These days, it seems like everyone’s talking about meditation or mindfulness. But is it just a passing fad, or is there more to it?
What is it?
Meditation has been around for (literally) thousands of years. Almost every major religion has incorporated it into its practises in some way.
Today, the most common form in the Western world is mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness is essentially about bringing your thoughts and attention to the present moment. Often this involves concentrating on one thing, such as your breath. This helps to refocus the mind away from a negative state such as anxiety or stress.
What are the benefits?
Imagine being able to press a reset button to clear your mind from negative emotions. As a regular practise, mindfulness can lead to:
- Clearer, calmer state of mind
- Improved concentration and memory
- Reduced stress, depression and anxiety
- Better sleep
- Boosted immune system
- Sense of wellbeing
- Improved social relationships
- Greater sense of control
- More energy
Why should I do it?
If you’re not convinced already, here are just a few ways that mindfulness can help people living with life-changing diagnoses.
When health concerns are weighing on your mind, it’s easy to let stress and anxiety stop you from getting a good night’s sleep. With mindful breathing you can make those worries drift away by focusing on something much more productive: relaxation.
Sense of wellbeing
Studies show regular mindfulness practise is associated with a greater sense of wellbeing and a perceived improvement in health.
Breaking bad habits
When you draw your attention to the present moment, you’re far more aware of the things you know you shouldn’t really be doing. Does excess sugar make your condition worse? Mindfulness will help you break that cycle of anxiety–craving–anxiety and allow you to make better choices.
Stress is a major concern for everyone these days, but it may be especially so for people living with life-changing conditions. Mindfulness has been shown to lower blood pressure, calm the mind and allow space for a more positive emotional response to experiences.
How long will it take?
Although in many cases just five minutes of mindfulness can have a positive effect, you’ll see the best results with regular practise.
Set aside 15 minutes a day and within a month you’ll likely find that rather than being an extra item on your to-do list, mindfulness is helping you be more productive and get more done.