In my quest to make 2015 a year of living more joyously, authentically and gracefully, I thought I should jump on the bandwagon of the hottest (and maybe oldest!) health trends out there — mindfulness. Mindfulness, a meditative practice dating back thousands of years, has roots in Buddhism. Meditating encourages you to focus on the present, rather than on the anxieties of past or the future.
How hard can meditating be?
This seems like a health trend that could excel in – no sweating, no kale, no over packed and overpriced Pilates classes – this was going to be my sport! Honestly, how hard could it be to sit still and focus on your breathing for a few minutes?
For a busy person with a million balls in the air, it’s a lot harder than it sounds.
In an age where there are so many distractions – checking email, texting, playing with Trivia Crack with friends, or just obsessively thinking about what’s next on the to do list – stopping to be in the now seems almost impossible. Closing my eyes and taking a 10 minute break quickly reminded me of when I got the giggles in my first yoga class and was asked to leave the room.
Finding inner peace is not easy for me, but the benefits are profound!
With that in mind, here are my top 5 reasons you might want to consider incorporating mindfulness meditation into your daily life:
- Reduce stress and anxiety – Research published in the journal Health Psychology shows that mindfulness is not only associated with feeling less stressed, it’s also linked with decreased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
- Create better relationships – Another study found that people who practice mindfulness are less judgmental, more self-aware and better listeners.
- Helps you get skinny – A study from the Journal of Nutritional Education & Behavior found that mindfulness helped participants eat slower and allowed them to reconnect with their body’s cues for hunger and satisfaction.
- Be a better person – According to a study in The Journal Psychological Science, researchers from Northeastern and Harvard University found that meditation is linked with more virtuous, “do-good” behavior.
- Stay healthy – Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Health found that people who engage in meditative practices miss fewer days of work due to acute respiratory infections, and also experience a shortened duration and severity of symptoms while sick.
Meditation and mindfulness are backed by science! I know that practicing for a few minutes a day can actually make a big difference in my health and well-being.
Every day I try to sit for five minutes (I usually give up after two) in silence, breathe deeply and when my mind wanders try to pay attention to my breath.
Is it helping?
I don’t know yet, but I do feel like I making an effort to reduce stress, increase my self-awareness and improve both mental and physical health is paying off both personally and professionally. And sometimes just trying makes me feel better and more productive!