Mndfulness has become a real buzzword in the last few years. And there is a reason for that.
Scratch that – there are LOTS of reasons for that. In fact, you can find thirty of those reasons, 30 benefits of mindfulness, below.
In case you have ever wondered about mindfulness and if it really does benefit you or not (rather than it just being yet another new-age fad) here is some information for you that can help shed some light on this. This guide might be just the thing you need to inform yourself on how mindfulness can benefit you. This is not just a list based on our own opinion by the way – a lot of research has gone into creating this extensive guide. In fact, if you are curious about our sources and references, you can find a list of them at the end of the article.
So without further ado, here are the thirty benefits of mindfulness.
1. Stress reduction
Research has shown that regular practice of mindfulness can reduce your levels of cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone, so reducing that mindfulness tackles stress at its source.
Stress has been hailed as the biggest health issue of our time – stress causes not just anxiety, but also has many other detrimental impacts, including lowering our immune capabilities, lowering our ability to deal with emergencies, detrimentally impacting our ability to learn and grow, and so on.
So if you ever needed a way to deal with stress, mindfulness might just be the thing for you.
Mindfulness helps reduce stress
2. Improves our ability to deal with health problems
Stress is one of the main causes of health problems, so it is hardly surprising that mindfulness can improve our ability to deal with health problems.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, in fact, found that people who practiced mindfulness meditation regularly produced more antibodies than those who didn’t.
There is a reason why monks rarely get sick…
Mindfulness can help us deal with our health issues
3. Improves mood
A study conducted on U.S Marines found that practicing mindfulness meditation markedly improves mood and memory. The soldiers in question spent two hours each week for eight weeks practicing mindfulness meditation. That’s just over 17 minutes a day.
We all go through periods of low mood – so here is yet another reason for you to practice mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness can help boost your mood
4. Lowers blood pressure
A 2015 study found that regularly practicing mindfulness meditation lowers your blood pressure.
So if you suffer from high blood pressure, here’s your reason to start practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness can help lower your blood pressure
5. Improves our ability to recover from illnesses
Several studies on cancer patients found that practicing mindfulness meditation helped their recovery process. It was so effective that a whole methodology was developed around it, called Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery (MBCR).
This benefit, of course, doesn’t just apply to cancer – whatever illness you might be suffering from, mindfulness meditation can help. Worth giving it a shot won’t you say?
Mindfulness can help us recover from illnesses
6. Improves emotional regulation
Being able to regulate your emotions can be massively beneficial in terms of managing low mood, stress, anxiety etc.
Mindfulness meditation helps with this.
Regularly practicing mindfulness makes it possible for practitioners to detach themselves from such negative emotions. It helps them to identify, assess and analyse them. More importantly, it enables them to accept things instead of fighting them. This, in turn, enables them to better regulate their emotions, and come up with more effective coping mechanisms.
Three 2016 studies, in fact, support this theory. Makes sense of course – when you get better at managing your thoughts, you will get better at managing your emotions.
Mindfulness can help us better regulate our emotions
7. Improves resilience
A 2016 study on vulnerable children found that regular practice of mindfulness meditation improved their resilience, as well as their ability to cope with different situations, mood, empathy, etc.
There was a similar outcome when Lama Osar – Dalai Lama’s right-hand man and a veteran at mindfulness meditation – was tested by neuroscientists. They found that Oser’s left-to-right prefrontal cortex activity ratio was off the charts. The left-to-right prefrontal cortex activity ratio indicates how resilient someone is to setbacks, and Oser’s was literally superhuman. He had been practicing for over 30 years but had to start somewhere.
You too can improve your resilience to setbacks – which is a vital skill. Start your practice of mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness can help us become more resilient
8. Lowers incidents of workplace burnout
Burnouts can happen to anyone and have an adverse impact on one’s career.
Mindfulness meditation can help with that.
According to a 2014 study, mindfulness helps people create a sort of separation, a buffer if you will, between their work and life. This, in turn, helps them prevent getting burned out, as they can separate themselves from their work.
If career progression is important to you, this might just be the reason you needed to start practicing mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness can help us avoid burnout
9. Improves neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity is our brain’s ability to adapt over time. This is why we continue to evolve and improve, and is also what enables us to learn and grow.
Lots of research has been done on the impact of mindfulness on neuroplasticity. They all have pointed towards a positive connection between mindfulness and neuroplasticity.
So basically, if you want to be smarter – mindfulness meditation can be very useful for you.
