The word mindfulness might conjure images of meditation, yoga, and other mainstream new age trends. At a first glance, that wasn’t for me or my lifestyle. But the more I learned about mindfulness and how simple it was, my health improved dramatically!
So what is mindfulness, anyway?
Mindfulness is defined as: a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Simply put, mindfulness is the practice of being aware. It you allows to gain control of your emotional regulations, breathing habits, and physiological responses. This has a deeply positive effect on your health, mentally and physically. This includes:
- Stress Reduction: Practicing mindfulness decreases levels of cortisol (the hormone that makes you feel stress, anxiety + fear)
- Lessen the pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis: The lower levels of cortisol aids in reducing pain sensitivity, making physical discomfort much more manageable.
- Less frequent respiratory illnesses: A study showed people who practiced mindfulness statistically have fewer colds and significantly less severe symptoms.
- Weight-loss: Having better emotional regulation and stress management is key to dropping a few pounds and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Reduction of inflammation-related disease: Perhaps the most powerful benefit of practicing mindfulness is reduced levels of Interleukin-6 , a biomarker that is responsible for diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and various autoimmune diseases.
You don’t need to be a fan of new age fads to reap the benefits of mindfulness. Simply taking the time to control your breathing, being aware of your surroundings, and controlling your emotional responses will improve your life and health in a very concrete way.
***Warning You may experience some difficulties with this practice during the following: when the driver in front of you doesn’t use their blinker, telemarketers, your shower running out of hot water, and when your husband still hasn’t folded the laundry.