The benefits of mindfulness (RIGHT HERE, RIGH NOW Part 5)
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about noticing things as they are, without changing anything. Sensations in our body, mind and the world around us. Mindfulness has been practiced for thousands of years.
In 1979 the American professor John Kabat-Zinn created the stress reduction program MBSR - mindfulness-based stress reduction, that is offered by medical centers and hospitals worldwide as a treatment for stress, but also a wide range of health problems such as pain, anxiety and eating disorders. You can read more about here. It's based on a couple of tenets: non-judging, non-striving, acceptance, letting go, beginner’s mind, patience, trust, and non-centering. And there is a lot of evidence that this approach and practice can help us to reduce stress.
Some benefits of mindfulness
- Decreased stress.
- When focus on the present, we can break the cycle from ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. Two things that can lead to a lot of stress and contribute to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
- Increased inner calm, clarity, understanding and acceptance.
- More awareness of your needs. Which make it easier to cope with daily situations and make better choices.
- Increased energy.
- Improved concentration and emotional regulation.
- Less activity in the sympathetic nervous system, our "stress system". When you induce a state of relaxation, which can be achieved through mindfulness, you can get benefits such as:
- Higher brain functioning.
- Increased immune function.
- Lowered blood pressure.
- Lowered heart rate.
- Better sleep.
Where do I start?
We have more possibilities than ever to learn mindfulness. There are courses, books, apps and YouTube videos that you can use. For example I use the app Headspace daily, they have a 10 day free trial. Start with a few minutes per day, and then you can increase the time. Remember, you can't fail with mindfulness! We are so used to always perform. You just need to be and explore the reality as it is. Right here, right now. I'm not saying it's easy ;)
And if you loose focus? We all do! It happens all the time, even for the most experienced mindfulness practitioners. It's great, because in the moment when you realize you have lost focus you are present and can teach the brain to just continue noticing things as they are. Like any other type of exercise, practice make it easier.
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW - This is Steemit Stress Series
As a part of my goal to help create an oasis of wellbeing on Steemit I will write articles about different aspects of stress and and how to live more mindful. You find all of them here.
Please comment and write your questions below or message me on Steemit.chat @givemeyoursteem . I think it's valuable to share our experiences and discuss different aspects of stress together.