Mindfulness is being aware of your own self, taking time to know your thoughts, giving yourself a break from the fast-paced rhythm of modern life, and appreciating life in general.
Being mindful anchors people in the present moment, making them aware of their surroundings, releasing them from the strain of looking back to past anxieties or overthinking their future actions. It’s an important step in regrounding yourself, find a moment to breathe and enjoy the present. Over time, mindfulness causes long-term changes in mood and levels of satisfaction and wellbeing.
Benefits of mindfulness
One of the most notable positive changes when an individual reconnects with their body and the surrounding environment in the present is reflected in mental health. The benefits of mindfulness are recognized medically, and scientific research backs up this practice that improves an individual’s general wellbeing.
More and more physicians recommend their patients try meditation and a mindful approach before prescribing antidepressants ad this is proving to be a more proactive approach to alleviate depression.
Mindfulness benefits mental wellbeing
Anxiety, depression and, low mood have a close link with constant worrying, inability to let go of fears, frustration, or anger. Life seems an impossible burden, and people stop noticing good things happening around them.
Being disconnected from the moment, not paying attention to the sounds of nature, the fragrant smells of the elements from the daily environment, avoiding people around deepens the feeling of being lost and misunderstood.
Redeveloping self-awareness through mindfulness is part of the healing process. Counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy recommend meditation, breathing exercises, listening to soothing music, and long walks to help manage stress, anxiety, and depression.
By practicing mindfulness meditation, people can better understand themselves and the ambient and manage their emotions more healthily.
A healthy body and a healthy lifestyle is another result of exercising mindfulness.
When people start with meditation to reconnect with the now and themselves, the results can be physically seen as well. Old or inadequate habits are now noticed, assessed, and replaced by new healthy ones like practicing long nature walks, running, or taking new sports.
Dietary changes might also be introduced, thus resulting in visible body changes: shape, change in posture, a cleaner, healthier-looking skin.
One additional benefit of mindful meditation is that it reduces irascibility and the morose approach to social interaction.
Interpersonal relationships are improved by being aware of the moment and calmly analyzing your thoughts, feelings, and powerful emotional triggers.
Mindfulness boosts mental focus, brings clarity, and benefits the workplace.
When people start to notice again the small things happening around them, they can see patterns and links that can provide mental clarity, enhancing the ability to make more expert decisions at work.
Teaching children about mindfulness helps developing self-esteem.
Schools across the world are working on blending short mindfulness sessions at the end of the school day. Mindfulness in school helps pupils relax after a full day of learning and see solutions for their worries, improving school attendance behavior.
In addition, mindfulness for school and high school-aged children develops improved performance in lessons. Pupils are more open to discussing ideas, listening to others, and synthesizing information for their own educational benefit.
How to practice mindfulness
Easy mindfulness activities that can be exercised by adults and children are:
- Taking a break from it all: Start by looking at the world around you, take in the colors, the smells, the sounds, and the feeling of the immediate environment. Focus on the way you feel, your thoughts and feelings at that moment.
- Changing the daily routine: Take another way to school or walk for a change in scenery.
- Practice something new: Martial arts, Tai chi, yoga, hiking bring harmony to mind and body.
- Make time for mindfulness moments in your daily schedule.
- Accept that your thoughts might be overwhelming at times. Focus as much as you can on the moment, not on emptying your mind.
- Unwind through music: Relaxing piano music, other instrumental tunes will help destress, clear the mind and allow inner meditation.
- Take breathing exercises
- Reading is another way to practice mindfulness. The books read should have the power to make you lose yourself in their pages. Those moments are absolutely precious in terms of mind and body relaxation.
- Keep a diary to write your thoughts. This will help get rid of unwanted worries or too many ideas battling against each other.
- Break down daily tasks in small steps prioritizing the actions needed. Avoid multi-tasking whenever possible.
- Introduce new hobbies in your life: gardening, drawing, or painting.
- Be thankful for the moments of joy in your life.
- Set positive goals – many individuals use daily self-affirmations to make things happen by setting their mind on a positive outcome.
Mindfulness is about observing yourself without judgment; being kind to yourself. When unhappiness or stress hangs around, rather than taking it all personally, you find ways to manage them and to observe them as they drift past. In essence, mindfulness enables you to overtake negative thought patterns before bending you into a descending spiral. It initiates the process of placing you back in control of your life.
Practicing meditation and mindfulness is not part of a religion; it’s merely a way to train the mind to simplify your life. Ask your medical advisor about the mindfulness practices, how they contribute to improving health, and any other questions you might have before focusing on starting this journey.