- Grace Yeboah-Kodie
Why Practice Mindfulness
This post introduced you to mindfulness, and today’s goal is to learn why it is something worth incorporating into your life. The practice can mean different things to different people, but no matter the way you choose to experience mindfulness, the benefits are many.
Promote healthy feelings
Healthy feelings or emotions don’t just mean good ones- it is just as necessary to feel sad or frustrated as it is to feel happy. So, one goal of mindfulness is to raise emotional intelligence: to acknowledge and accept the wide range of feelings that you experience. (Though this isn’t to say that mindfulness can’t make you happier- according to one study, practicing mindfulness can lessen the risk of emotional exhaustion or burnout)
Help lessen anxiety and depression
Taking time to listen to your thoughts allows you to become aware of feelings of anxiety and depression, and to examine what is causing stress, worry, or anxious feelings. “Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy” (MBCT) is one method for recognizing and treating depression that involves restructuring paths of thought with the goal of improving sense of wellbeing. decreasing risk for relapse.
Strengthen your brain’s capacity
A study showed that consistent mindfulness increases the plasticity of the brain, and positively changes the structures of sections of the brain associated with memory, compassion, and sense of self.
Teach you to be kind to your body
Mindfulness can improve the relationship you have with your body by raising “body satisfaction”. There are even a number of guided mindfulness routines or techniques dedicated to keeping the mind and body in tune. If you practice mindfulness while stretching, there is the opportunity to be grateful of your body and how it can move.
Keep you focused
Mindfulness keeps you focused by reducing distractions, both in the moment and afterwards. Practicing focus during mindfulness often carries over into other areas of your life, so you can find yourself being more focused at work or in school.
Let you take time out of your day to
Be non judgmental about your thoughts and feelings
When practicing mindfulness, one important aspect is noticing and acknowledging your thoughts. One metaphor for your mindful mind is the ocean: thoughts come and go like the tide, and there’s no need to worry about them. This can be relaxing in a world where it is easy to overthink.
Think about what you really want and need
As women especially, we may be hesitant to accept our needs or even give voice to them. Being mindful lets you listen to your true feelings, and may even unearth thoughts and emotions you didn’t even know you had.
Try something new
In today’s world, it can be daunting to try out a new hobby or activity for fear of failure. Additionally, young people are being increasingly deterred from hobbies unless they see it having a direct impact on their career. Practicing mindfulness allows you to take time away from the intensity of professional life and create a space to try- and probably fail- without judgement. (And for the people who just can’t shake the need to be productive 24/7: as described above, mindfulness has a variety of benefits like increased focus, a stronger brain, and job satisfaction)
This blog is the second in a series on mindfulness. Check back on CC Speaks to read about ways to introduce it into your own life.