Harvard research has found mindfulness can help a myriad of problems, including depression, of which they report more than 16 million people suffer.
Other reports state mindfulness, especially through meditation, can reduce anxiety and biases. It can improve self-satisfaction within and thinking abilities. This may be because when you become mindful; you learn how to reduce distractions.
Furthermore, practicing mindfulness has been shown to help athletes train better, improves sleep, reduces stress, and decreases blood pressure.
So, what is practicing mindfulness and how can it do these amazing things for your body?
Mindfulness has been defined in many ways, but most agree it is being open and aware of what is going on inside and around you in the present moment. Mindfulness promotes curiosity, acceptance and does not include judgments.
Mindfulness can help you become aware of your physical and emotional needs. Once addressed, you will notice improvements in your overall health. Because mind, body and soul are all connected, mindfulness allows you to heal all areas rather than focusing on just one.
In addition, mindfulness helps our brains do a better job at controlling our thoughts, feelings and actions. It works mainly with the amygdala, the hippocampus and the pre-frontal cortex. In the end, being mindful helps us make better decisions.
Mindfulness teaches you how to be aware of your senses, your breath, your body and your mental health. These are discussed in more detail below, and are the basics when it comes to getting started practicing mindfulness.
Awareness of Senses
Paying attention to your senses is important. Whether it is your sense of taste, smell, hearing, touch or sight, you can learn to use them to your overall health benefit.
For example, when you eat, begin paying attention to what you put into your mouth. Don’t just blindly feed yourself. Allow the food to enter your mouth and then take a moment to assess it. Chew slowly and savor what you eat.
Buy paying such close attention to your food, you can train yourself to slow your eating and be more selective in what you choose to eat. In the long run, you will find your digestion has improved, as well as your weight management.
Allow all of your senses to do their job, which is to send the right messages to the brain that then tells the rest of the body how to use that sensation for the right result.
Your brain and all the organs in your body need oxygen to work properly. Breathing is a mindful practice that correctly helps you get oxygen to these parts, allowing your body to reach its functioning potential.
Breathing in mindfulness is one of the most important factors. It offers you even more benefits than just oxygen. For example, breathing can help you relax and calm down from a stressful day. It can help you reduce negative thoughts and relax tense muscles.
Breathing can clear your mind and help you avoid distractions that can get in your way and keep you off balance. Breathing can help you focus on connecting your mind, body and soul. It can give you something to focus on, like a target, to help you maintain your positive direction.
Breathing helps you begin the next exercise of scanning your body.
Scanning Your Body
The body scan takes your attention away from your “to-do” list and puts it on your body. It helps you relax and get calm, and discover areas of your body and mind that may need help. You can focus on every inch of your body, from your toes to the hairs on your head.
During the scan, you can focus on the sensations you have in each party of your body. You can determine if they are painful, which would be an area that needs attention, or if they feel great.
You may notice your emotions appear at certain parts of the scan. This is good. It teaches you just how connected your physical body is to your emotional well-being, and vice versa. Allow your emotions to surface.
Pay attention to them and work on the parts of your body you feel need improvement. During your body scan, practice loving all your parts. You can use this technique to gain more satisfaction with your body and your whole self.
How to Start Practicing Mindfulness
Many people assume you have to dedicate an hour or more to get the full benefits of mindfulness. This is not true, however. Even ten minutes a day can help you recognize a positive change.
Some people who are short on time try to combine mindfulness practices with other daily habits. For instance, right after taking a shower, take an extra five or ten minutes to be mindful. Other combinations include practicing mindfulness while waiting on the coffee to brew and before you fall asleep each night.
In fact, many report mindfulness helps them fall to sleep faster than other ways.
The key to starting mindfulness is to make sure you are in a quiet, relaxing environment. Also, you need to feel comfortable whether you are lying down or sitting up. If you are not comfortable, you will focus only on your discomfort.
It is always a great idea to seek help from mindfulness professional to help you get started. They can teach you a lot, including what mindfulness is not.
What Mindfulness Is Not
Mindfulness is not just about your attention. It is about paying attention. It is not just a time to lose focus and daydream. Just the opposite is what is needed to be mindful.
It is not a guarantee that you will automatically feel relaxed and comforted the first time you try. It may take several efforts to train you how to be mindful.
Finally, mindfulness is also not hard. It is meant to be an easy task, one that brings you more joy. If you find it to be difficult, you may be doing it wrong.