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4 Mental Health Benefits to Mindfulness

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If you struggle carving out any “me time,” then mindfulness is probably something you need to learn how to practice. It’s all about finding time when you can be alone with yourself in the present moment. In fact, many really busy people believe that practicing mindfulness is what keeps them sane in the busy world they navigate every day. If you can find a nice, quiet spot in your home where you can sit and reflect on the things that happened to you during the past 24 hours, it will give you some time to take a step away from them, process them, compartmentalize them if needed and gain a fresh new perspective on your experiences.

Allowing yourself to feel the feelings and experience them rather than just stuffing them and trying to forget them will actually help you move past them more quickly. Ignoring them doesn’t work because they will inevitably come roaring back to the surface when you least expect them to and when you are least prepared to deal with them.

So what exactly are the benefits of mindfulness that turns it (and you) into a superhero with a gigantic super power?

1. It Gives You Insight.

The way you learn to practice is through meditation. Find a nice, quiet room where you know you won’t be disturbed. Put on some quiet music or white noise, sit down and close your eyes and just be. Don’t judge your thoughts. Just let them flow. If your mind wanders, notice it and then come back to your breathing. Meditation is all about your breath. Don’t let your mind wander back to the past. Stay in the present moment.

2. It Will Help Improve Your Mood.

Using mindfulness has been shown in clinical studies to help people feel better overall. This was studied in a group of marines who were preparing for a deployment and were very anxious about it. They practiced mindfulness for approximately eight weeks before shipping out. At the end of the study, when tested about their mood they showed a significant improvement.

3. Practicing Mindfulness Will Help you Become More Empathic.

Many of the great leaders of the world have one quality in common — their ability to feel empathy toward others. That is because when you understand other people and see them for who they are, you feel empathy for them. You simply can’t help it. It all starts with learning to feel self-compassion and empathy for yourself. Mindfulness helps put you in touch with your own feelings on a broad scale and that will, in turn, help you learn to feel compassion and empathy for yourself, which you will be able to extend to others.

4. Learning Mindfulness Teaches You How to Stay Focused and In the Present Moment.

One of the most interesting mindfulness experiences is to practice something called “thinking without thinking.” It may sound strange at first, but there is wisdom in the idea, because you consciously choose to empty your mind of all other thoughts except what you are experiencing in the moment. That is the essence of mindfulness. Staying focused on your breath and turning away from other thoughts is a tremendous benefit of mindfulness. And that simple truth is the beauty of mindfulness.

If you devote just 10 minutes a day to practicing mindfulness, you will almost certainly see many things in your life change. What do you have to lose?

Getty image by ma_rish

Originally published: February 26, 2020
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