Mindfulness. It’s a term thrown about constantly in self-help literature and, often, on websites like ours, to be fair.
But what is mindfulness and why is it important enough to be on the tips of everyone’s tongue?
Mindfulness: The Simplest Explanation
We live in a stressful world.
We are all constantly thinking about what’s next or what just happened.
But when your mind is constantly in the past or in the future, it’s just generating more stress.
That’s because it’s ignoring the only piece of time that’s actually ours, the present.
So, mindfulness is a technique, sometimes also referred to as “mediation” that has us learn to live in the present moment.
The Benefits Of Mindfulness
This is immensely beneficial for many reasons. Let’s take a look at some of them.
The first of which is obvious, it stops us from becoming stressed.
Why are we worried about the meeting at 5 p.m? Wouldn’t it be better to prepare for it now, instead?
Why are we thinking about the conversation that we had with our partner last night? Wouldn’t it be better to call them and set the record straight, now?
We like to combine mindfulness with minimalism to keep stress to a minimum, mindfulness declutters the mind and spirit and minimalism does the same to our environment.
These TED Talks about minimalism can help you learn how to get the most out of these two practices and these minimalism blogs may help too.
When we stop worrying about the time we’re not in, we can focus more easily on now.
And when we’re focused on what we’re doing? We do it better and, often, we do more of it.
That means mindful people are often more productive than those who don’t practice mindfulness.
People who are mindful tend to be more successful, and this seems to be due to the fact that being mindful helps people to better evaluate what really matters in their life.
This provides a sense of purpose and that sense of purpose helps to guide their actions in concert with their values to achieve results.
So, for example, someone who is mindful who decides that they are committed to natural living, is more likely to see that commitment through because they will understand their own motivations and know that it is truly the right thing to do.
And, perhaps, most surprisingly people who practice mindfulness seem to be healthier than those who do not.
This may be related to the fact that the practice of mindfulness tends to involve modulation of the breath and that helps to reduce activity in the sympathetic nervous system.
In turn, this will bring down tension, heart rate, and blood pressure.
And this leads to better sleep, reduced stress and anxiety and rather less hypertension than in non-mindful people.
It may also help to alleviate pain, particularly chronic pain, as well as problems in the gastrointestinal system!
Finally, on this note, there is also evidence that mindful practices can assist with treating obsessive-compulsive disorders, substance abuse, depression, and relationship issues.
We would like to note, however, that mental health benefits from mindfulness tend to come in conjunction with psychotherapy not as a substitute for it.
Are There Any Downsides To Mindfulness?
There are no downsides to the practice of mindfulness, but it’s worth being aware that the roots of mindfulness lay in Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Daoism.
That mindfulness was adapted from these practices early in the 20th century, mainly by white men, leads some to allege that this is “cultural appropriation”.
If you are concerned about this, you shouldn’t let that stop you from learning and using mindful practices in your life, but you should try to educate yourself more fully on the history and background of the practice.
In this way, you can mindfully appreciate the contributions of everyone who helped build our modern understanding of being mindful.
Final Thoughts On Mindfulness
What is mindfulness? It’s a mental practice which allows someone to dwell in the present moment rather than worrying about the past and the future.
This provides emotional, mental and physical health benefits and it can also help bring success in any field of human endeavor.
Learning to be mindful is simple and easy, and we’d recommend it to everyone.
*Affiliate Disclosure: We may be compensated if you purchase through affiliate links on this site. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.