What is Mindfulness?
According to Daniel J. Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute, “mindfulness” is about being sensitive to novelty in our everyday experiences and no longer being on automatic. He explains that with mindful awareness the flow of energy and information that is our mind enters our conscious attention and we can both appreciate its contents and come to regulate its flow in a new way. Reflecting on the mind enables us to make better choices and change becomes possible. Mindfulness is also an excellent tool when it comes to successful stress management.
How Mindfulness Reduces Stress
As stated in a recent article from Mindful.org, mindfulness has been proven to reduce stress in numerous studies, including those from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Oxford. Listed below are ways that practicing mindfulness can help you manage your stress levels!
- Mindfulness helps build inner strength and feelings of peace, which means any current or future stressors have less of an impact on your well-being and happiness.
- You become more aware of your thoughts and gain the ability to adjust them, allowing you to prevent a stress response.
- You learn to take a moment to pause and access a situation before reacting, often saving yourself any addedstress.
- Mindfulness switches on your “being” mode of mind, which is associated with relaxation. Your “doing” mode of mind is associated with action and the stress response.
- You are more aware and sensitive to the needs of your body allowing you to recognize when you need to take a break or practice self-care.
- Mindfulness can enhance your emotional intelligence, which allows you to be more in-tune to both your own and other’s emotions. This can prevent or help you better handle conflicts.
- Your level of care and compassion for yourself and others rises the more you practice mindfulness. Having compassion soothes your body and mind and inhibits your stress response.
- Practicing mindfulness reduces activity in the part of your brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is central to switching on your stress response, so effectively, your background level of stress is reduced.
- Mindfulness can directly improve your ability to focus and be productive. This leads you to be more effective and productive at work, which in turn allows more time for you to focus on your well-being.
- Rather than just seeing the negative consequences of feeling stressed, mindfulness offers you the space to think differently about the stress itself and utilize it when necessary, or let go of the stress if it is not beneficial.
To learn more about how to practice mindfulness and how it can help you reduce your stress levels, visit Mindful.org!