Why Bother Practicing Mindfulness?
If you’ve read this post, you’re now an expert on what mindfulness is. But you may still be wondering why we bother practicing it?
Watch my video below or read on to learn about why it’s so beneficial to practice mindfulness each and every day.
Mindfulness helps bring awareness to our present moment experience, so that we can respond wisely rather than react blindly to situations, feelings, thoughts, and people.
And this simple act of fostering non-reactive awareness does incredible things for all aspects of our lives. By practicing mindfulness, we can experience profound shifts in our minds, bodies, relationships, stress levels, happiness, focus and productivity - just to name but a few of the laughably wide ranging benefits of this simple practice.
Here are a few studies that illustrate and give scientific backing to this ancient practice and its benefits on 5 key areas of our lives: (1) Mind (2) Body (2) Happiness, (3) Stress (4) Focus and Productivity.
Mindfulness helps your mind
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of mindfulness that study after study is now confirming.
For example, practising mindfulness has been shown to make both structural and functional changes to your brain in as little as 8 weeks. Specifically, after 8 weeks of practice the density of area of the brain responsible for stress and emotional reactivity (the amygdala) shrank, and the area responsible for learning, memory, emotional regulation (the hippocampus) and control grew. And who doesn't want more emotional regulation and less stress!?
Mindfulness has also been shown to be an incredibly effective treatment for mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression and in one recent major study was found to be as effective as drugs as a treatment for depression.
Mindfulness helps your body
Perhaps less obviously, mindfulness has been shown to have wide ranging benefits for our physical health. From improving health outcomes for people suffering from autoimmune diseases like IBS and psoriasis to protecting our heart health.
Mindfulness makes you happier!
Research has shown that when we're being mindful and focusing on the present moment, we're happier. Specifically, we'll be happier if we do the dishes with our full attention on doing the dishes, than if we do the dishes day dreaming of a holiday to Fiji - go figure!
Mindfulness reduces your stress
Mindfulness helps you get S**T done (with more focus and less stress)
Mindfulness improves your reasoning concentration and memory. In this cool study, participants sat a Global Reasoning Exam which measures baseline ability to reason so your score should remain the same if you're retested. But, as it turns out, this is not the case if you practice mindfulness!
On being tested, and then later retested after a period of mindfulness practice, participant's scores on the test significantly increased (compared to no change for participants who completed a nutrition course in between). This was expected to be to due the the mindfulness practitioners' increased ability to focus and reduced propensity to distraction and mind wandering.
Mindfulness has also been shown to improve productivity, creativity and innovation in the workplace. In the case of major global health company Aetna, short mindfulness breaks during the work day resulted in an hour of added productivity per employee per week, translating to a $3k per employee financial benefit to the company over the year!
So instead of asking why you’d practice mindfulness - ask yourself why you wouldn’t!?
P.S. If you're keen to dive deeper into your own mindfulness practice or any other realm of your life that may be holding you back from living your best 'Be More You' life, I offer free 30 minute discovery sessions so you can learn more about what working with me would look like.