Mindfulness: Does It Work?

 

Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of the moment you are in. The here and now. It is being able to honestly acknowledge your feelings and thoughts in a productive and motivational way. It is the “wellness revolution” that pops up on your Facebook feed more and more. Offering ways to reduce stress, increase success and improve your life. It sounds too good to be true, but does it really work?

The answer is yes and no. There are some things in life that we can’t control. Tragedy, large challenges and little stresses can come and go, but sometimes they are more chronic and even permanent. In this way, mindfulness can’t fix all of your problems. However, there are scientific results for the efficacy of mindfulness. It consistently reduces stress, and in one study even increased gray matter in the brain (helping with memory, learning and overall function).

Although these results and the posts on the internet seem conclusive, they have to be seen in context. Many of these studies are done within highly specific groups. We see only part of the picture. Also, while they claim that it reduces anxiety, stress and depression, that doesn’t mean that it will work in every case. That being said, it absolutely does not hurt to try it.

Mindfulness, while it is not a miracle fix for all problems, can help you. Here are a few tips:

  1. Take a break from your phone or computer periodically.
  2. Write down something that you are grateful for.
  3. If you can, spend sometime outside.
  4. Try mindfulness meditation and breathing exercises.
  5. Every night or morning spend 15 min. quietly thinking about your day.

In reality, mindfulness is the practice of appreciation. We understand that sometimes things go wrong in your life that change it forever. However, taking time to look at what and who you have will be beneficial no matter what.

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