The Benefits of Mindfulness – Not on the Subject of Yoga

Mindfulness is a valuable tool to help you reduce your stress level. According to popular theory, the way we think, feel and act has a direct impact on our health. Scientifically, the human brain has pathways which allow us to access and utilize different types of information. The latest findings suggest that these pathways may be affected by both conscious and unconscious processes.

By engaging in mindful practices, you can decrease the amount of stress hormones that circulate through your body and improve your immune system. In the practice of mindfulness, you are able to focus your attention on the present moment. The goal is to notice your own thoughts and emotions without judging them harshly. Mindfulness-based relaxation is an eight week program which provides intensive, secular mindfulness learning to help individuals with anxiety, depression, chronic pain and stress. Through careful instruction, guided imagery, mindful eating and progressive muscle relaxation, participants cultivate an attitude of well-being, healthy compassion and awareness.

Mindfulness promotes a state of well-being by regulating the levels of stress hormones and other neurotransmitters in the brain. Mindfulness is an accessible and sustainable technique for everybody who wants to improve their mental health. Mindfulness is not meditation. Even though some followers of Buddhist meditation refer to it as such, Mindfulness is actually a natural approach to everyday life. It can be practiced by people of all ages, religions and cultures. Author and healing researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, developed a program for healing based on the wisdom of mindful breathing and other mind/body practices that can be adapted for use in all types of physical and mental health programs.

The primary goal of Mindfulness is to develop awareness by letting go of unhelpful thoughts and to experience an increased sense of calm. Practitioners often compare this type of meditation to yoga, because both involve an emphasis on meditation and the deep relaxation of the body. Mindfulness cultivates a state of heightened awareness by ignoring the events around you and paying attention to the internal experience of the breath. Meditation cultivates insight and spiritual insight, but Mindfulness does not require concentration or even attention to focus on the activity of the mind. Because it relies on the ability to experience a heightened state of awareness without focusing on anything, Mindfulness is related to mindfulness, which is a nonreferential way of thinking about the world.

While some practitioners call Mindfulness awareness an inner state or discipline, this expression does not accurately describe it. Practicing mindfulness does not require a change in personality. When you first learn to meditate, or when you decide to take a short break from your daily activities, you may find that you are naturally more relaxed and quiet. In fact, the challenge of integrating Mindfulness into your life is often lessened or eliminated altogether during these times. You can bring Mindfulness into the workplace, taking short breaks during the day and filling time when you feel overwhelmed or run down by the many commitments of day-to-day life.

The most profound benefit of Mindfulness is its ability to make you aware of how you are feeling without judging it. When you focus your attention on the experience of the breath, for example, or follow its rise and fall with the breath, without judging the thoughts that accompany those changes, you gain a deeper awareness of your physical body. You can sense what your body needs and how to respond. With practice, you become aware of the tension within your muscles as you breathe and as you follow the breath’s movement through your body, and you can let go of that tension and relax. By being present in the moment you increase your mindfulness and, with practice, improve your concentration and attention. Eventually, your awareness expands to encompass your entire being and the entire world and you become more aware of all that there is to be experienced, seen, and experienced.