Mindfulness can help us improve our brain’s neuroplasticity
10. Makes us more open-minded and less judgemental
Mindfulness can help decrease instances of bias and judgemental behaviour. A 2015 study found that just by listening to a mindfulness meditation audio increased the state of mindfulness, and reduced implicit bias related to race and age.
When you practice mindfulness meditation, it makes you more aware of everything around you, and more open. So it makes sense that regular practice can lead to the lessening of implicit biases and narrow mindedness.
Mindfulness can help us become more open minded and less judgemental
11. Improves body satisfaction
Concerns regarding body image is a big issue these days, especially amongst women. Turns out, mindfulness meditation can help deal with that.
In a 2014 study, two groups of women were tested on their overall body satisfaction levels. The group that received three weeks of mindfulness related training were significantly less dissatisfied with their body image and self-worth, and also had better self-compassion and body appreciation.
So if you struggle with body image issues, try out mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness can help us deal with negative body image
12. Improves cognition
A 2010 study found that people who practiced mindfulness meditation, even briefly, improved their working memory, executive functioning, and visuospatial processing.
Yet another way mindfulness meditation helps us improve and grow.
Mindfulness can help us improve our cognitive functions
13. Improves concentration and focus
A 2008 study of brain scans found that people who regularly practiced mindfulness meditation were better at bringing not getting distracted, and bringing back their focus when they were distracted, than those who did not practice mindfulness.
This only gets better the more you do it.
So if you struggle with focus, you need to try mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness can help us deal with distractions
14. Reduces the feeling of loneliness
A 2012 study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University found that people who practiced mindfulness meditation regularly decreased their feelings of loneliness.
The participants in the study meditated thirty minutes a day for eight weeks.
Loneliness is a major cause of depression, and anxiety, so when you learn to manage and reduce these feelings it will positively impact nearly every area of your life.
Mindfulness can help reduce the feeling of loneliness
15. Improves sleep
Do you struggle to sleep? Suffer from insomnia? Mindfulness can help with that.
A 2015 study of older adults with sleep problems found that regular practice of mindfulness meditation had significant positive impacts on their quality of sleep.
So if you have problems falling asleep, try out mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness can help us improve our sleep
16. Helps deal with negative thoughts and feelings
Practicing mindfulness can help you be more aware of what you are thinking and feeling. That not only helps deal with anxiety and stress but also helps manage other thoughts and feelings, including the negative ones.
Also, when your actions are mindful your mind doesn’t have quite as much opportunity to come up with negative stuff, as your focus is elsewhere. So in a way, you stifle it at the source.
If your little voice is always negative, or you are prone to rumination, you should definitely try out mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness can help us deal with negative thoughts and feelings
17. Helps deal with physical pain
A 2011 meta-study, involving a review of ten studies, found that mindfulness-based therapy can help reduce symptoms of pain, and helps deal with physical pain.
Building awareness and being present helps you become more aware of your pain. Over time – with the practice of mindfulness meditation – you should be more able to manage your pain.
Mindfulness can help us manage our pain better
18. Helps improve our brain
As mentioned above, mindfulness meditation helps improve our neuroplasticity. But that’s not the only way it has an impact on our brain – mindfulness positively impacts nearly every area of our brain.
For example, a 2005 study showed that regular mindfulness meditation practice helped increase the thickness in the cortex – the area of our brain that’s important for functions like sensory-processing and attention. A 2011 study showed that practicing mindfulness meditation can increase our grey matter, which in effect improves our capacity for learning and memory.
Try mindfulness meditation to improve your brain.
Mindfulness can help us improve our brain
19. Better sex
A 2011 study published in the Psychosomatic Medicine journal found that mindfulness meditation enhances one’s sexual experience and pleasure.
When we are mindful, the focus is in the present – so it definitely makes sense, as by being mindful you will be more focused on your experiences and sensations, which in turn impacts and improves your sex life.
Mindfulness can improve our sex life
20. Improves our ability to make decisions
A 2012 study by the UCLA found that people who meditated consistently over a long period had larger amounts of gyrification, i.e. folding of the brain’s cortex.
This is a good thing as the extra folds can help process information faster, as well as reduce ruminating on past events which adversely impacts our ability to make decisions.
Are in a role where you need to make decisions? Then consider making mindfulness meditation a regular practice. In fact, everyone should, as we all need to make decisions, so it is good to have a way to improve this essential skill.
Mindfulness can help us make better decisions
21. Helps us become more empathetic and compassionate
A 2013 study done at Northeastern University College of Science found that even a small amount of mindfulness meditation made participants 50% more compassionate!
