The Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

mindfulness lotusMindfulness was originally developed in the Buddhist traditions of Asia, but today is used as a technique in which a person becomes intentionally and non-judgmentally aware of their thoughts and actions in the present moment.

It is the practice of being aware of ourselves without getting caught up in thinking about the past or worrying about the future.

One of the big challenges we face in this fast-paced, ever changing world is to be present in our own lives. We tend to get so caught up in the frenzy of what's going on around us that we often overlook what's happening in the moment. 

Why is this a problem? It's a problem because on a day-to-day basis it causes us stress and strain, wear and tear and becomes detrimental to our physical and emotional health.

Likewise, left unchecked the mind can wander and unleash all kinds of negative thoughts and emotions including anger, cravings, jealousy, depression and countless others. 

However, practicing being mindful can harness and manage those thoughts and promote self-awareness and inner calm. 

Researchers who have studied the effects of those who practice mindfulness found that the subjects generally experience less negative emotions, are more happy and optimistic, and have more even left-right brain activity. 

How to Put Mindfulness To Practice:

  1. Start by making the effort. Make a commitment to change the habits of rushing, functioning haphazardly and not paying attention. Notice areas where you are not being mindful.

  2. Slow down. Take a deep breath before beginning an activity, no matter what it is, and focus on the process.

  3. Observe yourself. If the present moment involves stress, observe your thoughts and emotions and how they affect your body. Notice when your thoughts are distracting you from the present moment.
  5. Practice. Get practice being mindful by performing a task you usually do impatiently or unconsciously, such as brushing your teeth, and do it mindfully.

The Benefits

  • Helps you stay focused on what's happening in the present.
  • Helps reduce fear/anxiety and promotes feelings of being in control.
  • Helps prevent binge eating by your making healthier food choices when you pay attention to what you eat.     mindfulness
  • Helps you more fully experience and enjoy what you are doing.
  • Helps you make better decisions since you are more present and have the opportunity to assess.
  • Bolsters your immune system by allowing you to be more relaxed and deliberate.
  • Reduces stress since you're in tune with your thoughts and your body.
  • Helps you enhance your social and communication skills by becoming a better, more empathetic listener.

Being mindful doesn't mean you'll never be in a hurry, have upsetting thoughts and emotions, or not be able to do more than one thing at once. It merely means that you'll be doing them all more consciously. 

You will have more insight and awareness of your choices and your ability to make better ones will be enhanced. To have a calmer, more enjoyable existence, make the commitment today to be more mindful and aware of everything you do.

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