The practice of mindfulness is good for a person’s mental health. But, some people may not know how to incorporate this behavioral health technique into their daily life.
What is Mindfulness?
A more common expression for this activity is living in the moment, but mindfulness is more than that. The main quality of mindfulness is the act of becoming deeply of the aware of what happening in your present moment. You are keenly aware of what you are feeling and sensing at that exact moment. This awareness is done without judgement or analysis.
Some people may think that the act of doing nothing is mindfulness. However, this is not the case. In today’s modern fast-paced world, the brain sometimes has a hard time just slowing down. People may spend an excessive amount of energy daydreaming, planning or thinking of random thoughts. All of this mental activity can leave people feeling exhausted and create a level of anxiety.
Uncontrolled and random thoughts are draining. This act of rumination can overtime harm a person’s mental health. Repeating and negative thoughts that are persistent can be a sign of mental health conditions such as depression or PTSD. Understanding what mindfulness is, as well as how to engage in it, can reduce anxiety and mental fatigue.
Benefits of Mindfulness:
Individuals who have learned techniques for actively practicing mindfulness have stated that they experience a lower level of stress in their life. They also report being able to analyze situations and think more clearly. Research indicates that roughly 80 percent of people in the U.S. have a difficult time trying to relax.
But, studies suggest that the practice of mindfulness exercises has a positive correlation in an increase in regional gray matter density in people’s brains. Beyond the positive changes, the same study also suggests that this kind of practice improves attention, reduces feelings of stress and promotes better self-regulation behaviors.
The study and use of mindfulness techniques in healthcare is a growing trend. In 2007, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there were roughly 70 published articles on the therapeutic uses of mindfulness. Nearly all of the studies showed some level of benefit through the practice of these techniques.
Yet, like almost any other activity, people need to dedicate time and practice in order to experience results. For example, in the previously mentioned study, participates were enrolled in an eight-week program.
A Few Hints for Practicing Mindfulness:
Many exercises that practice Mindfulness focus on controlled breathing. To do this, people need to allocate time and find a quiet place to practice. During this time, they should not be interrupted or distracted from their practice. Often, people find that the early morning hours are the best time to perform these exercises. There are usually fewer interruptions during these hours. So, the practice will not get in the way of people’s daily routine or other responsibilities.
- Controlled breathing: The first step is to control and focus your breathing. People should find a quiet place to sit where they will not be disturbed.
- Good posture: As people sit and focus on their breathing, they should make sure to keep their back straight. Staying relaxed is important, but so is good posture. If people slump over while focusing on their breathing, it will make the activity more difficult.
- In and out: People should feel their lungs and diaphragm expand and contract as they control their breathing. They should feel their breath slowly going in and out of their body.
- Focus on your breath: People’s minds tend to wander, but this is only natural. Individuals should continue to focus on their breathing.
For more information about strategies for reducing stress, contact a licensed & experienced behavioral health professional. They can work with patients to create customized treatments and techniques that focus on mindfulness and stress reduction.
Who We Are:
Emerald Psychiatry & TMS Center is a behavioral and mental health practice located in Central Ohio. For more information about mental health services and therapy options, email or call them at (614) 580-6917.
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Contributor: ABCS RCM