When we are focused on the present, we are more aware of what is going on, including the pain and suffering of others.
Compassion is a valuable trait – it makes the world a better place. We need more of it, not less. So this is yet another benefit of mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness can help us be more empathetic and compassionate
22. Slows down neurodegenerative diseases
A study conducted at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center indicates that the positive neurological benefits of mindfulness meditation can, in fact, slow down neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s patients who participated in the study demonstrated lower levels of cognitive decline compared to those who didn’t practice mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness can slow down neurodegenerative diseases
23. Makes us more creative
Creativity is widely recognised as a key skill these days. If you ever wanted to improve your creativity, mindfulness meditation can be of huge help.
There are two main factors that determine our levels of creativity – divergent thinking, and convergent thinking.
A 2014 study at Leiden University found that those who practiced mindfulness meditation experienced significant improvement in both convergent and divergent thinking. Basically, their creativity levels improved significantly.
Mindfulness can help us be more creative
24. Better heart health
A 2015 study on mindfulness and health revealed that mindfulness has a positive impact on heart health, mainly as a result of increased physical activity, better eating habits, and a healthier body mass index.
If your heart needs help, give mindfulness meditation a try.
Mindfulness can lead to better heart health
25. Helps us manage our anger
Practicing mindfulness meditation helps build self-awareness, which can help notice and manage anger when it surfaces.
So if you struggle with anger, mindfulness meditation can be very useful.
Mindfulness can help us manage our anger
26. Helps us better manage addictions
Being present helps us be better at examining why we do what we do. Addictions are nearly always automated behaviors, so when we get better at noticing what we are doing, it becomes easier to examine and manage such automated behaviors – especially when they do more harm than good.
Mindfulness meditation also helps build up coping mechanisms, which helps deal with – and prevent – relapse.
Mindfulness can help manage and deal with addictions
27. Helps with weight loss
A 2017 study involving overweight or obese adults found that regular practice of mindfulness meditation helped them lose weight. Very likely has something to do with how mindfulness helped them improve their eating habits, or how mindfulness helped improve their moods or a combination of both and more. Doesn’t matter. What does matter is that mindfulness meditation can help if you are trying to lose weight.
So if that’s one of your current goals, mindfulness meditation can be a great tool in your toolbox.
Mindfulness can help with weight loss
28. Better job performance
According to research conducted by Gallant in 2016, mindfulness can improve our executive functioning, which improves our capability and performance.
Two other studies, conducted in 2014, support this finding. They also found that mindfulness impacts the overall job performance and achievement, as well as job satisfaction.
So whether you work or run your own thing, mindfulness meditation can have a positive impact and improve your performance.
Mindfulness can help improve our work performance
29. Improves IBS and IBD
A 2015 study involving a nine-week training program, including mindfulness meditation, found that it significantly improved people’s symptoms of IBS and IBD.
So if you or someone you know suffers from IBS and/or IBD, mindfulness meditation can be helpful.
Mindfulness can help manage IBS and IBD
30. Helps improve attention
A 2011 Harvard study found that people who practiced mindfulness meditation were significantly better at attention, and dealing with distractions.
An earlier, 2010, research supports this – it also found that those who practiced mindfulness meditation were much better at sustaining attention that those who didn’t practice mindfulness meditation.
So if you want to improve your attention, mindfulness meditation is worth trying out.
Mindfulness can help us improve our attention
Now that you know how beneficial mindfulness meditation can be for you, all that remains is you actually starting your practice.
It’s not difficult to do – in fact, you can start off by doing a minute a day, and then increase from there. Don’t think you have to start big right away – make it easy on yourself, start small. In fact, a 2016 study showed that even just a few minutes of mindfulness meditation a day can improve your executive attention and retention memory, which in turn improves your overall performance.
One key thing to remember about mindfulness meditation is this – consistency is key. So try doing a few minutes a day, but do it every day, because that is how you will really reap the rewards.
To get you started right away, here is a 10 minute guided mindfulness meditation you can listen to and follow along:
If you would like a more structured approach, check out these two free mindfulness programs:
These 2 articles can also be helpful:
So as it turns out, mindfulness meditation actually has a lot of benefits – it can help improve both your mental and physical health. It can help you be more resilient, and strong. It can help improve your sleep and sex life, as well as help deal with and reduce pain. And lots more.
If you ever needed a reason to get started with mindfulness meditation, you have them now. It does not really matter why you do it, as long as you do it.
Give mindfulness meditation a shot. Your future self will thank you 🙂
Are there any other benefits of mindfulness, or tips, that you know of? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments.
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