In the chaos of daily life, we often skip between layers of our thoughts, losing a grip on all the frantic thoughts buzzing in our mind. One credible trick to calm your thoughts is mindfulness. This form of meditation helps to provide an orientation to your disoriented, intermingled web of thoughts. Resultantly, it gifts you the much desired peace of mind and an alert and agile mind frame. The mindfulness benefits are not limited to this only. There are several merits that can be reaped by simple mindfulness meditation.
What is mindfulness?
Before tapping into the numerous merits of mindfulness, it is essential to clear all doubts concerning the meaning of this meditation form. Mindfulness is the state of being aware of your train of thoughts without compartmentalizing them as good or bad. It is about keeping a track of your vicinity to notice things.
Mindfulness focuses on the present by living in the moment. Psychology Today defines it as, “A state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.”
Former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Professor Mark Williams, elucidates, “An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs.”
He also adds, “Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment.” Thus zooming in on your present is the main message of this kind of meditation.
Here is an overview of the key mindfulness benefits that will encourage you to live in the moment.
Mindfulness promotes mental wellbeing
Mindfulness translates into living in the moment. This equates to abandoning dark thoughts that worry over the future’s uncertainty or dwells on the mistakes of the past. Hence, in the first place, mindfulness meditation shoves pessimism and sad thoughts to the back burner.
By focusing on the present, you also see things anew. This brings into the limelight the countless blessings that surround you. Pre-mindfulness takes such blessings as granted. Post-mindfulness, however, you will be grateful for all the blessings.
Lastly, as mindfulness allows you to see things via a fresh lens paired with sharpened senses, you will be able to pick depression and anxiety in their early stages. In this regard, Prof. Williams, explains, “Awareness of this kind also helps us notice signs of stress or anxiety earlier and helps us deal with them better.”
Improves physical health
The benefits of mindfulness extend to the physical aspect of your health as well. Research has been constantly digging up the correlation between physical wellbeing and mindfulness meditation. Some of the clear ways in which mindfulness can boost your health include well-regulated blood pressure, relieved stress, reduced chronic pain, improved sleep, and a cut down of gastrointestinal health concerns.
A study found out that although mindfulness cannot ease the pain caused by arthritis, it can help to reduce the associated stress and fatigue. Furthermore, mindfulness also serves as a motivating force for shedding the extra pounds.
A survey revealed that 7 out of 10 psychologists consider mindfulness training a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ strategy that supports weight loss goals.
Boosts cognitive functioning
Mindfulness also corresponds to enhanced cognitive functioning. Matters such as stress and anxiety can take a toll on your mental capabilities over time. A study highlights the mindfulness is linked to reduced cortisol levels. This means that there is a reduction in the levels of stress hormones.
In addition to this, another study clearly confirms improved cognitive performance as an essential token of mindfulness benefits. As per this study, researchers tested college students who were trained in this form of mediation. The results showed that mindfulness spiked their performance on the section of verbal reasoning. A passage from the study outlines, “Our results suggest that cultivating mindfulness is an effective and efficient technique for improving cognitive function, with wide-reaching consequences.”
Encourages good sleep
A Gallop survey reveals that less than 40% of Americans get the recommended hours of sleep. The problem is so severe that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) terms sleeplessness a growing epidemic. The effects of sleep-deprivation extend to more than just yawning the next day. A lack of sleep corresponds to an increased risk of certain cancers, heart diseases, diabetes type II, Alzheimer’s disease and more.
A survey by consumer reports indicates that 7% of individuals from a respondent pool of 4,023 US adults had trouble falling asleep. The same source also reveals that, as of 2015, Americans spent $41 billion on sleeping aids. Mindfulness, however, provides a natural antidote. A study concludes that mindfulness helps to sleep properly.
The study’s researcher, Holly Rau said about the findings, “People who reported higher levels of mindfulness described better control over their emotions and behaviors during the day. In addition, higher mindfulness was associated with lower activation at bedtime, which could have benefits for sleep quality and future ability to manage stress.”
The mindfulness benefits extend to more than just improving cognitive functioning, promoting good sleep, facilitating physical and mental wellbeing. It also includes boosted productivity and improving the ability to tolerate various diseases such as arthritis and cancer.