Benefits backed by science
Mindfulness helps us to see more clearly, hear more vividly, feel more intensely, thus opening up all of our senses to just be present. It allows us to be more objective and clear headed to distinguish between what is true or false for us.
The practice of mindfulness clarifies our thinking by gradually reducing the amount of distracting thoughts, helping to keep us aware of our automatic reactions and able to actively choose a different, more appealing alternative. In the National Bestseller, ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People,’ Dr. Covey, discusses how mindfulness helps us clarify a clearer picture of our ideal situation by increasing our levels of self-awareness.
As a result, we’ll be less likely to unconsciously sabotage our efforts because we will be much more conscious of what we’re thinking, desiring and aiming for. It’s incredible to think that just by increasing our ability to be mindful we gradually weaken the strength of our undesirable habits and reactive responses in life, creating a better ability to not only observe our impulses but rather change them as they are occurring.
This means so much for all those daunting resolutions you might have made as the New Year began! Or maybe you beat yourself up with guilt over not following through with a planned commitment or lifestyle change (i.e. dieting, quitting smoking, exercising more, watching less TV, etc.)
Throughout mindfulness research it is shown to be one of the most, if not the most, powerful tool there is for decreasing stress that we experience in our bodies. One commonly known and well researched practice called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction has been used for over 40 years to decrease levels of stress experienced in the body and teach individuals to literally control their responses, thoughts and behaviors all by actively focusing on their thoughts, internal state and clearing their mind to be present in the moment.
Interestingly enough, mindfulness has been shown to increase levels of happiness. One study actually found the, “Happiest people ever measured by science,” to be a group of mindfulness practitioners who scored almost twice as high as the norm.
Have you tried meditation or another form of mindfulness practice? What has been your experience?