5 Benefits of Mindfulness
By: Gina Skopec, Therapy Intern
Mindfulness is a state of being in which one has moment-to-moment awareness of his or her experience and surroundings without passing judgment (Davis & Hayes, 2012). The concept of mindfulness has been gaining popularity in the fields of counseling and psychology over recent years as a practice that can benefit both clients and clinicians. One’s physical, mental, and emotional well being can all benefit from regularly practicing mindfulness. Davis and Hayes (2012) list the following as just some of the benefits one can expect from practicing mindfulness regularly:
Stress reduction: There are a number of studies available which show practicing mindfulness to be effective in reducing stress. It is believed that mindfulness can help to increase positive affect as well as decrease negative affect and anxiety. Mindfulness aids individuals in processing emotions in a more selective, and less reactive, manner.
Increased focus: Mindfulness, especially mindful meditation, has been shown to increase one’s ability to focus his or her attention more fully. Additionally, it enhances one’s ability to block out stimuli that may be distracting to the task at hand.
Improved working memory: Working memory is similar to short term memory. Short-term memory refers to the actual storage of information whereas working memory refers to the manipulation and organization of the information stored in our short-term memory. Regular mindful meditation has been shown to increase the capacity of our working memories.
Greater satisfaction within relationships: It is believed that practicing mindfulness can help reduce the effects of conflicts within relationships as well as increase one’s ability to express oneself within a relationship (or other social situations). Additionally, possessing the ability to be mindful can even help predict one’s level of satisfaction within a relationship.
Others: In addition to the above benefits, mindfulness has also been found to enhance self-insight and intuition, increase immune system functioning, reduce psychological distress, and increase one’s level of control over his or her reactions when experiencing fear.
These are just some of the many benefits regular mindfulness can provide. Now all that is left is to get out, practice being more mindful, and begin to experience some of these benefits for yourself!
Davis, D. M., & Hayes, J. A. (2012). What are the benefits of mindfulness. Monitor on Psychology, 43 (7). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner.aspx