Your mindfulness practice: seven ways it’s helping you.
Well done; you’ve been setting your alarm a little early. You’ve been taking moments during your busy life to pause and notice your body or your breath. You’ve noticed stress creeping up and you’ve done something about it. You’ve paused to calm yourself before reacting harshly in the face of annoyance. Little moments of ‘life is good’ are presenting themselves to you; you are connecting in a more positive way with those close to you. Here’s the science behind what’s going on for you.
- You’re training your brain to be happier. Each time you take your attention away from your thoughts, and to your breath or your body, you activate the left prefrontal cortex of your brain which is associated with positivity. In short, you are rewiring your brain to be more positive. When we practice cultivating open, receptive and positive states in meditation we naturally become more positive and happier.
- Relationships improve. Mindfulness can switch off stress. When stressed you’re less understanding and more reactive and judgemental. When relaxed you’re more accepting and compassionate.
- Productivity and creativity are boosted. When your mind is overworked it becomes packed with opinions and points of view. Mindfulness leads to a calmer state of mind, creativity flows and ideas arise with ease.
- Depression is reduced. Mindfulness helps us witness bad moods as something that rises and falls within us, rather than something that is a core part of who we are. It also helps us deal with negative thoughts. Thoughts are recognized as just thoughts, not facts, and they lose their power over us.
- Life becomes more meaningful. With a mindfulness practice we become more aware. Deep peace and calm are within, kindness, empathy and joy naturally emanate. This affects all of our behaviour, even eating habits; mindful eating encourages us to enjoy our food without needing to overeat.
- You are less stressed. You become less rushed, and less reactive. By simply resting the mind we more responsive to the world around us.
- You are less anxious. Anxiety and worry are based on thinking about the future or the past. Mindfulness helps us live from moment to moment.
Keep going, it’s accessible to all of us, it just requires patience and discipline and practice. We’re not perfect, life isn’t perfect, let’s all get better at enjoying the messy imperfection of life.