In 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
Reduce emotional charge by introducing more choices
Engage in life more efficiently and effectively
Experience more happiness
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.