By definition, mindfulness is moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, experiences, and environment. Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness. Mindfulness helps you to silence your mind, calm your nerves, and examine your inner world.
We require constant stimulation, but our minds tend to have shorter attention spans and poorer concentration levels because we are typically unaware of what we are thinking. With growing stress and tension, most of us multi-task and tend to worry about multiple things at simultaneously. The tendency to worry about several things at once interferes with our ability to focus on the present moment. As a result, we tend to function on autopilot and become ‘mindless.’
The concept of mindfulness does not mean that one has to escape to the top of a mountain or sit in a cave in order to experience the benefits. You can practice mindfulness by simply bringing your awareness to the present moment.
- Neuroscience is increasingly supporting the idea that mindfulness and meditation help to enhance perception, awareness, and complex thinking.
- Resilience to stress is one of the key benefits of mindfulness
- Improves mental health
- Improves well-being
- Improves physical health
Most of the stress and anxiety that we experience is created by our own mind and is related to what we think of ourselves and our relationship to the world around us. Meditation trains the mind, in particular the attention, to live in the present moment. Meditation is something everyone can do to improve their mental and emotional health. You can do it anywhere, without special equipment or memberships, making it accessible to everyone.
Contrary to popular belief, meditation is not restricted to conscious meditation practice only. It can be said that you are meditating or being mindful when you are gardening, drawing, painting, playing with your pet, dancing, singing, or listening to music. Trying out a style of mediation suited to your goals is a great way to improve your quality of life, even if you only have a few minutes to do it each day. There are many forms of meditation so if you find that the traditional methods do not resonate with your personal energy, you have options. For example, I like to meditate laying down to take the pressure off of my back, allowing me to focus all of my energy on my meditation rather than being distracted by back pain. Others feel more comfortable with an ‘eyes open’ meditation because sitting with your thoughts at first, can feel daunting.
- Reduced production of toxic lactate. Lactate has been linked to an increase in the likelihood of anxiety.
- Reduces depression (!!!)
- Improved energy levels because the cells are receiving a richer supply of oxygen.
- Improved muscular health.
- Decreased risk of heart disease, hypertension, and stroke.
- Boosts creativity and decision-making ability.
- It can help reverse the effects of aging.
- Better sleep.
- Improves breathing.
- It improves skin health.
- It can help chemotherapy patients.
- Improved immune function.
- Promotes a compassionate and loving approach.