In today’s fast-paced world it is so easy to get distracted by competition, stress, and goals. While mindfulness has been around for ages, it is now the hot trend that helps busy professionals, parents, and students better navigate life by being present and aware of where we are and what we’re doing. It is accepting the moment and not overreacting or feeling overwhelmed when challenges arise.
Participating in a mindfulness meditation is not only an investment in your mental well-being, but your physical well-being will be enhanced as well. If you’re looking to reboot your life and see change, fostering a mindfulness practice may be just the key to jumpstart your life in a more positive direction that will promote a healthy lifestyle.
What Is Mindfulness?
Just as the word suggests, it is a state of being where the mind is present and you are fully engaged in the world around you. You are attentive to the senses, your feelings, and what you are doing. It may seem like a trivial concept, but if you watch your thoughts for a moment, you will notice that we, as human beings, can get caught up in the chaos of the mind, in a steady stream of thoughts that take us far from the here and now. Dwelling in the past or making plans for the future is not so uncommon. We are all guilty once in a while, but it is the ability to become aware when our minds are adrift to bring our focus back to the current moment and be actively engaged in it. Mindfulness meditation helps to foster the tools to live a more mindful life and reap these life altering benefits. Keep reading to learn how.
1. Mindfulness meditation reduces stress.
This is one of the more crucial benefits to the practice of mindfulness meditation. In this cut-throat, success-driven world in which we live today, there is a sense that we cannot unplug from our careers or our never-ending to-do list for want of falling behind. Guided meditation can help decrease the presence of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, creating a better balance and promoting a more relaxed approach to life. Tuning into the mind and changing the way in which we see the world and the demands of society can help us to live a better, happier life.
2. Mindfulness meditation decreases pain.
According to Psychology Today, mindfulness meditation has shown evidence to reduce chronic pain by 57 percent. Seasoned meditators have reduced it by over 90 percent in clinical trials. Visual studies have proven that the practice of mindfulness has in fact soothed habitual brain patterns that once caused pain, and over time, this shift in thinking has taken root and altered the structure of the brain itself, diminishing if not eliminating the pain’s intensity.
3. Mindfulness meditation enhances decision-making abilities.
Ruminating about the past is not so uncommon, but what if these thoughts distort the way in which you see and experience the present moment? Mindfulness meditation helps to keep your mind present, only having to tackle the obstacles at hand without any outside influence, i.e., not allowing past emotions or future fears from making a decisive decision that will impact your present self. Restraining yourself from being a victim to your thoughts and staying grounded in the moment can foster clearer thinking and a solid ability to make conscious decisions.
4. Mindfulness meditation can change bad habits.
Practicing mindfulness shows us what’s going on at a given moment, so we can evaluate our actions and let go of old habits that no longer serve us. Mindfulness invites us to be curious about what’s going on around us and within us, which can be a very intriguing experience for the brain. Curiosity might evoke the realization that you’re feeling restless or stressed in certain situations, around certain people or with particular substances. Acknowledging this newfound awareness can help us take steps in shedding the old behavior and fostering a new, healthier way of being.
5. Mindfulness meditation improves concentration.
Originating from Buddhist philosophies, mindfulness is described as "the meditative state of being both fully aware of the present moment and of being self-conscious of and attentive to this awareness.” By concentrating the mind on a single object, that being of the present moment, practitioners are able to slow down the cognitive chatter in their heads, becoming rooted in the “now” which allows individuals the ability to relish in the stillness and concentration that comes with enhanced awareness.
6. Mindfulness meditation fosters better sleep.
People find it hard to close their eyes and fall to sleep when their minds are abuzz with chatter and stress from the day. Mindfulness helps shift their focus and energy away from that which happened in the past or is a figment of the future and find a sense of calm, a state of relaxation in the moment. The ability to let go of the things you have no control over, expectations, and stress can improve your ability to get a restful night’s sleep.
7. Mindfulness meditation balances emotions.
As stated before, the ability to let go is revolutionary in the practice of mindfulness. When we relinquish our expectations of ourselves and others, the things we cannot control and ultimately the outcome, we shed unwarranted suffering. This ability to detach from highly charged emotional experiences and ways of living helps us reduce our emotional reactivity and allows us the ability to progress along life’s journey with more grace and ease.
8. Mindfulness meditation helps you enjoy routines.
People often find it difficult to stick to a workout routine or eating a healthy, balanced diet. They often find the act uninteresting or unrewarding before results are actually realized. Mindfulness helps you become engaged and even absorbed in the routine at hand. Becoming an active participant and making mindful decisions increases the likelihood of your enjoyment, thus giving you less reason to avoid it and more evidence to engage in the activity.
9. Mindfulness meditation nourishes relationships.
Mindfulness makes us better communicators. When we are fully present in a conversation or discussion, we are more respectful, focused, and responsive. You also foster a sense of patience which also betters how you interact in certain situations.
10. Mindfulness meditation helps you embody a new perspective.
Practicing mindfulness fosters reflection and understanding of yourself which opens up new perspectives on life and your place in this world or may inspire you to explore it more in depth.