Mindfulness is a big topic in our cultural consciousness, but while the word itself conjures an idea that is totally mind-based, the benefits of being mindful exceed the limits of thought and mental process. They also reach into our bodies.
This should be no surprise. Mindfulness is the practice of living in the present, of noticing and acknowledging your emotions, thoughts, and existence in the world. Unlike our thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams, our bodies can only inhabit the present moment. It follows that being mindful as much as possible allows us to tap into our bodies’ reactions to what we go through every day. However, I know that the days can be busy.
If you can’t fit mindfulness into the breaks you have during your day, try fitting it into your schedule after you wake up and before you go to sleep. These three reasons will show you why you should—for your body’s sake.
It Can Reduce Fear
One of the largest obstacles that stands between you and self-actualization is overcoming your fears. This obstacle, it turns out, is no match for mindfulness. According to a study published in Biological Psychiatry, living mindfully can extinguish the fears that people associate with various tasks, objects, places, and people. In the study, 42 participants completed two months of mindfulness training before submitting to MRI brain scans. The results showed that the individuals were able to inhibit fearful associations they had gained prior to the brain scans.
It Lowers Stress Levels
As I’ve written before, unbridled stress is ubiquitous in today’s culture. When we are stressed, our fight or flight defense mechanism goes off, but unlike our ancestors, we don’t usually experience stress because we are being stalked by a tiger—most of the time, modern stresses are much more mundane. We haven’t started preparing the presentation we have to give in the morning, and we still have to cook dinner. Or we have to decide whether we should find a new job. The stress that such instances create is more difficult to recover from because it’s often difficult to discover its source.
Being mindful can help us reflect and find the source of our stress. A great example that I wrote about earlier this year is the new drive in schools to replace detention with mindfulness training. When kids are stressed—from schoolwork or their home situations—they act out. Rather than add to that stress by disciplining them, why not teach them how to discover their stressors and address them in a healthy way? It makes sense to me!
It Keeps You from Procrastinating
Wait, procrastination? How does that hurt your health? Well, more than you might think.
The extreme example is one that can actually be deadly—putting off going to the doctor even though you’ve noticed changes in your health. Perhaps you found a lump in your breast, but you’re too scared or in denial to see a medical professional about it. Instead, you stuff it into the back of your mind, hoping that it will go away on its own. I don’t have to explain what can happen in such a case.
But besides the above example, procrastination can actually make you get sick more often. The stress that builds up wears your immune system down, slowly but surely. This study shows how being more mindful can reduce procrastination.
Learn How to Practice Mindfulness and More!
Want to learn how to be more mindful? Get in touch with me today. Together we can break down the barriers keeping you from the happy, successful life that you are capable of living.