Have you ever heard someone say, “mindfulness practice” and not know what they are talking about? Have you ever rolled your eyes (don’t worry, I did!) at the thought of meditation? –WAIT! Don’t leave because I said the “M” word! Hang with me for a second and I’ll explain mindfulness and many scientifically backed reasons that it’s amazing. For me, it’s the single most effective way to instantly lower stress and anxiety.
What is mindfulness? I like to think of it as 3 things:
1. To know what’s going on in your head at any given time
2. To be okay with or at least not flip out about those things
3. To be fully present in the moment, drinking it up with all of your senses
When all of these 3 things are happening at once, you are experiencing a mindful moment. The mindful moments in our lives are usually the most beautiful ones, even when they aren’t the happiest of times. When we are practicing mindfulness, we’re truly living life and it’s only when we’re in a mindful state that we can connect with true joy, peace and happiness.
Scientists have discovered the benefits of practicing mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in several ways:
- relieve stress
- treat heart disease
- lower blood pressure
- reduce chronic pain
- improve sleep
- alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties
Recently psychotherapists have turned to mindfulness meditation as an important element in the treatment of a number of problems, including:
- substance abuse
- eating disorders
- couples’ conflicts
- anxiety disorders
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
I’ve read a few published articles suggesting that one reason mindfulness practice works is by helping people to accept their experiences—including painful emotions—rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance. This has been true for me in the past, but even more obvious to me is how it instantly calms me and quiets all the “noise” of the world so I can hear my inner voice. I feel like life is just fine and I have purpose and a clear mission whenever I’m in a mindful state, connected to the present moment.
The video below is another great explanation of what mindfulness is.