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Is Your Mind Full of Stress? Turn to MINDFULNESS!

Do you remember if any flowers in your balcony garden are in full bloom? Can you recall the Spotify playlist you heard on your way to the office today morning? Probably no. And the reason is too obvious: our mind is so full of worries about the past and anxieties about the future, that we often end up losing our present. Yes, we miss out on the little joys of the present and instead pile up our stressors.

Mindfulness has become a buzzword, especially with the pandemic-panic on rising. But what really is mindfulness? A meditative technique? A Yoga practice? Not exactly, though these are bits and pieces of it.

In simple words, mindfulness is nothing less than focusing entirely on the present, without lending a thought to a past action or being anxious over what’s going to happen next.

Mindfulness isn’t a practice to be newly inculcated in humans. Consciously or not, we do practice mindfulness at times. For instance, if you are a badminton-favorite, that moment on the court when you are completely focused on the trajectory of the shuttle and nothing else, you are practicing mindfulness, cause’ your entire focus is now on the shuttle, neither on anything in the past nor future. No wonder, you feel relieved and destressed after a good game.

Just like the instance above, focusing on the present not only lets you enjoy the present but also reduces unwanted stress, especially the emotional stress caused by anxiety about the future.

There are various methods to practice mindfulness; meditation is just one of those. It can be practiced while sitting, standing, or even lying down. Taking a short break amidst the busy workday and focusing entirely on the movements of your body, or a leisure activity that you are involved in, help you be mindful. Mindfulness proves the best when it becomes a lifestyle.

Why mindfulness? Think of this. Is it a good bargain to lose a good night’s sleep worrying over the meeting with the client the next day? Not at all. You lose sleep and gain stress. But when you are mindful and focus on the present, i.e., sleep, not only is your anxiety is reduced, stress due to lack of sleep (sleep pressure) is also done away with.

Mindfulness and Stress

Stress is the response of our body to a situation, especially where circumstances are hard to conquer or unfavorable to us. As humans, we are tuned for sudden reactions and responses, which often increases this stress than solving a situation. Mindfulness helps you leash this negative stress by suppressing the unwanted and the “too-quick-no-thought” responses. How? Read on.

When you practice mindfulness, you objectify the thoughts and problems that stress you. You become more aware of yourself, your mind, your thoughts, and your being. When you do this, you are literally taking a step back from yourself. In other words, you are seeing your thoughts from an outsider’s point of view. This puts brakes on the sudden eruption of emotions like anger or frustration and lets you make decisions with a better mind, free from chaos. Over time, when mindfulness becomes a part of your lifestyle, your mind becomes more “wiser” with decision-making. When you become more aware of yourself, your focus turns to the present. Your breathing, your heartbeat, your present emotions, feelings, and thoughts come into focus.

Now that you are more aware of your being, the responses to stress are considerably reduced. Its effects can be seen in the amygdala of your brain. Amygdala being the center of stress responses in the human body, mindfulness meditation reduces the stress response activity of the amygdala- a “nip-it-in-the-bud”. Mindfulness also influences the stress pathways of your body, and bring about changes in your brain structures and activity associated with attention and emotion regulation.

Mindfulness, HRV, and Sleep

Studies have proved that mindfulness has a very good positive effect on Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and, trailing its results, you get a good recovery rate and good sleep quality. Self-reported stress was decreased considerably over the 10-day intervention of mindfulness, and it entailed an increased HRV and thus increased physiological indices of sleep quality.

What other effects does mindfulness have on the human body?

We know that many ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. arise out of high levels of stress. High stress, over a long period of time, tends to reduce the health and immunity of the body. When mindfulness brings stress under control, its advantages can be seen across the body, to wherever its effect trickles. Patients suffering from clinical colds, psoriasis, irritable bowel syndrome, posttraumatic stress disorder were found giving positive responses after they undertook the mindfulness meditation interventions. Also, it alleviates chronic pain and gastrointestinal difficulties and helps in improving sleep.

Greater attention span and memory span are two other bonuses that mindfulness gives you.

One of the most important and the most needed benefits of mindfulness in today’s world is the sense of happiness. Stifling deadlines, staring round-the-clock at the blue screens, along with the pandemic chaos of the day has taken a toll on everyone’s sense of peace and happiness. Through mindfulness, you give more attention to your body.

To wrap it up: Not just for the mind, mindfulness is a good doc to your physical body too. Be mindful rather than being mind full. Pay attention to your present- you can enter the bliss of mental and physical health.

Why tarry? Make mindfulness your lifestyle now!

As said, “If you listen to the present whispers of your body, it will not shout at you with its illness in future”.

Stay tuned to know how Repose helps you identify mindful activities in your lifestyle.

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