If you are looking for one incredibly simple way to improve your health that requires nothing more than a thought, then mindfulness is your next positive change. Rather than being a way of living and thinking that requires years of practice, mindfulness can be employed today.
Being mindful simply means to be present in the moment, that is- to be aware of your surroundings, notice things happening around you so that you get out of your own head for just a moment. This does miraculous things for relieving anxiety or depression and acts as a type of reset button when you start to get overwhelmed with planning or details.
So what is being mindful? It’s simply making the effort a few times a day, one an hour, once in the middle of the day- whatever frequency works for you- to take a moment and pay attention to what is happening around you. What can you see, smell, hear, feel and taste. It’s just being present in the moment, for a moment.
Why bother? Well, let’s discuss the health benefits of mindfulness.
It reduces stress
Lowering your blood pressure, allowing you to better regulate your emotions, to cope better, and improve your mood. Chances are that if you are stuck in your own head, it’s because you are worried about something, or feeling a little overwhelmed. Reducing your stress allows you to think more rationally and less reactively.
It reduces pain
Those suffering from chronic pain have found that mindfulness can help them to manage pain better and actually report lower levels of pain overall. This may be related to lower stress levels, as it’s thought that stress makes pain worse.
It decreases anxiety and depression
Being mindful can help stop rumination in its tracks, and divert negative thoughts to more neutral ones. It allows the mind to have a break, and therefore be able to take a step back and identify unhelpful thoughts more objectively.
It helps you lose weight
Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve outcomes for those trying to lose weight, with reduced unconscious eating, emotional eating, or comfort eating, as well as more enjoyment of healthy foods and exercise.
Less self-destructive behaviors
Mindfulness has been shown to help improve self-regulation of emotion and impulses, such as drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes.
So overall there are many benefits of mindfulness in terms of your health. What have you found to be the biggest benefit?