5 Benefits of Mindfulness

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.

Self-Care Tips for Women

Self-care is now all the rage, and for good reason! Studies have shown that women who practice self-care activities like regular exercise, healthy, mindful eating, and sleeping sufficiently find more satisfaction in their work and personal lives. In instituting more self-care behaviors into your routine, it’s important to remember these things!

Self-Care and Hard Work Can Coexist

Self-care and hard work are not mutually exclusive. Making time for self-care does not mean that you are not working hard or that you are being lazy. In fact, it takes dedication and commitment to schedule time for yourself each and every day. And remember, self-care can happen at work too! Self-advocation, asking for support when you need it, time management, knowing when to say no… these are all valid modes of nurturing your soul and caring for yourself!

Self-Care Does Not Have To Take A Lot Of Time

Often, people nix the idea of practicing self-care because they believe that it will take too much time. That, however, is not the care. There are plenty of small, brief ways to be kind to yourself that you can include in your daily routine. Many modes of self-care can be done without so much as lifting a finger.

Self-Care Is Not Earned

Self-care is not transactional. It is not a treat or reward for hard work or doing things for others; it is a necessity. You deserve to be treated with kindness, compassion, and love – from others and from yourself.

Self-Care Is More Than Just Leisure

Self-care is more than just an activity. It’s more than doing nice things for yourself or participating in hobbies that you enjoy in your free time. It’s about changing your attitude and developing positive self-talk. It’s about not being hard on yourself after you make a mistake. Saying no and setting boundaries. Recognizing, accepting, and allowing yourself to feel emotion. Reminding yourself that your thoughts and feelings are valid. Self-care is doing what’s best for your whole being: mind, body, and spirit!

Realize That Self-Care IS NOT Selfish

Ultimately, the biggest thing to remember is that self-care is not selfish. Sometimes, it can be viewed as such, but that is not the case. Look at it this way: the people around you need you to take care of yourself. In fact, you’re a better friend, parent, and person when you’re kind to yourself. Prioritizing self-care is a way to ensure that you’re always at 100% for the people who rely on you and care about you!

Self-care is key. Make sure to take some time to be kind to yourself, especially in the new year! What are some ways that you’re practicing self-care right now?