Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to what is happening in our lives in the present moment. Of course it will not eliminate the pressures of life, but it can help us to take note of knowing how to wait or say STOP with practice.
The practice of mindfulness can be synthesized with “four R’s,” according to therapist in Sheffield:
- Restthe attention (the mind) on an anchor.
- Recognizewhen and where you wander.
- Returnthe attention gently to the anchor.
What is Mindfulness for?
Mindfulness helps us reconnect with ourselves to relieve stress. It also helps us to feel more in tune with our emotions and, in general, to be more aware of ourselves, both mentally and physically.
The most common way in which this technique is practiced is through conscious meditation. This usually implies that professionals help you focus on images, sounds and physical sensations to try to reduce “brain talk”. Some people at first struggle with conscious meditation, so they find it difficult to focus their attention, but this is to be expected and getting it may require practice. Practicing the technique regularly can help people take a step back, recognize their “mental chatter” and see things more accurately and without judgment.
Other forms of attention practice may involve physical movement. Exercises such as yoga and Tai Chi have a lot to do with meditative movements, which can help improve physical self-awareness and calm the mind.
While these types of Mindfulness practices are useful for everyone, people with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression can benefit from a more structured therapy that incorporates at the same time attention, such as Cognitive Therapy based in consciousness
The benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness develops Emotional Intelligence, promotes happiness, increases curiosity and commitment, reduces anxiety, mitigates difficult emotions and traumas, and helps us stay focused, learn and make better decisions.
In addition, by exercising the brain with mindfulness and related therapies, we can also change the shape and size of our brain, increase concentration, flexibility and intelligence and build new neural pathways and networks.
The main area in which growth takes place is that of the prefrontal cortex, where our executive function is found. It is the center that controls and orders, where analytical thinking is born.
We must bear in mind that a reduced activity and a small size of the prefrontal cortex are correlated with psychological conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), drug abuse and other problematic behaviors such as difficulty in controlling impulses. , schizophrenia, depression and mood disorders in general.
The goal of Mindfulness is to help people do the following:
- Recognize, slow down or even stop the usual negative reactions
- See situations more clearly
- Respond more effectively to situations
- Improve creativity
- Feeling more balanced at work and at home
Studies that analyze the effectiveness of Mindfulness have observed the following benefits in people who practice it habitually:
- 70% reduction in anxiety
- Fewer visits to doctors
- Increase in the antibodies that fight diseases
- Better sleep quality
- Fewer negative feelings, such as tension, anger and depression
- Improvements in physical conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome and psoriasis.
And is that while some parts of the brain get bigger, stronger and more active with meditation, others calm down, like the amygdala.