How Mindfulness Empowers Us
If you've been looking into a wellness journey for yourself, it's undoubtedly sure that you ran into mindfulness as one of the many options you have to improve your health - physically, mentally, and spiritually. Mindfulness is something that has been used in several different spiritual practices across the globe for centuries. The proliferation of these practices though has expanded greatly over the past several decades and has become a focus of not only many people seeking alternative health avenues but also scientists and researchers who are looking at the effects of mindfulness on the brain and body. No matter what category an individual falls into, figuring out how mindfulness empowers us is the ultimate goal.
Mindfulness empowers us in a multitude of different ways in our physical life as well as our mental and spiritual lives. The tenants of the practice allow us to alter our brains in a way that helps us improve memory as well as concentration and focus. On a more spiritual level, mindfulness allows us to be more accepting and less judgmental so that we can live in the present which helps with stress and anxiety.
Mindfulness has a lot of wonderful benefits that we can take advantage of to empower us in a multitude of different ways. But we definitely understand why someone would be asking themselves this question when looking to add mindfulness practices into their daily life. That's why we decided we wanted to take a really in-depth look at mindfulness, the importance of the practice, and the rewards that come with it.
What Is Mindfulness?
Before we talk about the empowering practice of mindfulness, we wanted to take a quick look at what exactly mindfulness is. Most people when thinking of mindfulness automatically go straight to meditative practices, which though meditation is a form of mindfulness, it is not what mindfulness is.
Mindfulness is a lifestyle that allows one to pay attention to everything around and within them. It is an ancient practice that focuses on being aware of your surroundings and your thoughts to be able to focus on the here and now. With several different pillars of the practice, the main focus is our acceptance and non-judgment.
The Importance of Mindfulness
Mindfulness may be one of the most important habits and practices you build into your daily life. Though we all strive to be happy in life, sometimes our brains do not allow us to experience that due to cultural, societal, and environmental programming that occurs from the moment we breathe our first breath.
That, coupled with the biological systems put into our brains over eons of evolution, our brain is not programmed to look for happiness but rather be alert to problems and danger. This was a smart evolutionary choice because when our world was less urbanized we needed these systems to help us stay alive.
For this reason, our minds tend to dwell in a couple of different places which help increase anxiety and stress and causes tons of mental, physical, and spiritual health concerns that can shorten our life and make us miserable. These three places are:
Reflecting on the past is not necessarily a bad thing, it can actually be wonderful if you're thinking about happy thoughts. But most often our mind replays mistakes over and over again so that we can then understand the consequences of those actions. Dwelling on these thoughts brings up a lot of regrets and only serves to remind us of what we've lost. This will inevitably affect our mental health and elevate levels of anxiety.
Another place that the human mind likes to wander to is the future. This is the way that we as humans build goals and plans for our lives. Though that may be the intention of the individual when they are looking into the future, oftentimes our brain doesn't see it that way. Instead of looking at the positives that could come, we tend to dwell on what could go wrong.
This is a process that our mind has evolved into in order to help us steer clear of disaster and danger. But by dwelling on the negatives our energies get misaligned, and our minds riddled with anxiety and stress which doesn't allow us to focus on the positivity that would allow us to live a happy life.
It's not necessarily bad to drift into a fantasy world. Oftentimes, creatives use this process to come up with ideas and possibilities for their work. But when it becomes a place where one continually dwells, this could lead to some very big issues arising in their day-to-day lives.
This will mean that they ignore their current position and issues that need to be addressed at the moment, and that in and of itself will continue to build negative effects on their mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Rewards of Mindfulness: How Mindfulness Empowers Us
Living in any of those three words can be both positive and negative. But most often our brain drives our thoughts straight toward the negative to protect us. The practices within mindfulness allow us to steer our mind away from those negative and more towards the positive, in order to find a balance with the outside world as well as the inside world.
Mindfulness empowers us in a wide range of ways, and we thought we'd take a look at a few of them below:
Alter the Brain
Mindfulness has been looked at by researchers and scientists for the past several decades. Because of this, it has been proven that mindfulness affects certain areas of the brain and alters them for improved function.
Some of the areas that are affected by these alterations are memory, regulation of emotion, concentration, and decision-making. By making alterations in these areas one will see a reduced level of stress and anxiety, better mental clarity, increased concentration, and less reactivity when it comes to difficult situations.
Along with the alteration of the brain, mindfulness also helps with some physical aspects as well. Many people who execute mindfulness practices have better sleep, more energy, better immune health, reduced blood pressure, and even less pain.
Along with this, there are also plenty of anti-aging benefits as well, especially when it comes to cognitive abilities like memory and attention. For those that suffered from these issues, mindfulness practices help empower them by alleviating them and allowing them to go on with a healthy functioning life.
Our brains are built with a system called the fight or flight mode. This was specifically evolved in our brains to allow us to preserve our lives in dangerous situations. But with less dangerous situations, our mind takes in everything and veers more toward the negative aspect to protect us. This often makes us very impulsive.
Reducing our panic reaction negates that impulsivity and allows us to be less reactive to situations. This gives us many great benefits and allows us to stay present while still being able to address issues that these situations bring up.
Mindfulness practices focus on bringing you into the here and now. Since many mental health issues are specifically agitated by focusing on the negatives of the past and the potential issues that could crop up in the future, being able to stay present allows you to deal with many different types of mental health issues including anxiety and depression.
Along with this, mindfulness practices also have a portion of them totally focused on breathing. By understanding how to breathe properly, you're allowing more oxygen to your mind and therefore into your brain, which makes your brain work better. It will then release hormones into your system that have a less negative impact on your mental health.
Living without judgment means looking at things in a more objective manager. This allows us to remove the implicit danger that our mind finds in almost every situation. Objectivity will allow you to see a larger perspective and therefore be able to accept life and everything that comes with it calmly and rationally.
The whole idea of mindfulness is for one to be able to accept and be aware of the world surrounding them, as well as the thoughts and emotions of the world within. By being able to do this, you're going to find yourself engaging more with people and the world as well as yourself. This means you're going to be more present for those in your life as well as for yourself, and that is always a first-class ticket to empowerment.
So you see, there are a lot of ways that mindfulness empowers us. By executing the practices within mindfulness, you'll be building lifestyle changes and rewiring your brain to allow you to focus more on the positive aspects of life instead of the negative. Living a happier and healthier life is always more empowering and allows you to really enjoy the life you have built.