7 Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
In our last blog, we explored the topic of mindfulness, and how focusing on the here and now can positively impact our stress level, self-awareness and productivity.
Mindfulness is a state of calm, non-judgmental peacefulness. Being mindful means being “present” in the current moment by paying attention to the here and now, rather than dwelling on past or future concerns. Mindfulness means developing a moment-to-moment awareness of what we’re experiencing. It’s a state we can all cultivate, rather than a trait some innately have.
Practicing mindfulness meditation each day has proven benefits, according to the American Psychological Association:
1. Stress Reduction
A regular practice of mindfulness meditation lowers stress, anxiety and can even reduce symptoms of depression. It turns out that a lot of stress involves worrying about the future and regretting past actions. By keeping our minds in the present, those thoughts decrease, and stress is significantly lowered.
2. Improved Focus
Many of us battle against mental clutter that destroys productivity. Mindfulness brings that under control by helping us ignore useless thoughts and lengthen our attention spans, improving emotional intelligence and mental stamina.
3. Better Brain Function
Mindfulness enhances brain function. Memory improves, reaction times increase and psychological distress decreases. Compassion and empathy are heightened. Quieting the mind and removing excess worries improves its ability to perform, a benefit we can all appreciate.
4. Decreased Worrying
By focusing on the present moment, those who practice mindfulness are less likely to ruminate on worries about future events or regrets from the past. By being less preoccupied with the future and past, worry levels decrease.
5. Health Benefits
Practicing mindfulness can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension, which both help lower the risk for heart disease. It can improve sleep, boost the immune system, and reduce chronic pain. Clinical trials show that mindfulness can be as effective as prescription painkillers in reducing pain, while simultaneously enhancing the body’s ability to heal itself.
6. Increased Relationship Satisfaction
Being mindful and more emotionally aware lessens the impact and incidence of relationship conflicts. Additionally, with a reduced stress level, we are less likely to bring outside stressors into our relationship. Heightened levels of compassion make us more likely to understand our partner’s perspective and focus on their positive attributes. This all leads to happier, healthier relationships.
7. Quality of Life
Mindfulness improves our mood and makes us happier and more contented. By noticing the present moment, we are more likely to recognize the good things in life and by worrying less, minimize the bad. Regular sessions of mindfulness meditation can lower anxiety, stress, depression and irritability. Along with the health benefits and better relationship satisfaction, it improves overall quality of life.
With so many benefits, why aren’t we all practicing mindfulness meditation regularly? It’s a question worth considering. Like anything, the more you practice, the greater the benefits. It takes about 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation to quiet the mind and achieve benefits. Longer sessions (45 to 60 minutes) are even better and will yield stronger results. Mindfulness is a practice you can cultivate. Try it today!