September 09, 2021, Publisher: Breath Hub
Rooted in Buddhism, mindfulness has earned its place in scientific literature among the most effective practices to improve and strengthen our physical, mental, and psychological health. But have you ever thought about what mindfulness actually is? Mindfulness can be described as non-judgemental attention and conscious focus on emotions, thoughts and perceptions in the present moment.
And the most popular practice of mindfulness is focusing on the breath itself. Breath is the main element of all meditation techniques – whether they are traditional or secular. Ever wondered about the benefits of mindfulness meditation that is done by focusing on your breath? Here are the 11 scientifically proven benefits of mindfulness that will change your life.
You can find more on popular mindfulness exercises here.
There are many scientific studies on the effects of mindfulness practices on stress. And the results are quite positive. Mindfulness is acknowledged to be an effective tool to overcome stress which is known to be the cause of many illnesses. Regular mindfulness exercises not only decrease stress levels but also increase stress resilience and offer an excellent method to manage daily stressors efficiently and permanently.
Do you have trouble falling asleep? If so, mindfulness meditation is just what you need. Research shows that doing mindfulness exercises before sleep can improve sleep quality. Also, long-term and permanent improvement of sleep quality is possible by lowering stress levels and achieving lower sympathetic activation with regular practice.
A strong immune system is our best defence against illnesses. These days when we’re amid a pandemic, it may be the thing we need the most. Of all the factors that support the immune system, mindfulness exercises make a significant difference. It was also found that immunity and brain functions improved in people who regularly do mindfulness practices. In addition to strengthening immunity by, improved sleep and lowered stress levels not only contribute to the immune system but also increase antibody production and decrease inflammation.
Did you know that mindfulness practices are good for chronic pain? Chronic pain is a phenomenon not only about the pain itself but also about the effect it has on us as the psychological side effects of pain intensify our physical perception of it. Research shows that mindfulness practices help control the fear or worrisome thoughts about pain and, therefore, decrease the intensity of the pain itself.
Mindfulness is a beneficial tool in dealing with chronic and severe illnesses. Even though mindfulness-based practices do not eliminate the symptoms, they make them manageable and, in turn, make the condition more tolerable. It helps control the negative side effects of severe illnesses such as fatigue, insomnia, stress, anxiety and mental breakdowns and improve the physical and mental states of patients.
Mindfulness offers a non-medical, alternative treatment for depression, one of the most common psychiatric problems of our day. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy has been proven to be as effective as antidepressants. Mindfulness exercises not only improve mild depression symptoms but can also achieve effective results when it comes to more severe cases such as major or chronic depression.
Anger, despair, disappointment… Emotions we surrender to can profoundly affect our lives. While some of us can stand and not budge against such emotions, the situation is a bit different for gentle souls. If you don’t know how to deal with negative emotions, the answer lies in mindfulness meditation. As you become more mindful, it becomes easier to manage difficult emotions. It is not about becoming insensitive and all about being more flexible. With non-judgemental attention, our mind becomes more resistant to negativity and turns into a calm, quiet harbour where we can observe the storms without getting caught up in them.
Failing to quit smoking, starting a diet on Mondays only to quit on Tuesdays, not being able to lift yourself from the couch to work out… If these sound familiar, mindfulness can help you get rid of your bad habits and establish the healthy life environment you have been trying to create. Scientific studies on mindfulness and health show that people who regularly practice mindfulness exercises are less likely to smoke and more likely to engage in physical activity. Moreover, mindfulness exercises that improve irregular eating patterns help with weight loss and are effective against obesity.
Regular mindfulness exercises not only improve our physical and psychological health but also our relationships with those around us. Less stress, better sleep and a more flexible outlook on life will undoubtedly make our social life more enjoyable, but according to scientific studies, there is more than that. Mindfulness significantly increases our empathy and compassion – the backbones of social life – and makes it easier to express our emotions. Moreover, parents who practice mindfulness exercises on parenting are known to build better relationships with their kids and have the social skills of their kids improve.
Considering we spend the better half of our lives working, good job performance can significantly affect the satisfaction we get from life itself. For people who practise mindfulness, this satisfaction is even more. According to a scientific study, employees who complete an 8-week mindfulness program report greater job satisfaction and higher performance. They show improvement in their attention, concentration, organization, planning, and managerial skills.
Mindfulness has started to become an integral part of education from primary schools to universities in Europe and the US, supporting the emotional and mental development of students of all ages. Research shows that mindfulness practices help children and teenagers cope with anxiety in a healthy way, keep problems such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) under control, and increase academic achievement.
You can practice mindfulness with the sessions in the Breath Awareness section of Breath Hub to invest in your physical, mental and emotional health. Begin your breath journey today!