If you're not yet practicing mindfulness regularly, you probably hear every wellness channel raving about why you should. Regular mindfulness practice offers amazing benefits for both mental and physical health that stretch far beyond simply slowing down and feeling present.
From better sleep to strengthening our neural pathways, here are five ways mindfulness affects your holistic health, plus some tips to help you stick to a regular practice.
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There are so many ways to practice mindfulness in your everyday life, from yoga and meditation to simply making a conscious effort to be present as you go about your daily activities.
If you’re not already practicing mindfulness regularly, here are five reasons to give it a try.
Mindfulness helps you manage stress by improving your ability to regulate your emotions and moods. It also promotes an adaptive response to everyday stress by encouraging you to approach problems head-on rather than avoiding them.
Managing stress in its turn benefits your holistic wellbeing in a number of ways:
In fact, holistic health experts frequently recommend mindfulness practices to their patients as part of a holistic treatment plan. This is because stress has been linked to a variety of chronic health issues, from insomnia to chronic headaches. Finding healthy ways to manage it is crucial for holistic wellbeing.
There's evidence that mindfulness helps people manage chronic pain and illness. Of course, mindfulness doesn't take away the symptoms, but it can help you cope.
Practicing mindfulness decreases anxiety and worry, relieves fatigue, and helps patients manage emotional highs and lows. What's more, patients with ongoing mindfulness practice tend to focus more on everyday activities rather than their symptoms.
Mindfulness can also benefit caregivers by reducing their anxiety and worry as they care for their loved one.
Cognitive decline and short-term memory loss are common as you age, but mindfulness can slow the process. In fact, studies show that even patients suffering from Alzheimer's can see dramatic improvements in their cognitive health with mindfulness training.
There's also some evidence that mindfulness meditation and focused breathing improve attention and emotional control. These practices also have beneficial effects on memory, processing, and reasoning.
When we encounter viruses, bacteria, and other illness-causing organisms in the environment, immune cells are distributed via the bloodstream. From T-cells to immunoglobulins and pro-inflammatory proteins, these cells fight illness and infections in all sorts of ways.
Studies show that mindfulness can increase the number of these cells, thus boosting the disease-fighting benefits of our immune system. It may even play a vital role in fighting cancer and other chronic diseases. In fact, mindfulness improves certain biomarkers in cancer patients and may even slow the progression of the disease.
There is also evidence that mindfulness can speed wound healing and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Beyond the benefits mentioned above, mindfulness is also a great way to improve your overall health. Practicing mindfulness encourages healthy behaviors, such as being active, getting regular checkups, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
Mindfulness has also been linked to improved heart health and lower blood pressure. In overweight adults, mindfulness can support weight loss, improve eating habits, and decrease depression.
Everyone can benefit from practicing mindfulness through yoga, meditation, and focused breathing. However, you'll get the most benefit if you make mindfulness a part of your daily lifestyle by practicing regularly.
Even a brief 10- or 15-minute daily session can improve cognitive function, reduce stress, and balance your moods. A mid-day meditation or yoga session can lead to improved performance of tasks throughout the rest of your day.
Here are some tips to help you commit to daily mindfulness practice:
Mindfulness and holistic health go hand in hand. Not only does mindfulness reduce stress and anxiety, but it also enhances mood health and brain function. It also provides physical benefits, including reduced blood pressure and a stronger immune system.
Most importantly, practicing mindfulness makes you more aware of your lifestyle choices, and that's better for your health overall.
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