“Few of us ever live in the present. We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.” – Louis L’Amour
Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally being present and wholly engaged in what we are doing or experiencing in the moment without judgement and distraction. We are completely aware of our thoughts and feelings without letting it affect us at this time.
The benefits of mindfulness:
Reduce stress and anxiety. When stressed or anxious, you worry and feel overwhelmed with thoughts. Mindfulness is the art of allowing yourself to focus on thoughts and feelings without judgement and distraction. This helps you in being kinder to yourself and thoughts. As a result, you focus on one thing at a time. You accept your thoughts, clear your mind and be positive in the moment. This leads to reduced stress and anxiety.
Improved physical health. Mindfulness allows you to slow down and get in touch with your body. You increase your resilience and as a result, the overall cortisol level in your body drops. This helps you stay healthy by building up immunity, lowering blood pressure and reducing headaches. As a result, you fall asleep faster and enjoy better sleep.
Better decision making. Mindfulness breeds calmness. You are more aware of your thoughts, and more balanced when you practice mindfulness regularly. It allows you to stay unbiased and equanimous in the face of a decision. Moreover, mindfulness helps keep your emotions in check and respond wisely to situations. All of these combined with an overall calmer thought process, improves your decision making.
Improved focus and attention. Mindfulness is all about staying in the present moment, focusing on a particular thought and keeping your attention on it without worry. Whenever you are distracted, you allow the thought to pass and bring yourself back in the moment. It could be your breathing or an object of focus. All of this sharpens your mind, helps settle your thoughts and increase your concentration and focus. You can do this easily with mindful walking, eating or meditation, which are some of the ways to cultivate mindfulness and improve focus.
Improve relationships. Mindfulness helps you understand your own thoughts and feelings without judgement. You learn to communicate better, and empathize more. Hence, it’s good at helping you make and improve relationships. Moreover, it teaches you to not react during adverse situations, making you less reactive and more amiable as well.
Practicing mindfulness regularly has many other benefits, including the above. The aim of cultivating mindfulness as a lifestyle choice is to be able to stay mindful even when you’re in the middle of everyday activities and not when you take time out.