10 Surprising Health Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is all the rage in natural health circles. What makes this practice so beneficial? The technique pays immediate dividends in the form of increased joy in the present moment. However, regular mindfulness offers much more.
A funny thing happens when you improve one area of your life — it creates a ripple effect that leads to gains overall. By harnessing the power of mindfulness for one purpose, like relieving stress, you may find that physical health woes plague you less often. This will likely encourage you to apply the practice to still more areas.
1. Lower Blood Pressure
Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower. If yours is higher than this figure regularly, you increase your risk for cardiovascular disease. However, a recent study showed mindfulness-based stress reduction helps to lower blood pressure in practitioners. Participants practiced three types of mindfulness meditation and decreased their overall pressure by an average of 5 milliliters of mercury.
2. Decrease Chronic Pain
Does chronic pain affect your daily living? Maybe you long to get outdoors to play with your children more often, but agony keeps you sidelined. Mindfulness teaches you to put yourself outside your pain and observe it neutrally. When you divorce your pain from the emotions tied to it, you make it easier to bear. This mental outlook helps you overcome resistance and move your body.
3. Fewer Colds and Flu
Is the latest bug going around your office? Guess what? You can decrease your chances of getting it with a combination of mindfulness meditation and exercise. A recent study showed that people who practiced mindfulness experienced a significant decrease in symptoms.
4. Better Nutrition Overall
Do you practice mindful eating? If you do, chances are you consume a more extensive array of nutrients than your colleagues who scarf their lunches at their desks. Mindful eating lets you savor the flavor of your food by bringing all your senses to your meal. It reminds you to make good choices that nourish your body and care for the sustainability of the planet as a whole.
5. Increased Exercise
Moving your body should feel good. When you practice mindfulness, you learn how to scan your body to find areas that feel out of balance. Stretching releases stored tensions and toxins.
6. Improved Lung Capacity
What do you do when you meditate? You can do many things, but one of them is nearly always deep belly breathing. Inhaling to capacity and exhaling helps you strengthen your lungs.
7. Decreased Weight
Many people gain unwanted weight because they eat when they’re distracted. How often do you sit down in front of the television with a bag of chips, only to find it empty before you know it? Mindfulness draws your awareness of how your body feels as you get full.
8. Lower Anxiety Levels
Excess stress exacerbates a host of health conditions, but mindfulness can help you calm down. When you do, you decrease the symptoms of diseases from diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease.
9. Alleviate Depression
Mindfulness teaches you to reframe negative self-talk more positively. It works similarly to therapy, only you serve as both counselor and patient.
10. Make Healthier Choices Overall
Mindfulness furthers awareness of how you feel. This heightened sensitivity compels you to take proactive steps to protect your health. You only have one body, after all.
Improve Your Health With Mindfulness
Mindfulness helps you improve your health in many ways. The next time you feel under the weather, reach for a meditation CD to feel better sooner.