The Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness
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
It is the practice of being aware of ourselves without
getting caught up in thinking about the past or worrying about the
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
Likewise, left unchecked the mind can wander and unleash all
kinds of negative thoughts and emotions including anger,
cravings, jealousy, depression and countless others.
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
- 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.
- Slow down. Take a deep breath before
beginning an activity, no matter what it is, and focus on the process.
- 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
- Practice. Get practice being
mindful by performing a task you usually do impatiently or
unconsciously, such as brushing your teeth, and do it mindfully.
- 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
- 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
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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