Practising mindfulness regularly can create space and allows your mind and body to respond rather than react. This can lower stress levels and manage how you act under pressure.
Recent studies are demonstrating that mindfulness not only has a significant role in reducing our stress and anxiety levels, but also, (with regular practice), can build up and strengthen our resistance to stress internally; enabling us to be more resilient and bounce back from difficult situations.
Here are a few ways in which mindfulness develops our ability to be stronger, happier and less stressed.
- Being not Doing: Mindfulness shifts us from the busy doing; tick list in our heads, must, should mode into what is known as ‘being’. Being mode has less expectation, it is just simply about recognising how you are feeling right now, in this moment. Checking in with feelings, sensations and noticing any thoughts as they come and go. Doing is more associated with action and although we need it to get things done, we often get lost in doing and react rather than respond.
- Mindfulness helps to calm down our ‘smoke alarm’ in the brain called the amygdala. This is our natural stress responder, which at times is vital to our survival, but sometimes it goes off when we don’t need it. It releases cortisol, which kicks us into action but also leaves us physically and mentally stressed. Mindfulness techniques, reduce this response and calm the amygdala back down and make it less likely to respond when we don’t need it to.
- Practising mindfulness enables us to become more aware of our thoughts as they happen. We begin to be able to sift through the thoughts that we need, are true and are helpful. Instead of just letting our automatic pilot wander around reacting to everything we notice on our busy, over stimulated lives. As we become observers of our thoughts, we are better able to respond to the ones we need and to realise that we are not our thoughts and often thoughts are not facts.
- Mindfulness improves our ability to focus and concentrate. As it reduces our reactions to stress, we are able to work more efficiently and not get distracted by random ideas and thoughts. We become more efficient at what we do, achieve more and develop a greater sense of well-being as we create a more productive world.
- You feel happier! You begin to develop a new-found sense of care and compassion for yourself. You view others differently and your levels of emotional intelligence increase to allow space to understand how your thoughts and feelings can affect you. You gain more control and understand what makes you happy. Mindfulness strengthens and re wires your brain to recognise when you are stressed and builds up your ability to realise the ‘in the moment’ experiences that count and make you happy. It can also give you a sense of slowing time as you spend more time in the moment rather than worrying about all the things you must do next!!