Are you looking for alternative solutions to take care of your mental health? In today’s article, we will bring you a technique that has been widely used to combat stress and anxiety, having the potential to improve your quality of life.
By the end of this reading, you will understand mindfulness, its benefits and ways to practice it. It’s time to boost your mental health.
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Definition of Mindfulness
Mindfulness means being fully aware of the present moment by recognizing your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations – without any judgment.
It’s a self-awareness technique that allows you to reconnect and focus on what matters – especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed by what’s happening around you.
More specifically, mindfulness is a technique of meditation that relies on breathing exercises, guided imagery, and other tools to recognize and control sensations and feelings that may interfere with the way you act and react to the stimuli of your daily life.
The goal of mindfulness meditation is to empower you to respond to situations consciously – not automatically.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Some of the benefits of mindfulness are related to improving mental health, promoting improved attention, well-being, and reducing symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety. There is still evidence that mindfulness techniques can ease insomnia, high blood pressure and improve diabetes control.
Anyway, if you are experiencing any health problems, you must see a doctor immediately. Only a specialist can recommend an effective treatment for your condition.
That said, here are some scientific surveys that link mindfulness and meditation techniques to mental health improvements:
1. Mindfulness and Well-Being
This study carried out in 2011 – with more than 200 scientific references – aimed to understand the immediate effects of mindfulness inductions on emotional and behavioural functioning.
As a result, the researchers concluded that mindfulness techniques bring several positive psychological effects, such as increased subjective well-being, reduced psychological symptoms and emotional reactivity, besides improved behavioural regulation.
2. It Can Reduce Stress, Anxiety and Depression Symptoms
Another study published in 2013 analyzed the effects of mindfulness in 93 individuals diagnosed with GAD – generalized anxiety disorder. The results suggest that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) techniques may reduce anxiety symptoms and stress reactivity.
In addition, a 2014 literature review released by the NCCIH (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health) suggests that there is evidence that mindfulness meditation can help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. This review was carried out with the analysis of 47 trials in 3515 participants.
3. Better Mental Health and Quality of Life
A fourth study, conducted by the NCCIH in 2011, looked at 279 adults who participated in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The analysis results found that changes in spirituality were associated with better mental health and quality of life.
There are several techniques used for meditation – they may involve individual exercises or group therapy. Here are some of them so you can start to practice mindfulness:
1. Slow Down and Focus on Your Breathing
It is common for many people to have difficulty turning off their brains simply because they live in a routine that provides constant information stimuli – and this can cause anxiety, stress, among other feelings.
When feeling overwhelmed, stop for a few minutes, sit comfortably, close your eyes and focus on breathing. Take a deep breath, slow down and take the time to think about why you have this feeling – free from judgment.
It’s essential to open up to yourself and accept what you’re feeling. It’s also a great idea to stimulate your senses, touching, smelling, or tasting something, for example. Try to feel present by realizing that even the simplest things can be pleasurable.
2. Body Scan Meditation
The Body Scan Meditation consists in noticing how your body is feeling at that moment, without any feeling of resistance. It is a judgment-free perception, with the mere intention of feeling and recognizing the stimuli and sensations of each part of your body.
Start by sitting or lying down – as long as you are in a comfortable, tension-free position – close your eyes and take deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
Try to notice how your body feels, starting with your head and exploring each sensation until it gets to your feet.
3. Wake-Up Meditation
After waking up, sit comfortably, with your body relaxed, close your eyes and start breathing deeply and slowly – inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Pay attention to every stimulus in your body so that you focus only on your breathing and begin to relax your muscles.
Think about things related to your feelings, such as what your intentions are for the day, how you want to feel, and what you can do to improve and control your mind. Accept yourself as you are, free from judgment and ask yourself what you can do to feel connected.
Try to answer these questions in your head as you relax and breathe calmly. Your answers should relate to feelings and sensations that you would like to experience or improve throughout that day.
Founder and Editor of TheLifesty. Passionate about Health & Fitness and enthusiast about changes. Interested in everything that improves the quality of life.