A rather new concept in mental health has been mindfulness, an ancient Eastern practice found in a wide range of philosophies and incorporates elements of Taoism, Buddhism, and yoga. It is a method of bringing awareness to the present moment of your thoughts, feelings, sensations in your body, and your surrounding environment. Researchers have found that those who practice mindfulness can tune into the present moment instead of living in past and the "what-ifs" of the future, allowing them to live a more positive lifestyle.
Mindfulness Can Train Your Brain
A study aided by the Dalai Lama and conducted by the neuroscientist Professor Richard Davidson found that monks who engaged in prolonged meditation showed significant changes in their brains. The study indicated that the prolonged mediation stimulated the positivity center of the brain. Practicing mindfulness regularly can help you train your brain not to dwell on the past or on the future, but to live positively in the moment.
Stress is brought on by many factors and being mindful will help you realize that you are stressed and need to do something about it. When we are aware of our reactions to certain situations, we are able to respond in a more positive manner. By practicing mindfulness, you can give yourself the space you need to decompress when you focus on the here and now. By practicing mindfulness, you can learn to look at life from a different perspective.
Some types of depression are thought to stem from constant negative thinking patterns. When you bury negative feelings and thoughts deep in your mind instead of dealing with them, depression ensues. Mindfulness can help combat depression by teaching you to be honest with yourself about the cause of what is making you unhappy. Being mindful can help you recognize when your mind is going in a negative direction and help you redirect your thoughts to a positive course.
Mindfulness Can Aid With Chronic Pain
A mindfulness-based stress reduction study (MBSR) performed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn found that mindfulness resulted in reduced depression, anxiety, negative body image, and pain for the patients who participated. Patients became more active and willing to participate and the use of pain medication decreased, giving patients a higher quality of life than they had prior to practicing mindfulness.
When you remove stress, anxiety, and pain from your life, relationships tend to improve and mindful meditation can aid you in this endeavor. Being more relaxed can make you more receptive to other people and more in the moment. Mindfulness can lead you to be more empathetic and understanding of others, which can improve relationships.
Mindfulness Can Increase Happiness
Living a positive lifestyle will increase anyone’s happiness and mindfulness has helped many people live a more positive lifestyle. Training your brain to live in the moment and enjoy what you have in front of you can add to your personal happiness, health, overall well-being, and help you live positively.