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4 Reasons to Focus on Mindfulness

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Mindfulness started out as something only experienced meditators were familiar with and wasn’t really a mainstream way of approaching your thoughts and cognition for a long time. Recently, however, mindfulness has reached the mainstream, for good reasons. There are a huge number of benefits of practicing mindfulness in your daily life. Here are 4 good reasons to focus on mindfulness and incorporate it into your daily life.

Mindfulness Lowers Stress Levels

Mindfulness meditation and mindfulness cognitive behavioral therapy has, in many different studies, been clinically shown to reduce stress levels in those who practice it. In one study there was a direct correlation between a subject’s level of mindfulness and a lowering of cortisol levels.

Cortisol is a hormone that is produced when you are stressed out, and this link indicates that practicing mindfulness reducing the levels of cortisol in the body due to less stress levels across the board. Part of the reason mindfulness reduces stress is due to learning to r-perceive your thoughts and develop a different relationship with them.

Mindfulness Boosts Your Working Memory

Mindfulness has been shown to boost working memory and increases the ability to learn. Mindfulness physically changes the brain by increasing the amount of grey matter in the hippocampus, the brain area that is responsible for both these things. In one study, people who went through 8-week intensive mindfulness meditation training showed significant increases in the grey matter in their hippocampi.

Mindfulness Calms Anxiety-Causing Ruminations

One way that mindfulness can improve your life is by changing how you relate to your thoughts, your ability to control your thoughts and your emotional responses. These tools help to reduce anxiety causes ruminations that lead to mental distress and spiked anxiety. Focusing on past decisions, too much on the future or just rushing thoughts in general feeds into rumination and causes high levels of anxiety. Learning to be mindful helps you better cope with thoughts that might cause anxiety. In one study, a group of medical students who underwent mindfulness training showed markedly less levels of anxiety and depression after 9 weeks in contrast to the control group, who saw increased or stable levels of the same emotions.

Mindfulness Increases Day-to-Day Focus

Mindfulness has been shown to increase a person’s ability to focus and improve their overall attention span. In one study, a group of experienced mindfulness meditators had their attention tested against those who had never practiced mindfulness before. The experienced group had much higher levels of attention and focus than the non-practicing control group. It is postulated that this is due to the fact that mindfulness mediation actually helps create and strengthen different neural networks that are involved with attention and focus.

Mindfulness is a simple habit that can radically change your life. Mindfulness has not only been shown to improve mental health but to also make helpful physical changes in the brain and different hormone levels. Give it a try and reap the benefits of this simple, effective technique.

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