Understanding Mindfulness

To adapt to the constantly advancing world, people need to choose being mindful over having mind-full. As per Collins dictionary, “Mindfulness is a way of training your mind to concentrate on the present, in order to feel calm and improve your mental state.” [1] 

Proven Benefits of Mindfulness Practices

Many researchers have proven that mindfulness is a boon in today’s stressful environment. Mindfulness based programs are being adopted by schools, hospitals, prisons, corporates, etc. to improve performance and overall well-being of people. Some benefits of mindfulness are mentioned below. 

Improves focus- Mindfulness directly improves cognitive flexibility and attentional functioning. [2] It helps in enhancing focus and attention. Hence, it is very useful for students and professionals. 
Enhances relationship satisfaction- It has been found that mindfulness protects against stressful effects of relationship conflicts and helps in increasing relationship satisfaction. [3] It improves the understanding level and bond between people. 
Reduces stress- Mindfulness has been associated with lower stress and higher work engagement. [4] It has shown significant reduction in stress level. Therefore, it is effective in depression treatment. 
Boosts working memory- Mindfulness helps to increase the capacity of working memory [5] and improves its functioning. 
Improves emotion regulation- Mindfulness training directly alters areas of the brain that are activated and deactivated with regards to emotion-inducing stimuli. [6] This way it helps to regulate extreme emotions and even addictions. 
Promotes better physical health- According to studies, mindfulness practices have been directly linked to improvement in type 2 diabetes, psoriasis, lower back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia and they also help people deal with chronic illness. [7][8] 

Scientifically Verified Mindfulness-Based Therapies

Since the 1970s, clinical mental health professionals have developed various therapeutic applications based on mindfulness to help people experiencing a number of psychological conditions. [9] After reviewing more than 200 studies based on mindfulness, researchers have found that mindfulness-based therapies are highly effective for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. [10] Some famous mindfulness-based therapies are: 

  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction- It combines mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and yoga to help people become more mindful, relaxed, and composed. [11] 

  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy- It uses traditional cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness practices to improve well-being of individuals. [12] 

  • Mindfulness-based relationship enhancement- It uses a set of psychological techniques to help strengthen coping skills related to relationships related stress. It has been proven to favorably impact couples’ level of relationship satisfaction, autonomy, closeness, acceptance of one another, and relatedness. It also beneficially impacts their optimism levels, spirituality, relaxation, and psychological distresses. [13] 

  • Acceptance and commitment therapy- It uses acceptance and mindfulness practices with commitment and behavior change strategies to increase psychological flexibility and well-being. [14] 

  • Dialectical behavior therapy- It treats people with borderline personality and related disorders by using DBT, which uses mindfulness as a core exercise. [15] 

  • Mode deactivation therapy- It is a useful mindfulness-based treatment for adolescents with problem behaviors and complex trauma-related psychological problems. [16] 

Conclusion

Including mindfulness practices in daily schedules can be rewarding as it has proven track records in managing stress, anxiety, depression, emotional disbalances, focus, pain, and even chronic illnesses. Looking at its endless possible benefits, mental health professionals have developed various effective therapies that have helped thousands of people live a better life. 

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