Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness
Mindfulness has become a popular word in the media, and with good reason. As you probably already know, mindfulness comes with a number of good benefits for your entire being. Just like exercise and eating fruits and vegetables improve your health, so too does mindfulness.
In fact, mindfulness is one of the easiest ways to improve both your physical and mental health. It is affordable, always with you, and pinpoints a lot of issues all at the same time. If you want to boost your overall health, mindfulness is a great option. Here are some specific ways that mindfulness benefits you:
1. Decreases Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are often caused when we think too much about the past or future. Impending deadlines, the death of a spouse, and a future visit from your in-laws are all common causes for stress and anxiety, and they all involve thinking about the past or future in some way.
Mindfulness brings you back to the present, taking you away from any of the harmful thoughts that cause stress and anxiety. As a result, that mindfulness decreases your stress and anxiety in the present and makes you feel better all around.
2. Improves Physical Health
As mindfulness decreases stress and anxiety, it also improves your physical health. Stress and anxiety are two of the biggest contributors to major health illnesses, such as heart disease, obesity, and respiratory illness. When you decrease your stress and anxiety, your chances of developing these other health problems decrease dramatically.
Studies also suggest that practicing mindfulness will improve other health conditions as well, such as blood pressure, chronic pain, insomnia, and gastrointestinal difficulties.
3. Sharpens Your Mind
Mindfulness may have the most impressive benefits on your mind. If you practice mindfulness consistently, you can expect to have increased focus and concentration. By nature, it is difficult for us to stay focused on one topic. Mindfulness forces us to resist distractions and learn how to be more focused throughout our lives.
This training further sharpens your mind as it helps you follow through with goals. Regardless of whether your goals are health-related or financial, mindfulness helps us keep the benefits for our goals in our mind. This allows us to follow through with and achieve our goals better.
4. Makes You More Compassionate
Several studies have also shown that mindfulness improves compassion towards both others and ourselves. Self-compassion is especially affected by mindfulness. It is so easy to have a harsh self-critic that only focuses on the negatives and failures. Mindfulness encourages us to take a more honest and compassionate look at ourselves in all situations, allowing us to be more compassionate people.
The main reason that mindfulness makes us more compassionate is that it encourages us to respond to situations, not react. When we respond, we carefully consider our feelings, the situation, and the feelings of others. This allows us to be more compassionate and realistic about situations we find ourselves in.
5. Improves Relationships and Life Satisfaction
Increasing life satisfaction should be everyone’s biggest goal. We only have one life to live, and so we should make the most of it. Even if life seems to be going great, it can always go better, and we can always create a more ideal life for ourselves.
Mindfulness is a great way to increase life satisfaction. It increases our well being, allowing us to experience greater life satisfaction. This includes satisfaction at work, home, and in relationships. Though mindfulness will not solve all your problems, it will make you more content and happier with the life you are living.
When you practice mindfulness, you can expect your close relationships to improve, motivation for work to increase, and your overall satisfaction to improve.
How to Get Started
Although every person is capable of mindfulness, it can be difficult to get started, especially if you’ve never tried it before. Since mindfulness is not something that comes naturally to us, we must work at it and be intentional in our actions. Here’s how to get started with mindfulness training:
1. Think About Your Goals for Mindfulness
Depending on where you are in life, you may have different goals for mindfulness. You should understand what your goals are from the beginning so you can best execute mindfulness training to improve your life. It is important to note that mindfulness should never be to create a blissful life. Challenges and hard times will always be a part of life. There is nothing you can do to change that. You can use mindfulness, however, to respond more healthfully and compassionately when those times arise.
2. Brainstorm Ways to Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Daily Routine
As we said previously, there are countless of ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life. If you are busy and don’t have that much time to commit to mindfulness, simply think of ways that you can involve mindfulness into your current routine. For example, you may want to incorporate mindfulness practices into your morning routine. Whether you start the morning by reading a newspaper or sipping on a warm cup of coffee, think about how you can be more mindful while preparing for the day.
Also, consider the times throughout your day when your brain turns off. This may be when you’re driving to work, waiting in line at a restaurant, or scrolling through Instagram. Instead of using these times to shut off, use them to be in the present, and turn on.
This step is incredibly helpful because it allows you to make the mindfulness training fun and relevant to your day. It won’t take up extra time, making it perfect for those who have a busy schedule.
3. Set a Daily Mindful Practice
For those with a little bit more time on their hands, it is a great idea to set a daily mindful practice. Even if you are strapped for time, this is an incredibly helpful and important aspect of mindfulness training.
Begin by selecting a regular time for your practice. If you establish a consistent time for your mindfulness, you are more likely to follow through and practice every day. Simply try to carve out 20 minutes a day. Most people find setting their practice in the morning to be the most beneficial.
Although meditating for 20 minutes may seem like a lot, it is the longer practices that really benefit your life. If you are truly struggling during the first couple of sessions to practice mindfulness for 20 minutes, start with 5 minutes, and work your way up.
4. Doing Your Mindful Practice
After you work through all of the logistics for your mindfulness practice, it is time to get started. Sit down in a comfortable and supported seated position, and make sure that you have good posture. Consider sitting on the floor with your back against a wall to ensure that you are sitting properly.
Gently close your eyes and focus your attention to your breath. Try to imagine what the breath actually feels like going in your nose, down your throat, and out through your mouth. You don’t have to have meditative or deep breathing during this practice, just breathe normally.
Do this for the entirety of your practice.
5. Be Prepared for Failure
As humans, we are not perfect. This is especially true when we are learning mindfulness. Anticipate failure as you are trying to become more mindful. Remember that failure is only a step towards improved results. Be kind and compassionate to yourself whenever these times arise.
If you find you’re getting distracted during your mindfulness training, that is okay. Simply accept the fact that you’re getting distracted and gently bring yourself back to the present. Your brain will naturally learn how to stay away from distractions the more you work.
Mindfulness is really all about you. You can make your practice into whatever you want, as long as you are intentional, kind, and motivated. Here are some key tips to help you create a mindfulness training routine that is beneficial for your life needs:
- Get Creative: Doing the same thing over and over again can be boring and difficult to practice. Get creative by thinking of new ways to stretch your mind and stay motivated in your mindfulness practice.
- Incorporate Your Senses: To get the most out of your mindfulness training, try to incorporate as many senses as possible into your intentionality. Think about your muscles, smell the air, taste the roof of your mouth, and listen to any sounds around you. This will help you to become well balanced and more mindful.
- Be Kind: As we’ve already stated, be kind to yourself. This is an incredibly important aspect of mindfulness training. If you are not kind, you’ll find it difficult to benefit and excel.
Mindfulness is a great way to rejuvenate your life and focus on what really matters. Although it may be difficult at first, know that you are fully capable of becoming mindful. Try incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine for easy and convenient pick me ups.
Additionally, daily mindful practices are a great way to increase your mindfulness and experience the benefits of its training. Just remember to get creative, incorporate your senses, and be kind to yourself whenever getting started with mindfulness.
Although you are likely to fail in the beginning, be kind and respectful toward yourself and keep working.