The Eight Benefits of Mindfulness
The Psychological benefits of Mindfulness.
The philosophy of Mindfulness has created great interest both in scientific circles and on the man in street. Despite that Mindfulness seems to be new in the field of well-being and meditation, its origins date back to the end of the 7th century BC, a historical moment closely linked to of Buddhism.
The Benefits of Mindfulness.
The fundamental objective of Mindfulness is to provide us with a method to manage our emotions, reactions, attitudes and thoughts to face the life situations. This can be achieved through the practice and improvement of mindfulness.
Therefore, we will be able to discover, that through the use of mindfulness, to be in the present moment. This we will help us to develop certain positive attitudes in relation to our mental state and emotions, coming to control them from freedom, self-knowledge and acceptance.
Mindfulness the key to Self-knowledge.
Mindfulness help us to learn to connect with our inner self, managing our internal events and reacting in a more conscious and effective way to everyday situations. The philosophy of conscious attention offers that with this path we are able, gradually, to find the essence of who we are.
We must be aware that what causes us discomfort or anxiety are not the events, but how we link emotions to them. The compassion and self-pity are practices that help us relate to the facts in a way non-judgmental and open to the suffering, both his own or to others’. Compassion is key in Mindfulness, as it helps us minimize the impact of negative things that happen to us. It is not about erasing the negative emotions that certain events can cause us, but about reducing their intensity.
Over the past centuries, Mindfulness techniques have been applied as support to psychotherapies used to solve different mental health problems. Such as stress, anxiety, disorders associated with sleep or pain tolerance, among others.
In this article we will talk of the eight benefits for your mental and physical health that Mindfulness can bring you.
1 Control stress and Anxiety
The Western lifestyle of societies can lead many people to suffer from stress, causing psychological health problems such as depression, anxiety, etc. Like yoga, meditation and Mindfulness lower levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress.
Cortisol is necessary for the body as it regulates and releases energy in stressful situations. If we have too much or it increases in situations that we do not need it, it produces many side effects. The practice of Mindfulness provides its practitioners with a state of calm and serenity, which undoubtedly affects our physical and emotional health. In this way, cortisol levels fall, also causing blood pressure to decrease.
2 Insomnia problems
A study at the University of Utah found, that mindfulness training not only help us reduce stress and control anxiety, but it can help us sleep better at night. According to the author of this study, “People who practice mindfulness on a daily basis show better control over emotions and behaviours during the day. On the other hand, these people show a low level of cortical activity at night, which helps them sleep better.
3 Protection of the Brain
American researchers from Harvard University School of Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital demonstrated that meditation, a technique that is part of Mindfulness training, increases the size of Telomeres, structures that are located at the ends of chromosomes. And also that are directly related to aging and the development of certain pathologies associated with old age.
In addition, research from the University of Oregon concluded that meditation and Mindfulness can modify the neural structure of the brain. The usual practice of Mindfulness is associated with an increase in axonal density and an increase in myelin in the axons of the anterior cingulate cortex.
4 Increases Concentration and Focus
Mindfulness is a practice that focuses on awareness and mindfulness, in order to be able to voluntarily direct these mental processes. A study by Walsh and Shapiro showed that Mindfulness is effective in increasing our ability to concentrate.
This fact has led experts to advise this practice as a complementary therapy in disorders related to attention deficit. Furthermore, a study by Moore and Malinowski in 2009 concluded that the practice of Mindfulness positively correlated with cognitive flexibility and attentional functioning.
5 Develops Emotional Intelligence
Mindfulness helps us to know ourselves, to inquire within ourselves and show ourselves as we are. With its practice, Self-awareness and Self-knowledge are improved and it makes us evolve internally.
A study by Ortner, a researcher at the University of Toronto, showed that people who include Mindfulness in their lives have more emotional control than people who do not practice it.
6 Improve interpersonal relationships
A 2007 study by Wachs and Cordova shows that a person’s ability to practice Mindfulness can have better relationships. That is, the ability to respond appropriately to relationship stress and the ability to communicate their emotions to the other person.
Mindfulness philosophy, is based on compassion and acceptance, improves interpersonal relationships according to Barnes, a researcher at the University of Rochester.
7 Promotes Creativity
Meditation helps to calm the mind, and a calm mind has more room to generate new ideas. Researchers from the Brain and Cognition Institute of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands found an increase in creativity in those usual practitioners of Mindfulness.
8 Improves Memory
Improving memory seems to be another benefit of practicing Mindfulness. A 2010 study by JHA documented the benefits of Mindfulness and meditation on a group of military personnel following their participation in a Mindfulness training program that lasted a total of eight weeks.
The data of this group was compared with another group of soldiers who had not participated in the program. The results showed that the group that had participated in the Mindfulness training improved their memory compared to the other group.