There are so many ways to practice mindfulness in your everyday life, from yoga and meditation to simply making a conscious effort to be present as you go about your daily activities. And practicing mindfulness regularly offers tremendous benefits for your mind and body.
Wondering how mindfulness affects your holistic wellbeing? Here are five ways mindfulness affects your holistic health plus some tips to help you stick to a regular practice.
5 Ways Mindfulness Affects Your Holistic Wellbeing
If you’re not already practicing mindfulness regularly, here are five reasons to give it a try.
1. Improves Your Ability to Manage Daily Stress
Mindfulness offers amazing benefits for managing daily stress. Mindfulness helps you manage stress by improving your ability to regulate your emotions and moods. Mindfulness promotes an adaptive response to everyday stress by encouraging you to approach problems head-on rather than avoiding them.
Managing stress benefits your holistic wellbeing in a number of ways:
- Improved brain function and mental clarity
- Lower heart rate and blood pressure
- Increased awareness, attention, and focus
- Lower anxiety levels and an overall feeling of calmness
- An overall feeling of connectedness to your environment and those around you
In fact, holistic health experts at Rahav Wellness in New York City frequently recommend mindfulness practices to their patients as part of a holistic treatment plan. This is because stress has been linked to a variety of chronic health issues, from insomnia to chronic headaches. Finding healthy ways to manage it is crucial for holistic wellbeing.
2. Improves Your Ability to Cope with Chronic Pain and Illness
The benefits of mindfulness for people with chronic pain and illness are amazing. Of course, mindfulness doesn’t take away the symptoms, but it can help you cope. Practicing mindfulness decreases anxiety and worry, relieves fatigue, and helps patients manage emotional highs and lows.
Practicing mindfulness helps the patient focus more on everyday activities, rather than their symptoms. But even more than that, mindfulness also benefits caregivers by reducing their anxiety and worry as they care for their loved one.
3. Reduces Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Cognitive decline and short-term memory loss are common as you age, but mindfulness can slow the process. In fact, studies show that even patients suffering from Alzheimer’s can see dramatic improvements in their cognitive health with mindfulness training.
There’s also some evidence that mindfulness meditation and focused breathing improve attention and emotional control. These practices also have beneficial effects on memory, processing, and reasoning.
4. Strengthens the Immune System
When we encounter viruses, bacteria, and other illness-causing organisms in the environment, immune cells are distributed via the bloodstream. From T-cells to immunoglobulins and pro-inflammatory proteins, these cells fight illness and infections in all sorts of ways.
Studies show that mindfulness can increase the number of these cells. It may even play a vital role in fighting cancer and other chronic diseases. In fact, mindfulness improves certain biomarkers in cancer patients and may even slow the progression of the disease.
There is also evidence that mindfulness can speed wound healing and reduce inflammation throughout the body. In general, mindfulness practices can boost the disease-fighting benefits of our immune system.
5. Boosts Overall Health
Beyond the benefits mentioned above, mindfulness is also a great way to improve your overall health. Practicing mindfulness encourages healthy behaviors, such as being active, getting regular checkups, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
Mindfulness has also been linked to improved heart health and lower blood pressure. In overweight adults, mindfulness can support weight loss, improve eating habits, and decrease depression.
Tips for Consistent Practice
Everyone can benefit from practicing mindfulness through yoga, meditation, and focused breathing. However, you’ll get the most benefit if you make mindfulness a part of your daily lifestyle by practicing regularly.
Even a brief 10- or 15-minute daily session can improve cognitive function, reduce stress, and balance your moods. A mid-day meditation or yoga session can lead to improved performance of tasks throughout the rest of your day.
Here are some tips to help you commit to a daily mindfulness practice:
- Find your motivation. If it’s a hectic day and you’re having a hard time prioritizing mindfulness, it’s helpful to remember why you committed to the practice and how it can benefit you.
- Choose the right time. It’s ok if your practice is only ten minutes one day and thirty minutes the next. Some days, you may even only have a few minutes. Rather than stressing over how long you have to practice, focus on making your practice a rewarding experience, no matter how long or short it is.
- Approach it with the right attitude. Every time you practice will feel different. Try not to think of your sessions as good or bad. There’s no bad way to practice mindfulness.
- Choose the right location. It can be a dedicated room inside your home, a yoga mat in your office, or a cushion on your living room floor. Wherever you decide to practice, make sure it feels safe and secure. Most people prefer to practice in the same familiar and comfortable spot every day, but there’s no harm in changing things up if that’s what appeals to you.
- Find a routine that works for you and commit to it. You can vary the length and location of your practice depending on what works for you that day but make a commitment and stick to it when it comes to frequency. Maybe once a day is best for you. Or maybe you like to practice a few times throughout the day. Finding a routine that works for you will help you commit to daily practice.
- Sign up for a class. Signing up for a yoga and meditation class can make mindfulness practice a social experience you look forward to several times a week.
The Take-Home Message
As you can see, mindfulness and holistic health go hand in hand. Not only does mindfulness reduce stress and anxiety, but it also enhances mood health and brain function. It also provides physical benefits, including reduced blood pressure and a stronger immune system. Most importantly, practicing mindfulness makes you more aware of your lifestyle choices, and that’s better for your health overall.