Today, we live in a fast-paced world that makes it hard to find peace when we’re constantly one click away from news, one text message away from a misunderstanding, and one comment away from criticism. Although technology has its benefits that has created more jobs, communicative methods, and conveniences for us, like all things in life that come with both the good and bad, it also has its downfalls that takes a toll on our overall well-being. Technology by itself isn’t to blame, but rather it’s about how much of it we are deciding to rule and take over our lives that remains an issue. As a result, we forget to take a step back, breathe, and remember what’s in front of us.
Mindfulness has existed in Buddhism for over 2,000 years that has been used to tap into the self, and many psychologists have done research that only highlights its benefits even more. Mindfulness is the state of mind in which you can focus on the present, rather than ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, and being consciously aware of your thoughts and emotions. We know how incredibly annoying it can be to constantly be “on” and want to help you learn how to turn the switch off every once in a while. Psych2Go shares with you 5 ways mindfulness can improve your life:
1. Mindfulness can enhance your overall well-being.
When you’re mindful, you are creating a space where you can be introspective and open to reflect and accept yourself. Studies published by the American Psychological Association have shown that participants who practiced mindfulness experienced reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to the control group. When mindfulness is used as a therapeutic technique, there has been evidence gathered by psychologists that shows it’s strongly correlated to positive effects, life satisfaction, and overall well-being. This is because it helps reduce rumination. Rather than focusing on setbacks and only dreaming about an idealized life, when people practice mindfulness, they learn how to regulate their thoughts and emotions that can encourage them to actively work towards the life they want.
2. Being mindful can improve your working memory.
When I’m stressed out, I tend to be so overwhelmed that I become forgetful of things. As a result, I create setbacks for myself when my list of tasks and responsibilities grows because they weren’t fulfilled the week from before like they should’ve been. This is because stress often causes our minds to be congested with unproductive thoughts of fear and doubt. A study done in 2010 showed that a military group who took part in an eight-week mindfulness training demonstrated a more stable memory capacity over time than the military group who didn’t. Mindfulness helps us exercise our memory because it teaches us how to remain open to it, rather than working against it.
3. Practicing mindfulness can shrink the stress region in your brain.
Research conducted by Adrienne Taren shows that practicing mindfulness can shrink the size of the stress-responding region in our brains, otherwise known as the amygdala. Neuroscientist Richie Davidson states that mindfulness is such a powerful tool that by incorporating just 1.5 hours of it can lead to healthier structural changes to our brain. When your stress is reduced by mindfulness, this can also improve your quality of sleep, which in turn, can help reduce symptoms of mood disorders as mentioned previously in the first point. A meditative brain is a happy brain.
4. Mindfulness can strengthen and enhance the quality of your relationships.
Many studies have shown that a person’s ability to be mindful can predict relationship satisfaction because it helps them communicate their emotions openly and respond to stressful relationship situations effectively. When you become more self-aware through mindfulness, you also recognize how your actions and words affect the people you have interpersonal relationships with. In addition, you’re able to resolve arguments and disagreements better when you train your mind not to hold onto negativity, but rather focus more on building a common ground and learning how to reach a healthy compromise.
5. Being mindful can help you be more cognitively flexible and resilient.
Mindfulness teaches you how to bounce back from difficult situations that keep you from making progress. Studies have shown that with anywhere between one month to 29 years of meditation practice, people can learn to disengage themselves from emotionally upsetting pictures and focus better on cognitive tasks than those who saw the same pictures but didn’t meditate. Mindfulness encourages you to be more cognitively flexible because you train yourself not to have reactivity be the main focus. Instead, you work towards finding inner peace.
Practice mindfulness with us and let us know how it benefits your life! Psych2Go would love to hear your thoughts! Please be sure to leave a comment down below!
Davis, D. M., & Hayes, J. A. (2012). FEATURE What are the Benefits of Mindfulness? American Psychological Association, 43(7), 64. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
- (2017, January 3). 7 Great Benefits of Mindfulness in Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology Program. Retrieved December 19, 2017.