We are sure that you've heard tons of people talking about how mindfulness has changed their lives. But for those that are just getting into it, it may seem quite strange that by simply slowing down and finding ways to be in the moment, your health can be so extremely impacted. This often brings with it a wealth of questions, starting with, why?
Mindfulness practices work both on an energy level as well as a physical level. In regards to spiritual health, mindfulness helps you create a more balanced life and allows you to be more focused on your life at the moment. Doing this affects the brain as well, which in turn affects your physical health.
That is the simplest explanation of how mindfulness works in the body. But we know that you are more inquisitive and need more information, so we compiled this quick guide to help you understand the ways that mindfulness alters your body and mind for the better.
Mindfulness & The Brain: How Do They Work Together?
To answer the question of how mindfulness works in the body, you have to understand what occurs in the brain when you are utilizing mindfulness exercises. The brain is one of the greatest mysteries in the world.
Though over the last centuries there have been tons of research and studies done on the brain, we still have yet to understand the entirety of it.
Along with this, we understand a lot of the symbiotic relationship between connections between the body and the brain. Mindfulness has been shown not only through science but through spiritual means to have an incredible impact on the brain. Because many of these practices include breathwork, more oxygen circulates through the body.
With more oxygen, the brain functions better and allows for better circulation. Because of this, when you have emotional reactions to your mindfulness practice, the brain can get neurotransmitters through your body faster, which changes your body functions.
It's even been shown that mindfulness practices have direct interactions with the brain and can actually reduce or expand certain regions of the brain. For instance, one of the reasons mindfulness is so great with stress is that the process that is done has an impact on the amygdala.
When this area becomes smaller, there is more control over stress reactions. This is just one of the many interactions with the brain that mindfulness practices have.
Mindfulness & The Body: How Does Mindfulness Work In The Body?
Now that we understand the interaction between mindfulness and the brain, we can take a deeper look at how mindfulness works in the body. The chief purpose of including mindfulness practices in your everyday life is to reduce stress and allow you to live a more balanced and healthy life.
This is done by living in the present and being able to accept and analyze our emotions and surroundings. Because any form of mindfulness exercise is intended to relax your body and allow you to be present, it has direct interactions with the parasympathetic nervous system.
By calming the mind and allowing it to work without being in constant fight or flight mode, the nervous system is engaged. Having the nervous system engaged helps enhance calmness, which in turn will have effects on a wide range of systems like the respiratory and heart.
Whether you are looking at the ramifications of mindfulness practices through a spiritual lens or a scientific lens, the truth is that by allowing yourself to be able to live intentionally and be present in the moment your body returns to its calm state and can function the way it was intended to.
Living in a constant agitated state releases neurotransmitters and chemicals into your body that keep you in a constant loop of fight or flight. By allowing your body to have everything it needs, including plenty of oxygen and time to remove those fears and agitations, you're allowing your body time to regenerate.
Spiritually, by calming down, you're able to take in the energies around you and utilize them to center yourself. By aligning your core energies, you can create a more stable emotional state that allows you to accept and move through emotions that cause daily stress and anxiety.
Things Mindfulness Can Help With
Now that we have answered the main question of how mindfulness works with the body, we can look at the benefits you get by including mindfulness practices in your everyday life. Here are some of the biggest impacts on your body and mind that a mindfulness practice can bring into your life:
Reduced Anxiety & Depression
Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. Living in a world that is so hectic and fast-paced can often affect our mental and physical well-being. On top of that, being inundated with constant stimulation never allows our brain time to shut down and regenerate. Mindfulness practices allow you that needed time to calm your thoughts and allow your brain to do what it needs to do.
Enhanced Immune Functions
Your immune system is crucial as it is the thing that combats viruses and infections. If it's not working properly, you'll find yourself sick and open to all kinds of health issues. Your immune system can be affected if your body systems are overtaxed due to the stress and anxiety that your life places on you.
It can also be because you are eating foods that are unhealthy and are causing your systems to not work properly. By including mindfulness practices like mindful eating and meditation, you can rectify both.
Protection Against Cognitive Decline
The truth is that no matter how healthy you are as you age, your brain's functions begin to decline. This decline is because of aging and is only exacerbated by living a stressful and anxious life. Meditation has been shown to help with sensory perception and muscle control, which in turn helps control certain aspects of the brain. You can improve memory and control of your emotions via mindfulness practices. This, as a result, will help protect against cognitive decline.
Improved Heart Health
One of the systems of your body that is most impacted by mindfulness practices is your heart. Like with many other aspects of your physical health, mindfulness practice's impact on it is all due to providing your body with more oxygen and reducing stress levels. Mindfulness practices teach the individual how to breathe properly and live a life where you are not reactive but proactive. This has wonderful effects on your overall health but, in particular, allows those with heart conditions to be able to manage their systolic and diastolic pressures.
Build Up of Self Confidence
Self-confidence has more to do with your mental and emotional health, but by improving your self-confidence, you can also improve your physical health. It's a proven fact that when you feel good and confident, you tend to be better at keeping your diet and daily routines. On top of this, improving your self-confidence can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can improve sleep, which in turn will improve your physical health.
There are so many ways that mindfulness works in the body. All of them, though, have to do with allowing your mind and body to be able to process the stresses and challenges of your everyday life. By including mindfulness practices in your daily life, you will be able to help improve your health so that you can live a long and happy life.