Over the last few decades, the popularity of mindfulness has continued to grow in the world of psychology. Mindfulness was defined by Jon Kabat-Zin as being an awareness of the present moment without being judgmental. Mindfulness is something that lets you recognize your thoughts, behaviors, and your feelings as they come up. It enables you to stop getting stuck in your normal and usual automatic reactions to things.
Even though its popularity continues to grow there are still many people who are still skeptical about it. In this article, we’ll try to give you some of the best reasons why you might want to consider learning how to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness Is Free
One of the top reasons one should consider practicing mindfulness is the fact that when it comes right down to it, it costs nothing to practice it. Even though there are classes, gadgets, and special books written about mindfulness you can buy. These items are not needed in order for you to practice mindfulness.
You can actually become quite aware of what’s happening all around you and within you, right now, if you wanted to. For instance, when you read these words in this article you are probably thinking about what has been written here. Right now, just take a few moments to do the following:
- Try to refocus your gaze to the edges of your monitor, phone screen, or tablet screen.
- Now notice the colors that you see along with any differences in the shades of the colors.
- Try and use words to help describe to yourself what you notice about these colors.
- Bring your gaze slowly back to this article and pay attention to the colors as well as shades of your screen and what’s on it like the background, icons, ads, programs and so on.
- Now start reading the article again.
There you go, you just got through practicing a little bit of mindfulness. Now, that wasn’t too difficult, was it? There are, however, some times when you might instances where you could use a little guidance. This means if you can afford it you might want to attend a workshop or buy one of the books that we have listed on our recommended books page.
Mindfulness Can Help You Accept Things You Cannot Change
This is one of those reasons that help you see how mindfulness can teach you to take some positive action to feel better about your situation. For example, it might help you get out of a very unhealthy relationship, find a new job, or make any life changing decision.
When pain is involved, mindfulness is something that helps you to suffer less. You can learn to develop a certain amount of good flexibility in how to determine where to place your attention as well as help you not be controlled by any reactive judgments. It allows you to experience pain that can’t be avoided without adding more suffering to it. Yes, pain is painful, but you can learn not to rail against it or even refuse to acknowledge it.
Accessible to Everyone, No Matter Your Spiritual Beliefs Are
This is one of the reasons why so many people gravitate to mindfulness. It doesn’t point to any one religious affiliation or belief. You don’t have to worry about paying attention to that if you don’t want to. Better yet, you can include your religious beliefs if you want to. With Christianity, you can use a centering prayer to help with your mindfulness. You’ll also find that mindfulness can be deeply felt in Judaism through Shabbat and it has strong roots in Buddhism. Mindfulness also works well for those who are agnostic or atheist.
Research Supports Facts That Mindfulness is Helpful
Much research has been done around mindfulness and there are scientifically proven facts that therapies that are mindfulness-based can significantly help people with many of the following issues:
- Chronic pain
- Substance abuse
- Borderline Personality Disorder
It’s important to realize however, mindfulness isn’t what one would call a “cure-all” for every person.
Mindfulness Can Be Practiced With Very Little Effort
Many people confuse mindfulness with meditation. This is understandable since there are times when meditation can be used in conjunction with mindfulness. When you use meditation with mindfulness it is a way that you can practice mindfulness in a more structured and dedicated manner. You could compare it to going to the gym in order to use equipment to work out with instead of just exercising without any in your own home. You can choose to practice mindfulness through dedicated practice that includes meditation or you can do so through more informal ways.
Mindfulness Can Encourage You to Trust Your Experiences
One of the more popular reasons for you to practice mindfulness is that it is something that does not demand that you believe anything or anyone else. It just tries to encourage you to notice what’s going on around you and what you are feeling.
No one is truly a better expert on your personal experiences than you are. Our judgments and experiences in life are more than likely going to be very different than someone right next to you. For instance, you might find a siren or a hot room very annoying while it might not bother someone else at all.
It Can Help You Get Over Yourself
Mindfulness is something that can help you get over yourself. It’s important to realize that all of us spend way too much time thinking about ourselves during the day. When you adopt a mindful perspective on life, you are better able to learn to how to recognize your commitments and connections with those who are around us. In today’s society, life is something you can’t really do alone, you do need to rely on those around us to provide us with things we take for granted. Some of these things include the following:
- Running water
- Garbage pick up
- Public transit
- The clothes on your back (doubt you actually made the clothes you’re wearing right now)
- Food you put on the table
Teaches You to Have Greater Flexibility in Life
Mindfulness can help you learn to cultivate your knowledge of self. The knowledge of self that you have the more authentically you can live. You become aware of all the responsibilities that you in taking control of your actions and how they align with your personal values. Instead of just letting your mind go on “auto-pilot”, you learn to participate genuinely and totally in ways that can enable you to exercise your freedom you have to control your actions in the present moment.
You Can Practice Mindfulness Anywhere and Anytime
If none of the other reasons peak your interest, this is one that might. This is something that you can practice at any time and any place you want. Quite often those around you won’t even know what you are doing. One of the easiest ways to do this is to make sure to focus on your breathing and use it as the anchor when you practice mindfulness. Focusing on the sensations you get from your nostrils when you inhale and exhale can help bring a calming feeling. That alone can be enough to help you to lower your stress levels and help you make less reactive decisions and much more aware and clear decisions.
It Actually Feels Good to Practice It
For a lot of people, this is one of the key reasons why they practice mindfulness. By practicing mindfulness you will become much more aware of both the pleasant and the unpleasant experiences in your life. When you become more aware of these things then you can try and cultivate more of the pleasant experiences instead of unpleasant ones.
If you commit yourself to practicing mindfulness you’ll be able to feel uplifted just by the simple things in life such as:
- The beauty of the different seasons
- Blue skies
- Warm breezes
- Gentle rain
- A child playing
- Favorite song
This list could go on forever, but we think you understand what we’re trying to say here. Once you have learned to break free from your typical reactive programming of your mind, you’ll be able to look at each situation far more objectively and you’ll be amazed at how little effort it will take to feel much happier instead of being bogged down by the negative things.