The philosophy and practice of Mindfulness is rigorously topical and has generated great interest both in scientific circles and on the street.
Although Mindfulness seems the new fleeting fashion in the field of well-being and meditation, we are not facing a phenomenon of recent creation: its origins go back to the end of the 7th century BC, a historical moment intimately linked with the appearance of Buddhism.
The benefits of Mindfulness
The fundamental goal of Mindfulness is aimed at providing us with a method to learn to manage emotions, reactions, attitudes, and thoughts in order to face the situations that life presents us, through the practice and perfection of full consciousness. Thus, we may be able to discover that through the development of mindfulness in the present moment we develop certain positive attitudes in relation to our mental state and emotions, coming to control them from freedom, self-knowledge, and acceptance.
Conscious attention as the key to self-knowledge
Mindfulness pursues learning, getting to connect with our inner self, managing our internal events and reacting in a more conscious and effective way to the eventualities of day to day life. The philosophy of conscious attention proposes that in this way we are able, progressively, to find the essence of what we are.
Ultimately, we must be aware that what causes us discomfort or anxiety are not events, but how we link these emotions. The Compassion and Self – pity are practices that help us relate to the facts in a way nonjudgmental and open to suffering, both to itself and to other people. In Mindfulness, compassion is key, since it helps us to minimize the impact of the negative things that happen to us. It is not about erasing the negative emotions that certain events may cause us, but about reducing their intensity.
During the course of the last centuries, the techniques of Mindfulness have been applied as support to the psychotherapies used to solve various mental health problems, such as stress, anxiety, sleep disorders or tolerance to pain, among others.
In this article, e propose to develop eight benefits for your psychic and corporal health that Mindfulness can bring you.
1. Help control stress and anxiety
As we commented in the article ” The 6 psychological benefits of Yoga “, the lifestyle of Western societies can lead many people to suffer stress, causing psychological health problems such as depression, anxiety, etc. Like yoga, meditation and Mindfulness reduce the levels of cortisol, a hormone that is released in response to stress.
Cortisol is necessary for the body because it regulates and mobilizes energy in stressful situations, but if we have too much or it increases in situations that we do not need it, it produces many side effects. The practice of Mindfulness brings to its practitioners a state of calm and serenity, which undoubtedly affects our physical and emotional health. In this way, cortisol levels decrease, causing the blood pressure to decrease.
2. End the insomnia problems
A study from the University of Utah found that Mindfulness training can not only help us reduce stress and control anxiety, but it can also help us sleep better at night. According to Holly Roy, the author of this study, “people who practice mindfulness on a daily basis show better control over emotions and behaviors during the day. On the other hand, these people show a low-level cortical activation at night, which helps them sleep better ”
3. Protects the brain
American researchers from the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital demonstrated that meditation, a technique that is part of Mindfulness training, increases the size of Telomeres, structures that are located at the ends of chromosomes. and that is directly related to aging and the development of certain pathologies associated with old age.
In addition, a research from the University of Oregon concludes that meditation and Mindfulness can modify the neuronal structure of the brain. The usual practice of Mindfulness is associated with the increase of axonal density and the increase of myelin in the axons of the anterior cingulate cortex.
4. Increase the ability to concentrate
This fact has led experts to advise this practice as complementary therapy in disorders related to attention deficit. In addition, in a study by Moore and Malinowski in 2009 he concluded that the practice of Mindfulness correlated positively with cognitive flexibility and attentional functioning.
5. Develop emotional intelligence
Mindfulness helps us to know ourselves, to inquire into our interior and show ourselves as we are. With his practice, self- awareness, and self-knowledge are improved and he makes us evolve internally.
In addition, through compassion towards ourselves, we achieve that things do not affect us as much. A study by Ortner, a researcher at the University of Toronto, showed that people who include Mindfulness in their lives have more emotional control than people who do not practice it.
6. Improves interpersonal relationships
A study by Wachs and Cordova in 2007 suggests that the ability of a person in the practice of Mindfulness can predict the satisfaction of their relationships, that is, the ability to respond appropriately to the stress of the relationship and the ability to communicate their emotions to the other person.
On the other hand, Mindfulness philosophy, based on compassion and acceptance, improves interpersonal relationships according to Barnes, a researcher at the University of Rochester.
7. Encourages creativity
Meditation helps calm the mind, and a calm mind has more space to generate new ideas. Researchers from the Brain and Cognition Institute at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands found an increase in creativity in those who practice Mindfulness.
8. Improve working memory
The best of the Work memory seems to be another benefit of Mindfulness practice. A study by Jha in 2010 documented the benefits of Mindfulness and meditation on a group of soldiers after participating in a Mindfulness training program that lasted a total of eight weeks.
The data of this group was compared with the data of another group of soldiers who had not participated in the program. The results showed that the group that had participated in the Mindfulness training program improved their working memory compared to the other group.