Mindfulness—often regarded as one of the newest fad in the realm of health and wellness. But is it really just a trendy practice or is there more to mindfulness? Bearing roots in Buddhism, mindfulness is more than just mumbo jumbo; and actually has proven health benefits.
What is Mindfulness?
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, who many refer to as the father of the mindfulness movement, mindfulness is defined as “paying attention to the present moment, intentionally and non-judgmentally”.
Mindfulness involves being present by engaging the five senses—sight, smell, sound, touch and taste—in the moment to strengthen our wisdom and compassion, cultivating these qualities within our relationships.
A mindful mind is a focused mind that is capable of balancing action and awareness of the environment.
Benefits of Mindfulness
In a 2016 study conducted by Brown University, people who practiced mindfulness had healthier glucose levels, which suggest that improved focus and self -control can help combat obesity and unhealthy eating habits. Mindfulness also led to better sleep among the elderly, and improved focus, reduced dependency on opioids, lower anxiety and depression levels.
Practicing mindfulness regularly can have a significant impact on our health and well-being, improving overall quality of life by reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Moreover, mindfulness heightens one’s awareness of the self and the world that surrounds, rendering a greater sense of reality and confidence.
Mindfulness has the potential to increase compassion, empathy and emotional intelligence, hence boosting our relationships as it reduces our emotional reactions, allowing us to consciously respond to situations.
Techniques to Stay in the Moment
For mindfulness beginners: start small with baby steps. Take 10 minutes every day to stay mindful while cleaning your teeth, drinking tea, taking a shower or focusing on your breathing before bed.
Mindfulness can be practiced informally by bringing our mindful awareness to daily activities like eating, exercising, doing daily chores and learning to be present in the moment. It can also be done formally by taking the time to purposefully sit, stand, walk or lie down, focusing on breathing, bodily sensations, sounds and other senses, or thoughts and emotions. Even five minutes of doing these things daily can prove beneficial to you.