There are many fantastic mindfulness benefits. Being in a mindful state takes some effort, and some time, but it has some unimaginable benefits.
Mindfulness is one of the simpler meditation practices. It can be done at any time, anywhere. Simply choose a feeling or sensation or action, and focus your attention on it. The simplest form is mindful breathing — concentrating on the feeling of drawing in breath, holding it, and releasing it. The rise and fall of your chest. Your lungs filling and emptying. The air entering and exiting your nasal passage.
But you can be mindful of anything, even eating. Just focusing on something in the “now”, in the very present moment, is all it takes to practice mindfulness.
Let’s get into it. Here’s my list of mindfulness benefits to convince you to start practicing today.
Incredible Mindfulness Benefits That You Shouldn’t Miss!
Lower stress levels, better sleep, an excellent tool for weight management, and easier to manage chronic pain… These are just a few of all benefits that come with a mindful state.
Lower Stress Levels
Levels of stress in the general population appear to be on the rise. Everyone’s always connected online, accessible, rushed, and impatient. The need to protect ourselves from stress-related problems grows by the day.
A review of almost 50 clinical trials found that mindfulness meditation shows “small improvements in stress/distress and the mental health component of health-related quality of life.” Another found that mindfulness reduces how much cortisol, the stress hormone, the body produces.
Increased Attention Span
Even brief meditation training can provide benefits. After just four days of meditation training, researchers found that participants were better able to sustain attention. Working memory, executive function, and visual-spatial processing were also measurably improved in the same period.
Better Sleep and Improved Sleeping Patterns
A good night’s sleep is one of the most important things to overall good health. Restful sleep improves mood and concentration and even helps strengthen the immune system. We heal when we sleep — or at least, sleep well.
Mindfulness helps achieve a better night’s sleep. Significant short-term gains in sleep quality were observed in people who started to practice mindfulness. These improvements in sleep quality naturally lead to a decrease in the negative effects of poor sleep which can significantly impact the quality of life.
Easier to Achieve Weight-Loss Goals
Clinical studies have shown that mindfulness can be a good tool for weight management and loss. A study of overweight and obese women found that mindfulness, particularly mindful eating, helped to stabilize weight and prevent the all-too-familiar “yo-yo” effect of dieting. Other studies suggested that eating a proportion of meals mindfully could help to lower stress eating tendencies and aid in weight-loss efforts.
Helps Seniors Feel Less Lonely
Loneliness in seniors leads to many problems, such as depression. This, in turn, can make many other conditions they might face even worse, resulting in a perfect storm of ill health and negativity. Fortunately, studies show that an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program reduces loneliness, and therefore the related pro-inflammatory gene expression, in older adults.
Clear Out Negative Thoughts
Sitting at work all day isn’t good for your physical or mental health. The positive benefits of simply taking a walk every few hours are well documented. Less well known are studies suggesting that adding mindfulness to the walk, or the day in general, will also help improve mood and clear negative thoughts during hectic working days.
Help Manage Chronic Pain
Hundreds of millions of people experience chronic pain every day. There are many illnesses, injuries, and conditions which lead to it. Non-medication pain management is a topic of growing research, as countries seek to save themselves from growing opioid dependencies in their people. Mindfulness has been found to be one such tool which can help manage chronic pain without the need for constant medication.
Help Prevent Depression Relapse
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a tool used to combat depression and prevent depression relapse. Like most diseases, sufferers of major depressive disorder can relapse even after successful treatment. MBCT helps prevent these relapses from occurring, keeping people in a healthier, elevated mood.
Perhaps one of the best-documented and well-known results of mindfulness is its ability to lower anxiety. Where stress is usually a response to a specific situation, anxiety is often more of a generalized feeling of unease without a specific cause. Mindfulness helps us to remove negative thoughts and stress, which in turn leads to lower anxiety levels.
Grow Your Brain Matter
A surprising — but welcome — result of mindfulness seems to be that it can increase the amount of gray matter in the brain. Research has found that increases in gray matter concentration occurred in the left hippocampus, the posterior cingulate cortex, temporoparietal junction, and cerebellum. These regions of the brain are involved in memory and learning processes, regulation of emotion, self-referential processing and taking perspective.
It takes only a few minutes a day to practice mindfulness. You don’t need special tools, mantras, or systems — just a feeling you can latch onto and concentrate on. Mindfulness is about being in the exact present moment, not worrying about the past or anxiously anticipating the future.
But with just those few moments a day, you can increase your mood, your physical and mental well-being, and your health. Isn’t that worth a few minutes of your time?