7 Ways Mindfulness Can Make Your Life Infinitely Better
If you had to guess, how many times each week would you say you get lost in the details of your rushed mornings, stressful workdays and jam-packed evenings? Yeah, we struggle with that, too. But taking the time to slow down, find your awareness of the present moment and learn how to accept what you discover in that space — which is really just the definition of mindfulness — can make even the most hectic routines infinitely easier.
Interested in empowering yourself with this mental too, but not convinced it’s worth all of the work it could take? Check out the seven clear benefits of mindfulness below. We’re sure you’ll reconsider.
1. It helps you maintain a positive outlook and good mood.
It’s amazing what can happen when you build a skill that helps to pull you out of spiraling, negative thoughts and away from that toxic rabbit hole. A 2014 study found that mindfulness meditation was equally as effective in alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety as actual antidepressant drugs. By learning how to view your thoughts from an objective point of view, you learn how to move through them via a calm state of mind.
2. It can improve your ability to focus and concentrate.
A 2010 study found that a mindfulness meditation routine not only reduced feelings of fatigue, but also improved participants’ executive functioning, working memory and visuospatial processing. And, of course, all of these things make for a much more productive workday. So if you feel particularly distracted in your office or want to step up your game to vie for that potential promotion, it’s probably time to add a bit of mindfulness to your morning routine.
3. It makes you more open-minded toward the people around you.
We all make impressions, associations and judgments throughout the day, and many of them occur in our subconscious. They’re what make it easy — or at least easier — to move through the world without feeling overstimulated and mentally exhausted all the time. But they can also create unwanted implicit age and race biases. Luckily, achieving a more mindful state of being through practices like mindfulness meditation can help us turn off this part of our brains temporarily and form new thoughts and choices in the moment instead.
4. It makes you a more resilient person.
Cultivating a sense of mindfulness takes a lot of hard work and, therefore, a lot of discipline. That lesson seamlessly translates to how we then approach the rest of our lives. For one, we aren’t afraid to commit to something and keep working at it until we get there. And second, being in a mindful space makes these challenges feel not so scary after all because you are only looking at one piece of the puzzle at a time. Talk about a win-win situation.
5. It can unleash your sense of creativity.
You’d be amazed what hidden talents you discover inside your brain when you learn how to turn down that constant chatter each day and observe what remains. Researchers have found that a mindful meditation practice actually improves the two levels of creativity in the human brain: divergent thinking, which is related to ideation, and convergent thinking, which is being able to have a bunch of ideas manifest into one centralized vision. So don’t be afraid to step away from external chaos to create a little internal mess of your own.
6. It can alleviate those stress-induced alcohol cravings.
You know how sometimes, after a super rough day at work, all you want to do is head to a bar and knock back a few? Well, a recent study found that mindfulness training exercises can actually help heavy drinkers curtail their cravings by focusing on what exactly is going on with themselves in the present moment. This type of awareness helps people pay attention to their cravings and why they might be occurring temporarily rather than immediately jumping to suppress them because they’re uncomfortable.
7. It helps you connect with and take care of yourself.
Mindfulness is one of the most valuable components of a healthy self-care routine. After all, how can you truly nurture yourself if you aren’t paying attention to what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling? Pay attention to how mealtime, exercise, music, reading and even traveling make you feel, and use that information to feed your solo time. As long as you remain truly connected to yourself in this way, spending time alone will feel peaceful and grounding rather than lonely and isolating.