Practicing mindfulness is the act of paying attention to the present moment without judgement, while consciously bringing your mind and body into a state of rest. While in this state we enhance our ability to focus on all the positive things in our life. We allow our appreciation and gratitude to flow freely so that we may feel renewed.
Without mindfulness, many of us simply react to whatever is going on around us without much thought. Those reactions can often be negative thoughts and feelings, driven by a lifetime of habit. Using mindfulness techniques, we can practice being more aware of our thoughts so as to have more control over our response to the stress and anxiety in our life.
This article will focus on how Mindfulness Benefits us in 3 key areas of life; in our relationships; our work and our overall health.
Mindfulness Benefits for Relationships:
Practicing mindfulness is a tremendous way to enhance relationships. We become more aware of the attention that’s needed for relationships to grow strong.
1. Better Communication.
It’s not just what you say, but how you listen to what is being said to you. Mindful meditation will help you to be better attuned to the needs of others. You become more aware of the verbal and non-verbal clues in their communication. Likewise, others will respond better to you as they sense that your attention to the conversation is focused and genuine.
2. Improved Self-awareness.
Mindfulness improves our ability to understand our own thoughts and feelings. We are better able to understand who we really are at our core, and are then less likely to finding ourselves ‘lost’ and vulnerable to manipulation in a new relationship. Essentially, we can tell the difference between a momentary event and who we really are!
3. Balanced Empathy.
We become better at perceiving the true nature of others without getting lost in their issues. In healthy relationships, we need to understand the other person’s state of mind, while at the same time not lose awareness of our own. Mindfulness helps us to empathize yet stay grounded in the present.
4. Improved Intuition.
Often our ‘gut feeling’ about someone or something is really our intuition telling us to “look more carefully”. Things may not really be as they first appear to be. We have a physical sensation acting as an alarm.
However, if we live our lives on auto-pilot, then our natural alarm is in ‘silent mode’, and we are not receiving the important natural stimulants of intuition. Practicing mindfulness makes us more aware of what our body is telling us, unconsciously. In essence, we become emotionally smarter!
5. Dealing better with Emotional Pain.
It is all too easy to carry resentment and hurt from a past relationship. The real danger is that these feelings can easily spill over into a new relationship and poison your ability to build a new and satisfying bond. Mindfulness can really help to put to rest this internal dialogue, so that your words and actions are in the best interests of both you and your new partner.
6. Response Flexibility.
Practicing mindfulness will help you to build a very useful skill. That is, the ability to pause and consider how you will respond or deal with any circumstance. Again, we can remove ourselves from being on an emotional ‘auto-pilot’. We don’t have to explode when we feel threatened or embarrassed, or get upset when we are being criticized. Your ability to maintain a calm composure, especially during difficult situations, will be seen as a source of strength for all others around you.
Mindfulness Benefits in the Workplace:
There are many ways to practice mindfulness in the workplace. It can be as simple as being able to focus completely on one task and doing it well, rather than trying to multitask and possibly creating a poor result on a number of tasks. There is plenty of recent research to show that mindfulness has a positive impact on overall job performance.
7. Interpersonal Skills.
Studies have found that mindfulness can impact executive functioning by improving interpersonal behavior, promoting empathy and benefiting in team-building relationships.
8. Lower Stress.
Participants in mindfulness related programmes experienced lower levels of work-related stress. There was also greater job satisfaction, and this flowed through to enhanced job performance as reported by their employers. Other strategies for managing work related stress can be found in this article.
9. Decreased Burnout.
Even a small amount of participation in mindfulness exercises can have a positive effect on stress at work. When practiced regularly, mindfulness can reduce the incidence of fatigue and burnout in the workplace. Some studies have shown that mindfulness can help to assist employees in unsupportive work environments.
10. Working Memory.
Other benefits in the work environment flow through to improved recognition memory, attention to detail and overall cognitive abilities.
11. Greater Focus.
In work environments, we can still find it hard to stop our minds from wandering. Particularly when so many people report that they are not particularly ‘engaged’ in their work. Studies of individuals who participated in mindfulness training were shown to remain vigilant on their tasks for longer periods.
12. Greater Innovation and Creativity.
This is one of the most controversial and exciting areas of study on the Benefits of Mindfulness in a work setting. Indications are that mindfulness assists in reducing ‘tunnel vision’ and in promoting creative thinking. If correct, then there are untapped benefits for entrepreneurs everywhere!
Mindfulness Benefits for Health:
The health benefits of mindfulness can be seen in both the mental and physical realms of our being. The value of practicing mindfulness is only just starting to be appreciated as an alternative to medication by the mainstream medical industry.
13. Lowered Anxiety Levels.
The higher brain function and increase in self-awareness that comes from practicing mindfulness has been very beneficial particularly for anxiety prone patients. The physical side benefits are lower blood pressure, lower heart rate and improved sleeping patterns.
14. Decreased Depression Symptoms.
Mindfulness is now more appreciated as an effective supplemental treatment for depression. It decreases depressive symptoms while increasing self-compassion. With practice, the patient can develop the ability to regulate their own emotions so as to cope better with their symptoms.
15. Increased Memory and Learning.
There is anecdotal evidence that practicing mindfulness can also increase brain matter. This appears to be in areas of the brain involved in memory and learning processes, regulation of emotion and taking perspective.
16. Combating Mental Health Issues.
Psychotherapists have started to apply mindfulness meditation techniques to a whole range of mental health issues beyond Depression. These include substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
17. Improved Overall Well-being.
Being mindful in a consistent way allows us to really enjoy life to the fullest. We are less likely to become caught up in worries about the future, or events of the past. We feel a greater capacity to be able to deal with adversity in our lives when it occurs, and are able to form deeper emotional connections with others.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article on some Mindfulness Benefits for Today.