Mind & Body
The Merits Of The Mindful: Scientifically Proven Ways Mindfulness Can Help You!
Does life ever feel like a struggle for you. Does the simple day to day of going about your work, establishing yourself in your career, maintaining a healthy body and desperately trying to cobble together some sort of life outside of work ever seem like a little… Much? It seems that although we have more labor saving devices than ever and more digital solutions to facilitate our convenience than previous generations ever dared dream, we never seem to have enough free time. Indeed, at times it can feel as though our life is a blur, a rollercoaster of work, gym, eat sleep, repeat. One day blurs into the next, weeks fly past like days and each year seems to roll around a little faster than the last. Does attaining any sort of personal growth while keeping up your hectic work life seem like an unattainable fantasy? Don’t you ever just wish you could pump the brakes?
If only we could make life like it was when we were kids. When the summers seemed to stretch out into infinity. When the prism of our childlike innocence made even the most quotidian things seem magical and enthralling. When there was adventure to be found around every corner and excitement even in the mundane. Before the monotony of work and the myriad responsibilities of adulthood turned our lives into a treadmill that’s moving way too fast for us to get off. The good news is that this can be achieved. You don’t have to quit your job, change your career or even make massive alterations to your lifestyle. Simply making some time to practice mindfulness through meditation can help you slow your life down and gain some perspective,. Here we’ll look at mindfulness meditation and how it can help you in your day to day life.
What is mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is designed to help you to live in the moment. Unfortunately, our contemporary society is not conducive to living in the moment. It does not want you to appreciate the beauty and stillness of the moment. It wants you to move on to the next product to covet, the next TV show to binge and the next big purchase to make. We’re conditioned to constantly chase personal validation through consumerism and, for obvious reasons, it’s a race that we never will never win.
Look down any busy high street and you’ll see people with their faced buries in the screens of their phones, their heads encased in headphones. They take in just about enough information to navigate their way from one end of the street to the other. Indeed, experts believe that this way of living may be responsible for many of the pedestrian road accidents that occured last year. Modern living is like living your life with the fast forward button held down. Mindfulness simply helps you to press pause and then press play.
Mindfulness meditation begins with breathing. That most important and yet most often overlooked of human functions. It begins by shutting out all sensory input and focusing on the simple act of breathing. Then it encourages you to expand your awareness throughout your body and finally to the world around you. If you’d like to try it Psychology Today has a great tutorial. When you practice this consistently over time, you gain a greater awareness and appreciation for the world around you as well as some other unexpected but scientifically proven benefits…
It can burst your bubble (in a good way) and heighten your awareness
We’ve already established that our absorption in our digital devices can be harmful to us. It can make us oblivious to what’s going on around us and inhibit our ability to perceive hazards on the street or while working. If we want to avoid injuries at work or potentially life altering head injuries from slip and fall accidents we need to burst the bubble we erect around ourselves with our digital devices and work on our spatial and sensory awareness. Mindfulness can condition us to find meaning and beauty in the here and now rather than needing to push it to the limits of our perception with music, social media feeds or podcasts. As a result, we not only does life feel to move at a less frantic pace, we are safer and more aware of our surroundings.
It can help to ease anxiety
The 21st century is a stressful place and it’s no wonder that an estimated 40 million people in the US alone experience some form of anxiety. In an age of political turmoil and economic uncertainty, where corporations deliberately repress workers’ pay to insulate their profit margins, our pay never seems to rise to adequately meet the rising cost of living and threats seem to lurk around every corner, it’s little wonder that we’ve become such an anxious bunch. Mindfulness helps us to manage and reduce our anxiety. In a 2013 Massachusetts General Hospital study, 93 people diagnosed with GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) were taught mindfulness techniques which led to a significant reduction in their anxiety
It can help combat body dysmorphia and depression
In an age where our best never seems enough, where we can never hope to compete with the airbrushed images of perfection that assail our senses on a daily basis, it can lead to depression, poor self image and even body dysmorphia. This can seriously cripple our sense of self worth and self esteem, leading us to self destructive tendencies. Fortunately, practicing mindfulness can also help to eradicate these psychological maladies and help you on the path to self appreciation and acceptance.
It can aid concentration and productivity
It’s estimated that by 2020 over 40% of workers will be self employed freelancers working in the gig economy. If we’re to make a living wage for ourselves while still managing to save for our retirement, we need to master our productivity by enhancing our concentration. Again, regularly engaging in mindfulness meditation can help us to improve our productivity by focusing our minds on what we’re doing, shutting out distractions and producing our best work quickly and efficiently.
If you do it right and keep it up, mindfulness meditation can be the perfect antidote to modern living.