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When you hear the word “mindfulness” what goes through your brain? Meditation? Yoga? Calmness? Mindfulness is the moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, emotions and sensations. It allows all the thoughts, emotions and sensations to come and go without any judgment or need to do anything with them. It is simply the acceptance of whatever comes your way.
Practicing mindfulness has many benefits, believe it or not.
Lowers stress - It helps manage stress by increasing connectivity to the brain. The practice works on attention and executive control.
Restores emotional balance - Mindfulness improves the recovery from emotional situations by keeping the emotional brain in check.
Increases resilience - Practicing for as little as 25 minutes, for three consecutive days, increases your resilience to psychological stress.
Reduces anxiety and depression - decreases anxiety and depression in adolescents and adults, by up to 38%. It increases the activity in the part of the brain that processes cognitive and emotional information (a.k.a. your worry).
Improves concentration - It increases your ability to concentrate and ignore distractions.
Reduces physical pain - The reason for this benefit is that the practice does not activate the opioid system, which then reduces the potential for addiction side effects.
Though these are only a few of the many benefits of practicing mindfulness, there are a few ways you can actively practice. You can utilize yoga programs, journaling, or create your own type of meditation practice. There are a variety of ways to practice mindfulness. Focus on what works for you.