Does Mindfulness really help?

This is probably the most pertinent question one would have in mind before delving into it. One way of answering would be, “you got to experience it”. Just joking! If you try to trace back its source, Mindfulness practices were widespread since 5th century B.C and were known to enhance one’s well-being. It was only in the 1970’s a resurgence of Mindfulness practices was noticed as a way of improving one’s mental health.

When we talk about incorporating Mindfulness in our lives what we mean is to create an environment where one can harness self awareness through these practices. Imagine a situation where your boss is over critical about your work performance. How do you feel or react? Many individual would land up feeling stressed, angry or upset and might react in an undesirable manner with others. In this entire chain of actions if the individual was Mindful then he would have been able to manage his emotions better and behave more responsibly with others. So what Mindfulness does is it helps a person become aware of his thoughts and emotions in the current moment by making a conscious effort to pay attention to them. And once a person is self aware it is seen they are able to handle emotions better, are more aware of others feelings thereby improving relationships, become more tolerant of distressing situations and can cope better with stressful situations. Along with these benefits regular mindfulness practice has shown long term improvement in memory, enhanced one’s productivity and improved one’s ability to pay attention and concentrate.

Even with children Mindfulness practices have shown positive changes. Along with being aware of one’s feelings and thoughts, children who practice Mindfulness are noticed become more empathetic and exhibit more pro-social behaviour. They are more cooperative, helpful and show less aggressive behaviour. Regular mindfulness practice has shown major impact on their academics as well with improvement in memory, attention and concentration.

Of course, all these changes noticed after Mindfulness practices have a scientific explanation. If we think about our mind in terms of Emotion Brain (that controls our emotions) and the Thinking Brain (that controls our decisions), it is seen that Mindfulness practice helps us bring a balance between the two. For instance, when we are scared, in the heightened state of emotion we often cease to respond effectively and think rationally. In such a situation being Mindful helps us become aware of our emotions and prevent our rational mind to be overridden by our emotion mind; bringing a state of balance. Research studies have attributed these change brought about by regular Mindfulness practice as enhancement of the Neuroplasticity of the brain. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to reorganize itself and form new neural connections. Increase in Neuroplasticity of the brain initiates the process of building the equilibrium between the Emotion Mind and Thinking Mind. As a result, a person is able to deal effectively with stress and anxiety, improve problem solving skills, improve attention and concentration, regulate their emotions, enhance mood, make better and more thought out decisions.

But one of the crucial things one should remember while practicing Mindfulness is, “You reap what you sow”. So a person practicing Mindfulness has to be regular with it, inconsistencies would not yield the benefits that it beholds. Just like learning any skill say for instance, you won’t learn how to swim if you don’t practice swimming. Similarly to understand and experience the true impact of Mindfulness in your life one has to make the practices a part of their daily life.

If you want to experience Mindfulness, get in touch.