Our bodies and minds are interlinked in many ways that we still don’t understand. It is clearer now than ever, though, that an unhealthy mind is going to create an unhealthy body. Anxiety, stress and depression can lead to a lot of physiological problems in addition to the psychological.
You should be getting professional help if you do have any psychological issues as just about everybody can understand the benefits of therapy. It shouldn’t end there, however. You should be using every tool in your arsenal to make your mind and body healthier. Which is why it is important to bring the concept of mindfulness into your life.
Mindfulness helps you let go of the negative emotions that drown out your present. It allows you to focus your mind and live in the moment without judgement. In essence, it provides a sense of calm that will improve many aspects of your life.
In this article, I will go over how the practice improves your health and how to implement it in your life.
How to practice mindfulness
The first step is to understand what mindfulness is and importantly what it isn’t. Mindfulness is not like meditating in which you are trying to reach some kind of state of bliss. Yes, mindfulness can help you connect your body and mind, but the greater point is not some kind of meditative spiritual union. It’s to help let go of judgment and live more in the moment with more focus.
The easiest way to do this is to focus on tasks at hand so your mind doesn’t wander to negative areas. For instance, if you are doing something like brushing your hair, then you should think about how it feels to brush it. Focus on the sound of the brush going through your hair. Allow yourself to feel the static being generated from the brushing.
When you have many of these non judgemental moments throughout the day in which you are totally present in what you are doing, then you will be mindful about the times when you’re not. And then you can do something to change that.
Mindfulness is heart healthy
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the US every year. High blood pressure is rampant which leads to a lot of coronary problems. And stress is one of the causes of this epidemic of heart disease.
Getting rid of stress is among the most important things that we can do to stay healthy. It helps lower blood pressure and decreases the risk of stroke. Mindfulness is a fantastic way to deal with this. People who have mastered mindfulness have lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure than those who don’t.
One of the reasons is that muscle tension is reduced and looser muscles help to decrease tension. This lower tension reduces the amount of cortisol produced by the body in times of stress.
There have been studies done in which those with cardiovascular problems are given a treatment with mindfulness exercises as part of the therapy and some without. The ones that do the mindfulness show much higher improvement rates than those that didn’t.
Less chance of Alzheimer’s
Cognitive decline is often seen as inevitable in some people. The reality is that a healthy brain can usually withstand the effects of age on it. Of course, there are some cases where it is unavoidable, but those that practice mindfulness have a much higher chance of living until their ripe old age with all of their mental facilities intact.
Mindfulness helps with emotional control which reduces stress and anxiety. These put strains on a person’s brain and cause them to decline much more quickly than those that don’t feel such an amount of stress.
Short term memory is improved through the practice of mindfulness as does executive functioning which means that good decisions are able to be made even at an advanced age.
Higher immune response
Stress also wreaks havoc on the body’s immune system so it often leads to an increase in illness when you are frequently stressed.Mindfulness is able to prevent you from being overcome with stress which in turn leads to a stronger immune system.
Disease fighting cells get a boost when you practice mindfulness which then hunt down viruses and other germs that would ordinarily get you sick. This increase in immunity is essential in this modern world in which we are bombarded by pathogens.