As a doctor I am first and foremost a scientist. When I heard the word mindfulness at first I thought that this is just pseudo-science and another scam to pull desperate people away from mainstream medicine. And in my practise I do see patients like these. Patients that leave their lifesaving medicine to go off on some or other tangent and become more ill than before and then expect their doctor to “fix them up” again.
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully aware of the present moment, not distracted or dwelling on past hurts or worrying about what might happen in the future. Mindfulness keeps you grounded in the here and now.
With the increased use of the functional MRI, also known as fMRI, the makeup of the brain can be viewed and studied more efficiently. And research started showing that just as exercise; mindfulness keeps you healthier and happier in addition to make a difference in chronic illness.
And it is not only in medicine and psychology that we see a lot of interest in Mindfulness. It is also happening in the business world with Fortune 500 companies coaching their employees on mindfulness and allowing time and space to practise it. Mindfulness training could help make leaders more confident, improve creativity, reduce multitasking, and improve client satisfaction.
Universities in medicine and business have departments that do research on mindfulness and teach their students ways to practise mindfulness. Schools in America have also taken notice of the benefits of mindfulness.
We’re only just starting to appreciate all the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. Studies have shown that with regular practice mindfulness can have long-lasting positive effects not only your mental state but also your physical, emotional and social ones as well. So maybe it is time that we stop losing out and start noticing what is going on and take part in this thing called MINDFULNESS.
Here are some compelling reasons why why we should leave that frantic to-do list behind and seriously consider incorporating mindfulness into our life.
- Scientists consider mindfulness a key element in fighting stress. Most of the western world’s major health issues are related to increased heart rate and blood pressure. Heart disease and strokes are among the biggest killers out there and modern medicine struggles to treat both. As well as decreasing cortisol (a stress hormone), practicing mindfulness has an immediate impact on lowering blood pressure and your heart rate. One study showed it cut heart attack risk by 50% in five years.One of the most effective treatments for increased heart rate and blood pressure is mindfulness and meditation and there are cumulative long-term benefits to be gained from regular practice.
- Pain management —Mindfulness can help you deal with aches and pains, especially for people who have a painful chronic disease such as arthritis.
- Stress compromises our immune system. It should come as no surprise then that mindfulness improves your immunity. People who start practicing being mindful regularly report fewer cases of illnesses like cold and flu and improved recovery from when they do become ill or hurt.
- Mindfulness has been shown to increase the neural connections in the brain, improving brain function, memory and decision-making.
- It slows down the progression of age-related cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Practicing mindfulness and meditation has been proven to dramatically reduce anxiety and depression, including postpartum depression, and enhance the effectiveness of psychological therapies.
- Mindfulness develops your social intelligence - mindfulness helps you understand other people and makes you careful about judging others. This improves your relationships with everyone around you and thus, enriching your life. Well-being and happiness makes cognitive growth a much easier.
- Mindfulness makes you learn more about yourself – Not only will it make you aware of other people’s motives and ticks but yours as well. More mindful people have a stronger sense of self. In time, you will be more able to recognize your triggers and control them in such a way that it makes your life a bit easier and learning more possible.
- Being mindful even makes you better at parenting. While you are pregnant, mindful living may reduce pregnancy-related anxiety, stress, and depression in expectant parents, and may reduce the risk of premature births and developmental issues in babies. Mindfulness training for families may lead to less-stressed parents who pay more attention to their kids. Parents who practice mindful parenting describe their lives as being filled with less stress and better relationships with their children; their children, in turn, are less prone to depression and anxiety, and are reported to have better social skills.
- Do you want to help your teens to reduce their stress and depression and increase their self-compassion and happiness? Teach them how to practise mindfulness. And if you are worried about sending them to college and university mindfulness could also reduce their binge drinking.
- As mentioned earlier some schools have mindfulness training for their learners. Scientific evidence exists that teaching mindfulness in the classroom reduces behaviour problems, aggression, and depression among students, and improves their happiness levels, ability to pay attention and self-regulation. Teachers trained in mindfulness also express more empathy and compassion, and are more effective at teaching.
- As for your friendly neighbourhood healthcare professional, mindfulness helps health care professionals to connect with their patients, cope with stress and improve their overall quality of life.
As you can see mindfulness doesn’t just benefit the body, it also benefits the mind. Think of it as a way to reboot your brain and get it to perform better. As soon as start living mindfully, you’ll notice an increase in focus and concentration. The benefits of mindfulness increase as you start making it part of your daily routine.
From me at Zenzile Life, I hope this will add love and lightness into your days—because life isn’t a to-do list, it’s meant to be enjoyed!
This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy.This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.