Practicing Mindfulness Promotes A Healthier Life
Mindfulness involves being completely aware and living in the present moment. From what’s happening in the environment around you to focusing on the thoughts and emotions flowing through your mind, mindfulness is all about paying attention to yourself.
Practicing mindfulness regularly has been found to have some incredible health benefits, especially when it comes to the health of the brain and mind.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness is proven to benefit the body in several ways:
Mindfulness reduces stress. Chronic stress has a negative impact on things like mental health, digestion, heart disease and obesity. In fact, nearly 80% of Americans say they often experience symptoms of stress that manifest physically. However, mindfulness practices like meditation can ease psychological stress, symptoms of depression, and anxiety with the same effectiveness as a moderate dose of antidepressant medication.
Mindfulness improves memory. Mindfulness is linked to a slowed progression of memory-related diseases, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, Kirtan Kriya (KK), a type of mindful meditation, is believed to impact the brain by increasing neurotransmitters, which slows the process of memory loss.
Mindfulness soothes agitation. It’s common for those living with memory loss to experience symptoms like agitation, stress and anxiety. Mindfulness can increase your awareness of emotions and can help you recognize, acknowledge, accept, and release negative emotions.
Mindfulness improves circulation. A particular type of mindfulness, called diaphragmatic breathing, can help to improve circulation and oxygen content in the body. By increasing the oxygen levels in the bloodstream, muscles are able to perform at a higher level. As a result, the digestive system and other systems are able to function more effectively.
Mindfulness regulates mood swings. Certain types of exercises, like mood tracking, can help to control and soften mood swings that are often associated with mental health disorders. Mood tracking allows us to identify patterns and trends in our daily mood swings, showing us what triggers a negative shift in mood and helping us avoid those triggers in the future.
How to Practice Mindfulness
While mindfulness can be done anywhere, anytime, it’s best to find a quiet spot where you can be alone with your thoughts. Once you’ve found the perfect zen space, you can begin the process of mindfulness. Here’s a few exercises to try.
Tracking your mood is a great way to help you identify patterns and trends in your daily mood swings. Especially for those living with agitation as a result of memory loss, tracking your mood can help you understand triggers and keep you calm more often.
Exploring your thoughts with a mind map can help to soothe your stress. A mind map is a great tool for becoming more aware of one’s thoughts and emotions. It allows the user to take an idea or thought and break it into smaller topics.
Taking time in the morning to reflect and practice mindfulness can set up the rest of the day for healthier living. It can decrease anxiety, promote better decision-making for health and also encourages a more optimistic outlook on life.
Try these exercises using these printables, or check out these other mindfulness ideas:
- Deep breathing
- Raisin exercise
- Body scan meditation
- Gratitude journaling
- Morning meditations
- Daily goal setting
- Be present
- Enjoy nature
- Repeat positive affirmations
- Focus on the outcome of an action
- Listen to calming music
- Create daily rituals
- Try coloring
- Turn off the television
- Plan out tomorrow
- Keep an evening journal
- Use aromatherapy
- Practice guided sleep meditation
What to Expect When Practicing Mindfulness
Of course, mindfulness isn’t a cure-all for any health condition. In addition, be aware of some common things that may occur when practicing mindfulness:
- Your thoughts may wander, and that’s okay.
- You shouldn’t judge yourself for negative emotions or a lapse in concentration.
- You should maintain a regular routine of medical care with a health professional.
If you think mindfulness could be for you, learn more about it at A Place for Mom!