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The Benefits of Mindfulness

benefits of mindfulnessIn this post I will focus on the benefits of mindfulness – especially in how we cope with stress. Read my last blog post if you’re interested in learning more about what mindfulness is.

We can’t completely avoid stress. What we can do is work toward developing more adaptive coping strategies. In other words, we can stop reacting and start responding to stress.

Mindfulness provides access to powerful inner resources so we can change the way we see and ultimately experience difficult situations. We’re empowered to participate in these situations – and interact with the world at large – as we work with what arises instead of trying to escape.

Mindfulness gives us a wider range of options for influencing situations. We come to realize that, at any moment, we’re in a better position to do something different. This helps us develop greater resilience in the face of everyday stressors and brings comfort in the midst of suffering. For example, studies on pain have demonstrated that how we relate to pain makes a difference in the degree of pain we experience.

I appreciate how psychologist, Stephen Gilligan reminds us that symptoms are part of the solutions. He explains that symptoms work as mediators between our body and the outside world. Through mindfulness, we truly benefit from an increased awareness of our bodies.

Here are additional benefits that mindfulness brings to your daily life:

Ability to be fully present and engaged

Increase creativity

Reduce emotional charge by introducing more choices

Engage in life more efficiently and effectively

Experience more happiness

Better health

Increase overall well-being

Improve accuracy in predicting future emotional experiences (instead of the tendency to negatively forecast future experiences which adds even more stress)

Develop emotional tolerance by the simple act of observing the experience instead of always engaging in it (becoming the observer can increase your range of options)

Sustain attention to internal landscape and increase emotional stability and vibrancy

Enhance ability to perceive what is experienced through your senses so that your own mental state can be a closer representation to your true nature, versus colored by projections mistaken for reality

Cultivate and refine your ability to introspectively monitor your own mental activities

That’s a very motivational list of benefits! Stay tuned for my next post as I share how and when you can practice mindfulness.

Personal Growth by Understanding Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a practice that I’ve found to be a critical part of personal growth. In fact, I have a Mindfulness-Based Group that is based on using mindfulness as a way to reduce stress and improve the quality of life. I will be sharing in a series of blog posts information about mindfulness and how you can practice it daily as a powerful resource in your own life.

Let’s start with an explanation about what mindfulness is. Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. is responsible for bringing this practice to mainstream medicine. His definition of mindfulness is as follows:

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way;

On purpose,
in the present moment, and

Mindfulness is bringing awareness to the here and now without trying to change it. Dr. Kabat-Zinn equates this practice to tuning an instrument. This means that if we practice this increased awareness of body, mind, heart and soul we are basically tuning our instrument before we take it on the road. To me it sounds really responsible and conscientious approach to life.

The contrast is mindlessness. This is something we’ve probably all experienced — a loss of awareness which results in forgetfulness, separation from self, and a sense of living mechanically. Sounds stressful – doesn’t it? I’ll be sharing the specific benefits of mindfulness in my next post followed by strategies on implementing mindfulness into your daily life.

Blogging for Personal Growth

Healing Through Personal Growth – that’s my philosophy as a counselor and that will be the theme of my new blog. I’m really looking forward to sharing tips, resources and techniques that have enriched my life and the life of my clients.

I have a real passion for learning and exploring new things. You can learn more about my background here.  I think this blog is the perfect medium to share my holistic approach to life. Please contact me if you have any personal questions that come up as you review my suggestions.

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