What are the benefits of practising mindfulness?
Stress reduction – what we call stress is 10% of a stressful situation alone and 90% of our reaction and interpretation of these circumstances. Mindfulness helps to stop and see the situation allowing us to choose a much more sensible response instead of an automatic reaction driven by emotions.
Development of emotional awareness – thanks to practice, we notice our emotions and it is easier for us to reach their source. We learn how to be with a given emotion and we can better understand what this emotion wants to tell us. Therefore, it is also easier for us to recognize emotions in others, allowing more empathy into our relationships, and hence making them stronger.
Improving memory and concentration – meditation regulates the prefrontal cortex, strengthening its functions such as planning, organizing, making decisions, memorizing.
Creativity boost – coping better with thoughts means more space in our minds for new solutions and ideas. Our brain opens to thinking out of the box!
Reduction of anxiety – as in the case of concentration and memory, again the strengthening of prefrontal cortex comes into play since it is responsible for mood regulation and emotional states. In addition, self-awareness is widened, which also triggers a decrease in anxiety.
Prevention of depression – dealing successfully with thoughts and emotions helps to notice more easily harmful mental patterns, preventing rumination and obsessive thinking.
Better sleep, overcoming insomnia – meditation boosts the production of melatonin and soothes our nervous system, the disregulation of which is usually the cause of sleeping problems.
Increased body awareness – mindfulness shifts attention from being constantly in the head to being more in the body and therefore opening our awareness to the signals coming from the body, allowing us to take better care of it.
Stronger immune system – meditation regulates areas of the brain responsible for stimulating immunity. In addition, it reduces stress, which enhances our resistance to illnesses.
Dealing with physical pain – mindfulness does not make the pain disappear, yet it changes our relationship with it. We open up to accepting pain rather than fighting with it and this attitude often lessens the pain and makes it less noticeable.