly let them go. The less attention you give them, the more they will fade away.
Benefits of mindfulness
- Decreases rumination. Rumination is the process of focusing on your negative thoughts and feelings, their causes and potential consequences. Mindfulness is helping you be in the present moment and allows you to stop the negative anxious thoughts. With practice, the rumination process will start to decrease and you will learn how to live more in the here and now.
- Reduces stress. Mindfulness helps you process feelings and emotions differently. The structure of your brain changes and you become less and less emotionally reactive. By observing your feelings and emotions without judgment and letting them go, mindfulness teaches you that you are in control of your own thoughts.
- Helps you focus. Mindfulness teaches you how to be present in the moment. You will be able to focus on the task you are performing in the present without finding yourself daydreaming or ruminating about your problems. By focusing solely on the task you need to do, without getting distracted, your productivity level will increase. The more you practice being present in the moment, the easier it will become to focus.
- Increases relationship satisfaction. Mindfulness helps you respond better to conflict by improving your ability to communicate and practice empathy. By becoming a better listener, whilst being able to control your emotional reactivity, you will develop healthier and stronger relationships. Read more about the effect of meditation in relationships here.
- Helps control your anger. Anger is your mind’s instant response to a stimulus. By practicing mindfulness, you will be able to observe your physical reactions like increased heart rate or clenched fist or teeth before you act on them. Mindfulness helps you respond wisely to things that happen to you, rather than just reacting blindly.
- Strengthens your immune system. Research has found that mindfulness helps strengthen your immune system. Mindfulness reduces blood pressure, alleviates pain and moderates your body’s production of cortisol (the stress hormone). Moreover, mindfulness helps overcome anxiety and depression which are linked with a weak immune system.
- Helps you become more understanding. Mindfulness helps you better understand your feelings and emotions and the impact your actions can have on the community and the environment. By practicing mindfulness, you will become wiser and will make better, more ethical decisions.
- Helps you relax. By being in the present and detaching from your thoughts and feelings, mindfulness helps you relax. With practice, mindfulness helps you stay relaxed and in control in any situations.
- Makes you aware of your automatic thinking. By practicing mindfulness, you will become aware of your automatic thoughts and identify them when they occur. You will be able to notice the difference between your automatic mind and the present moment.
- Improves happiness. Mindfulness helps you enjoy life to the fullest and feel satisfied. By being present in the moment, you give your full attention to the activity you are involved in and prevent yourself from worrying about other tasks that need completed or problems you might have.
- Teaches you how to let go of overthinking. By practicing mindfulness, you train your mind to learn how to let go of overthinking and come back to the present moment.
- Reduces stress. Stress is a very common reaction to a busy, overwhelming life. Even though mindfulness does not reduce the number of problems you experience in life, it helps you respond better to stressful events.
- Helps you fall asleep faster. An overthinking mind is the main cause of finding it difficult to fall asleep. Even when you are physically tired, an overactive mind can stop you from relaxing and sleeping. Mindfulness before sleep helps you let go of your thoughts and as a result, fall asleep easier.
- Helps you lose weight. Overeating has been associated with anxiety, stress and depression. When you are under stress, you are more likely to make unhealthy food choices and engage in impulse eating. Mindfulness helps you become more self-aware about the food you are eating and the consequences of your food choices.
- Decreases your psychological distress. Mindfulness helps you identify and be aware of your anxious thoughts and recognize that they are only thoughts. It helps you realize that you don’t have to chase them down, to figure them out or to fix them. Realizing that your mind has the habit of creating anxious thoughts will help let them go.
- Develops self-love. Mindfulness allows you to see the negative thoughts patterns without identifying with them. The more you look at your negative traits from a place of self-compassion and self- love, the more they fade away. Feeding your negative thoughts and feelings by either fighting them or identifying with them will stop you from being your true loving self.
- Keeps you grateful. By being present in the moment, you are allowing yourself to experience life in a positive way. Not dwelling in the past or worrying about the future gives you the opportunity to be grateful for everything you have.
I hope this article thought you the benefits of mindfulness and how it can change your life. By only practicing 10 minutes daily, you will improve your mental and physical health in incredible ways.
”Freedom means being able to choose how we respond to things. When wisdom is not well-developed, it can be easily obscured by the provocations of others. In such cases we may as well be animals or robots. If there is no space between an insulting stimulus and its immediate conditioned response—anger—then we are in fact under the control of others. ”- Andrew Olendzki
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All the best,
(Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists)
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