Mindfulness is a popular technique for improving mental wellbeing. Leah Mandley, CoreLife’s vice president of behavioral health, explains what mindfulness is (and is not) and offers some resources to deepen your understanding of this practice.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the awareness and acceptance of your own thoughts, feelings, and senses. It is NOT “clearing your head” or “stopping what you are thinking”, but rather it is the idea of being present in your moment to moment experiences.
This short video from Happify succinctly explains mindfulness: Why Mindfulness Is a Superpower: An Animation.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
Acceptance of your thoughts in a non-judgemental, non-shaming way is a powerful antidote against psychological distress. Mindfulness helps us normalize and be comfortable with our emotions and feelings. This gives us control over our reactions.
There have been many empirically proven benefits of mindfulness including:
- reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression
- improved memory, focus, and mental processing
- improved adaptability in stressful situations
- decreased rumination
- increased positive emotion regulation
- increased relationship satisfaction
Why does mindfulness matter?
The approaching holiday season is a very stressful time for many of us. You may find yourself experiencing heightened symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions. Or, you may be experiencing intensified emotions that can affect your ability to manage day-to-day stress.
Incorporating a mindfulness practice is a simple, non-threatening, private way to explore and improve your wellness.
Resources for developing mindfulness
- There are several mindfulness apps for your phone or smart watch. For example, “Breathe”, an app on the Apple watch, is a mindfulness technique. Using it even once a day can make a noticeable difference in your mood – just by taking a moment to breathe. Other popular apps for mindfulness and meditation are Headspace and Calm.
- Mindfulness research probed depression benefits from Harvard Brain Research
- Meditation 101
- How to do Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Guided Meditation Scripts