Should You Be Practicing Mindfulness?

Mindfulness.

Gaining popularity in the wellness sphere, it’s also invading workplaces near you.

A team of researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health examined the rise of the most popular complementary practices (yoga, meditation, and chiropractic care) in the US over a five-year period.  

They discovered meditation was the fastest growing trend with the number of users reporting they use mindfulness practices increasing from 4.1% in 2012 to 14.2% in 2017.

 If all the cool kids are doing it on their lunch break, should you be doing it too?

Maybe.

In our modern age of technology and the need to constantly be “busy”, mindfulness is a tool that can ground you in a world swirling with distraction.

Science backs this and has shown benefits of practicing mindfulness to include:

  • stress reduction
  • anxiety control
  • improved self-image
  • more positive outlook on life
  • lessened incidence of depression
  • increase in self-awareness
  • decrease in age-related memory loss
  • mental discipline to avoid addictive behaviors
  • improved sleep quality and duration
  • lowered blood pressure

There are many forms of mindfulness each with its own unique goal or process.

Guided mindfulness practices are great for beginners and are led by a source outside of the user. An instructor – whether a live person or a recording, typically guides you through the process of relaxing your body and mind then through mental images or visualizations with a specific goal.

If you are constantly letting your mind wander and are easily distracted by – squirrel! – listening to a guided mindfulness practice can provide necessary purpose and direction for an untrained mind.

This can be quite a comfort to someone accustomed to a hurried, goal-oriented lifestyle that may consider taking time to sit and breathe unimportant or impossible.

Brain waves come in four varieties: Delta, Theta, Beta and Alpha.

When we are constantly running from one thing to the next, multi-tasking and stressed out, we are operating with beta brain waves. This constant state of being turned “on” creates a state of chronic inflammation that is harmful to our bodies and minds.

Mindfulness practices shift your beta wave patterns into alpha and theta patterns. Spending time in these brainwave stages help us deal with life in a more calm, focused and controlled manner.

While the benefits of a regular practice are many, it should not be assumed mindfulness is for everyone.

For some, sitting quietly with oneself may be a difficult or even painful experience. For someone who has experienced trauma, stillness could bring up memories or feelings they are not ready or able to confront. Feel free to consult a mental health professional if you are not sure if practicing mindfulness would be of benefit to you.

Interested in giving it a try?

Your wellness platform may include guided mindfulness practices. To find out, return to your homepage, click your left menu and scroll through the entries for “Logging”. If available, select “Mindfulness Practices”.

If Mindfulness Practices are turned off for your platform, reach out to your program administrator and let them know you’d like to give mindfulness practices a try!

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