We live in a world that’s moving pretty fast. Whether it be the stresses of a job, kids, health, or a combination of all of them – all of us have more than enough stressors in our life to send our head reeling. It’s easy to just power through and not take the time to unwind. The problem is, if we don’t periodically check in with ourselves and how we’re feeling, we can let the stresses of life go too far until we are so stressed out that it’s hard to function.
So how do we cope with these issues? In recent years, a movement towards mindfulness has been happening. Mindfulness is much more than meditation (although this is a form of mindfulness). Mindfulness is being aware or conscious of the world around you. It’s focusing on the present moment while accepting and processing whatever feelings you may be feeling.
Nobody is immune to the hardships of life. But by practicing mindfulness, we can be more in tune with our emotions. By prioritizing mindfulness, we choose a path of holistic health that recognizes that our physical health is not the only aspect of health we need to be aware of.
Taking the time to be mindful has many benefits. The first, and most often reported, is stress reduction. According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness and meditation are the most effective, natural remedies to stress. When we regularly check in with ourselves and what is happening in our lives, we can put into perspective the various things happening and come to a plane of acceptance. Recognizing our stressors and actively feeling those emotions can be one of the best ways to relieve any pent-up stress we may have.
Another incredible benefit of meditation and mindfulness is focus. In a study published in 2009, researchers gauged the focus of a group who regularly practiced mindfulness meditation versus a control group who had never participated. They found that those who regularly practiced mindfulness meditation had significantly better performance on all tasks related to attention and focus1.
Lastly, those who practice mindfulness tend to experience less emotional reactivity. Research shows that when we regularly practice mindfulness meditation, we are better at regulating our emotions throughout the day. If you ever feel like you’re getting unnecessarily frustrated or angry at trivial matters, this may be a sign that mindfulness meditation could help you regulate those emotions.
If you’re interested in testing the waters of mindfulness meditation, Allwell.io offers several mindfulness exercises for you to try. Simply click the “Mindfulness” tile on the Home screen (bottom-left selection within the app) and choose the mindfulness exercise that best fits your needs. If you have never tried a mindfulness exercise before, we hope this is the start of taking care of not only your body but also your mind.
1 Moore and Malinowski, 2009, http://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19181542