Thanks to promotion from leaders like Arianna Huffington, Russell Simmons, and Oprah – mindfulness is in the global spotlight. Other than being the buzzword of the moment, what exactly is mindfulness – and can it help you? The answer is yes, and we’ve got the deets on how mindfulness can improve your life.
So, what exactly is mindfulness?
By definition, mindfulness is a state of active attention on the present. It’s a state of self-reflection where a person takes the time to acknowledge the current moment and the experience they are having. If you’ve ever spent a minute taking a deep breath, acknowledging your state of mind and current situation, you have spent time being mindful.
While it may sound similar to meditation, mindfulness and meditation are actually two separate things. Both practices encourage clearing your mind, but meditation focuses on contemplation while mindfulness focuses on your awareness of the present. If you’re thinking that they still sound the same, they are – you can practice both and feel great doing it.
Mindfulness meditation, as we’ll call it from here on out, has a lot of benefits that you can carry into different aspects of your life. Here are a few reasons why you might want to start incorporating mindfulness meditation into your day.
There are real physical health benefits
Similar to how stress, depression, and anxiety have physical effects – mindfulness does as well, but the effects are positive instead of negative. Practicing mindfulness strengthens your physiological responses to negativity while simultaneously strengthening your immune system. Recently, a study showed that mindfulness meditation affected the perception of pain and that mindfulness can cut the pain one feels by 50%!
It makes you nicer
We know that you’re already one of the nicest people around, but research has shown that those who practice mindfulness meditation can make individuals less judgmental, more self-aware, more compassionate, and on top of all of that – a better listener. Who would say no to any of that?
Mindfulness improves mental health
If you’ve ever dealt with depression, anxiety, stress, or another serious condition, mindfulness probably played a role in your recovery. Mindfulness helps us gain better control on how we process pain and emotions, and continuing to practice mindfulness can lead to stronger positive emotions. Plus, it has been shown to decrease feelings of loneliness, so you’ll never have to worry about FOMO again!
It helps you focus on what’s important
Whether you’re striving for more creativity, intelligence, health or a combination of the three – mindfulness can help you focus on being your absolute best. By teaching us to accept our ‘true selves’, we can see ourselves and our circumstances more clearly; instead of focusing on the past, we can focus on the present with a clear mind and be more effective when making decisions.
It can be fun
If you’re looking for a way to start mindfulness meditation, find a local practice near you and join a group. Or, if you’re looking for a way to relax, try it on your own to start and see how it helps you.