Mindfulness has been proven to benefit mental health. But how? Mindfulness is a meditation technique used by people all over the world to become more present and relieve themselves of stress and anxiety. It’s been said to not only have instant relief of these symptoms but also rewire our neurological patterns in the long term. But how exactly does mindfulness benefit mental health? This post will explore exactly what mindfulness is, its benefits, and how to use it to improve your mental health.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a meditation technique that helps you focus your awareness on the present moment. It involves meditating while focusing on the moment-to-moment awareness of what is happening in that present moment. You use your breath to create a calming anchor, which in turn helps you focus while alleviating stress and anxiety.
How Do You Practice Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation involves us having a deep and non-judgmental awareness of our emotions, feelings, and sensations. You can practice mindfulness meditation by:
- Take a comfortable seat in a relaxing environment.
- Pay attention to what your body is doing - how are you sitting? How does your body feel?
- Relax and simply be present in the moment.
- Focus on your breathing. Try to remain in the present moment as you listen, feel, and pay attention to your breathwork.
- When you’re ready, end the meditation. It’s simple, yet effective.
What Are The Benefits of Mindfulness?
There are several ways in which mindfulness positively affects the brain and nervous system. Sara Lazar speaks in detail about her findings to The Washington Post. Notably, she found a direct and positive correlation between meditation and the left hippocampus, which aids learning, cognition, memory, and emotional regulation. This, plus the effect on the sympathetic nervous system, means that anxious spells could be effectively controlled through mindfulness.
How Does Mindfulness Benefit Mental Health?
Mindfulness is a variation of meditation, which has been proven to change the neurological patterns in your brain. The sympathetic nervous system is the most affected by anxiety, tension, fatigue, and depression. This area of our nervous system is commonly known as the area that controls our bodies ‘fight or flight’ response. Meditation works by activating the parasympathetic nervous system: this benefits us as it directly works to calm the sympathetic nervous system, which leaves you feeling calm and relaxed. Over time, this can result in a lessening of anxiety, stress, and depression symptoms. To help this process, use the Reflect Orb, our biofeedback meditation device, to understand your stress triggers: augment your journey to mindfulness with data and insights while deepening your understanding of your journey to relaxation.
Other benefits of mindfulness include:
- The preservation of the brain’s grey matter, which is the thinking part of your brain.
- Growth in the parts of the brain that are associated with learning, thinking, emotional regulation, perspective, compassion, and empathy.
- An improvement of concentration and memory.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool to help regulate and improve your mental health. By just taking a few minutes per day to practice mindfulness, you should soon see some improvement in your way of thinking. Mindfulness isn’t just a target to be reached, however, but an ongoing practice and regulation: it becomes a way of life or way of thinking that is present, calm, and in control.