Although mindfulness has only recently become a buzzword in western society, it actually originated as an ancient Eastern philosophy that has been taught in Buddhism and yoga for centuries. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, who created the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society “mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
One of the most effective ways to be more mindful and fully embrace the present moment is to practice meditation. Mindfulness meditation has a wide range of mental and emotional benefits, including:
- Reduce stress – People who practise mindfulness meditation regularly report feeling less stressed. When you meditate, your heart rate slows, your respiration slows and our blood pressure drops. This is often called the “relaxation response”.
- Improve emotional intelligence – Mindfulness meditation helps you have better control over our emotions and mood. As your emotional intelligence improves, you are more likely to respond to situations, rather than react to them.
- Reduce Rumination – When people ruminate, they over-think or obsess about situations or life events, such as work or relationships. Research has shown that rumination is associated with a variety of negative consequences, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, binge-drinking and binge-eating.
- Sleep better – Having too much on your mind can make it difficult to fall or stay asleep. When your mind is not preoccupied with thoughts, it is easier to fall asleep and sleep more soundly.
- Reduce pain and the emotional reaction to it – Mindfulness exercises enable you to identify, tolerate and reduce difficult, painful and even frightening thoughts, feelings and emotions.
- Increase self-awareness – Mindfulness meditation gives you clarity on who you are, what you want and what you need to do to get it.
- Improve creativity – Clearing your mind of the day-to-day clutter enables creativity to flow. People often come up with new ideas while they are meditating.
- Become more grateful – It is easier to savour the pleasures in life when you are calm and peaceful. When you are grateful for what you have, you will attract more good things into your life.
If you’re feeling stressed, lacking focus, or challenged by painful emotions and you want to find out how mindfulness can help, click here to speak to one of our coaches for free.