During the holiday season, our lives are rife with stressors. It’s crucial at this time that you find ways to reduce stress and maintain your physical and mental health. Mindfulness, which is described as the basic human ability to be fully present and aware without overreacting or becoming overwhelmed, is one such way. Here are 5 benefits of mindfulness.
Mindfulness Can Improve Your Physical Health
Did you know that mindfulness can improve your physical health? In fact, studies have shown that mindfulness can positively impact one’s health and increase one’s willingness to engage in healthy habits. These habits include: getting regular check-ups, being physically active, using seat belts, and avoiding nicotine and alcohol. Together, these behaviors can contribute to reducing your risk of many different ailments and diseases including certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke.
Mindfulness Lowers Your Stress Levels
Practicing mindfulness is known to decrease one’s stress levels. By decreasing your stress response, mindfulness allows you to reap the benefits of a stress-free life. When you reduce your stress levels, you see the benefits almost instantly. Higher brain function; lowered heart rate and anxiety levels; increased attention and focus; increased immune function — nixing stress can completely change your life in measurable ways.
Mindfulness Can Improve Attention
The very principles of mindfulness, focus, awareness, acceptance, and observation, are all proven to increase your attention. From paying attention to the present moment to observing and accepting, mindfulness can improve your cognitive behavior and brain function. Over time, mindfulness training can even sharpen your memory and improve your mental performance long term.
Mindfulness Can Manage Chronic Pain
Over 100 million Americans are dealing with some form of chronic pain, which is described as pain lasting longer than three to six months. In clinical trials, mindful meditation has been shown to reduce chronic pain by 57% and some in some cases, by 99%. This effective pain management technique can reduce the worry associated with the pain and simultaneously erase any such emotional or mental tension that contributes to feelings of discomfort.
Mindfulness Can Improve Your Mental Health
It’s long been held that mindfulness is effective as a supplemental treatment for depression and anxiety. It can boost your self-esteem and compassion, thus aiding in the improvement of your overall mental health. This is because the practitioner learns to step back from intense negative emotions and allow them to identify and accept rather than fight or ignore. A 2016 study even found that brief mindfulness training increases emotional regulation, which directly contributes to depressive symptoms.
Consider trying mindfulness on your own! There are dozens of available apps to help you get started.