Mindfulness allows us to recognize our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as they arise without getting stuck in our usual, automatic reactions.
Mindfulness can also help alleviate stress by improving emotion regulation, leading to a better mood and ability to handle stress (Remmers, Topolinski, & Koole, 2016).
Some symptoms of stress, include:
- Constantly feeling anxious and worried.
- Feeling irritable, agitated and easily annoyed.
- Argumentative and defensive with friends and family.
- Restless sleep.
- Low levels of energy, often waking up feeling tired.
- Restless and frenetic mind.
- Often self-critical and/or critical of others.
- Feeling flat and uninspired.
- Having difficulty concentrating.
- Skin rashes and conditions.
- Clenching your jaw muscles and grinding your teeth at night.
- Headaches and migraines.
When you induce a state of relaxation, which can be achieved through mindfulness, other kinds of meditation, or other activities, you can reap the following benefits, including:
- Higher brain functioning.
- Increased immune function.
- Lowered blood pressure.
- Lowered heart rate.
- Increased awareness.
- Increased attention and focus.
- Increased clarity in thinking and perception.
- Lowered anxiety levels.
- Experience of being calm and internally still.
- Experience of feeling connected.
Some studies have also been found to decrease anxiety and facilitate post-traumatic growth in breast cancer survivors, in addition to the increasing vigor and spirituality (Tamagawa, Speca, Stephen, Lawlor-Savage, & Carlson, 2015).
Mindfulness has been considered an effective treatment for depression for many years. It has been found to diminish depressive symptoms, anxiety and stress in university students, in addition to reducing self pity in comparison with just undertaking yoga.
Mindfulness: How does it work?
One of the tools for which Mindfulness is invaluable when working with emotions. Especially in the version “Mindfulness-based stress reduction”. The recognition of emotions is practiced so that later you can be more aware that what is happening to you is: Happiness, sadness, anger, fear ….
We begin with the recognition of these basic emotions so that afterwards we can continue with all those that, over many years of research, have been named. For example, Jaak Panksepp, professor emeritus of psychology at Bowling Green University (USA) and expert in affective neuroscience formulated seven basic emotions: search, fear, anger, care or protection, pain, desire and play .
Through this recognition of emotions and using Mindfulness we can access the so-called regulation. The emotional regulation process is very important for our emotional and personal development. Poor emotional regulation makes us lose concentration, because our brain is stressed, and mediates our personal and work relationships. That is why Mindfulness is very useful.