Benefits of Mindfulness
Updated: Aug 22, 2021
When you hear the word mindfulness, you may already have some preconceived notions around it. There are different aspects to mindfulness, and there are many benefits from practicing mindfulness in your life. Here at New Leaf Counseling, we want to introduce some additional benefits of mindfulness, ways to practice it, as well as eliminate some of the stereotypes surrounding it. While there are many ways to practice mindfulness, don’t be overwhelmed, there are so many benefits as well.
Body acceptance is something you may not think of when you think about mindfulness. However, body acceptance can play a great deal into your stress and anxiety and how you view the world around you. After using meditation and other techniques, you may figure out specific things that trigger your body related issues. Triggers can come from anywhere and can lead to unhealthy decisions that you move towards during triggered moments or stress. For example, do you overeat, drink to numb or snack without thinking when you feel stressed out?
Whether one realizes it or not, our bodies can carry shame and most of the time, if we’re feeling tense or uptight, there is usually an underlying reason. If you are only picking apart the things you don’t like about yourself, your body will tune into that rejection, and the consequences can seriously affect your health. Practice body acceptance through self-compassion. What would you tell a friend that was struggling with the way they felt about their body?
Speak to yourself just as kindly as you would a friend and be patient with the process of overcoming insecurities.
We’re all doing the best we can, and acceptance of oneself can alleviate so much pressure that you may be putting on yourself. Once you begin working with mindfulness techniques, you will start to see a better appreciation for yourself, your body journey, and where you are in the moment.
Sometimes we can feel unhappy with our lives. Maybe you're unhappy about different aspects of your life that you can't change? Some of these aspects can include living situations, family relationships, workplace dinamics, or loss of a loved one. These moments can lead to depression and other health issues if you don't work through them. Mindfulness can help you find gratitude for various things in your life that can be easy to overlook in difficult seasons. It can also help identify problems and people in your life that are toxic and causing more stress than growth.
Through mindfulness, you can find ways to keep what works and get rid of what doesn't with grace and acceptance. By accepting events that happen in our life for what they are in that moment, you can discover life acceptance and a level of peace that can be grounding in the midst chaos.
Mindfulness can help you cope with current and future issues that you might be causing you stress. There are several techniques in mindfulness that can help with anxiety and reduce stress. Breathing techniques, meditation, and mind mapping are just three of these methods. Each of these methods can benefit you by helping you refocus, as well as reduce the triggers in your life.
One of our favorite breathing techniques that we like to practice here at New Leaf Counseling is called box breathing. This technique requires your concentration so it can be especially helpful in situations when you feel high anxiety. You simply take a deep breath in for four seconds, hold it in for four seconds, breathe it out for another four seconds and hold it one last time for four more seconds. You repeat this cycle, picturing in your mind that you’re drawing a box until you feel yourself calming, and your anxiety neutralizing.
Meditation is a way of training the mind. Just like any training, this too takes practice. Similarly to how you can’t expect a six-pack the first time you workout at the gym, don’t expect perfection the first time you practice meditating. You are rewiring your brain to free itself from distractions, let go of things you can not control, and maintain an overall sense of calm. A simple way to practice meditation could look like sitting in a calm atmosphere and listening to your natural breathing. Pay attention to your body as you breathe and notice the things you feel as you let your guard down.
There is no right or wrong when you are practicing meditation so be kind to yourself if you feel awkward the first few times.
Lastly, mind mapping is a form of brainstorming and can help in moments of stress to get all of your feelings onto paper. Too often we feel overwhelmed by everything we’re experiencing and feeling, but if we take a moment to write it all down, and see the big picture, we get a better understanding of the situation and take back the control that anxiety can have over oneself.
These benefits and techniques are just a starting point for mindfulness in your life. Many other benefits will start to reveal themselves and be unique to you as you become more practiced and involved in the process. Remember, be patient with yourself as you learn and practice mindfulness. And, as always, we're here to help if you would like additional resources for practicing mindfulness or managing anxiety or stress.