The concept of mindfulness has recently become popular in the Western world, but in fact it is quite ancient. Buddhism included mindfulness as one of its central ideas over 2,500 years ago. Mindfulness means remembering to have a caring and discerning moment-to-moment awareness of what is happening in one’s immediate reality. Psychology Today defines mindfulness as a state of open, active attention on the present. Instead of letting life pass by, mindfulness means staying in the moment and being awake to real experience.
Mindfulness has many benefits. Buddha himself said, “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
Here are 10 amazing benefits of mindfulness.
1. Heightens your level of awareness
By living in the present moment, you will be more engaged and alert. You will be better able to respond to events that happen around you because you are fully aware of them. Furthermore, the quality of your work will be improved because you are completely focused on the task at hand. Eckhart Tolle, in his book “A New Earth,” says that “The foundation of greatness is honoring the small things of the present moment, instead of pursuing the idea of greatness.”
2. Promotes calmness and peacefulness
When you are mindful, you are not judging events as good or bad. You simply accept them without judgment. In this way you are freed from the circumstances around you that are often outside your control. When you are mindless, your feelings and reactions just happen without your control. Reacting angrily to an event usually doesn’t produce any benefit or change the situation, it just causes you stress. Buddha said, “You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.” Likewise, Eckhart Tolle said, ““The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.”
3. Helps you to maintain successful relationships
This is because you are able to communicate your viewpoints and ideas in a calm and professional way, focusing on the facts instead of emotions. Additionally, mindfulness makes you a better listener, because you are really focused on what the other person is saying. This makes the person feel that what they are saying is important to you.
4. Reduces stress and improves health
By promoting a detached and peaceful state of mind, mindfulness promotes good physical health by reducing stress. The benefits can include lower blood pressure and pain, better sleep, less worry, and fewer gastrointestinal difficulties.
5. Improves your enjoyment of life
This is because you are fully present to enjoy and appreciate the moment. You immerse yourself into the experience of admiring a sunset, smelling flowers, or being with family and friends. By fully being together with others, you have better quality time with them and better quality of life.
6. Improves your professional life
This happens because you are constantly working on the right task at the right moment. You are not thinking of the next task or the task you just finished. You are not thinking about what your boss or colleagues think of you. You are only focused on doing your personal best at each task at hand. When serving customers and helping coworkers, you are entirely attending to their needs as best you can at the present moment. This improves your customer service and relationships with your coworkers. By being nonjudgmental, you are not emotionally affected by their actions. For example, if your customer buys from a competitor, you are not inclined to take it personally.
7. Promotes self-acceptance
By observing events and even your own thoughts without judging them, you become more accepting of yourself. Psychological researchers have recently discovered that being happy starts with your self-view. With better self-worth and self-compassion, we are better able to meet life’s challenges with success and grace, and less worry and depression.
8. Leads to a better marriage or intimate relationship
This is achieved as mindfulness helps you to control your emotions and observe your reactions to things in order to improve those reactions. Relationship expert Marsha Lucas says, “mindfulness can help us break out of the negative knee-jerk reactions we bring to relationships.” Mindfulness helps us accept responsibility for our thoughts and actions instead of automatically blaming the other person.
9. Helps you make better decisions
By calmly evaluating information and events, fully and without judgment, you have better understanding of the situation and can avoid making decisions based on emotion or false data.
10. Unleashes your creativity
Inspiration and fresh ideas come out when your mind is clear and free of negative emotion, particularly the emotions associated with grudges and perceived hurts from the past. Without the baggage of guilt, shame, regret, and hurt, you become more fully alive and connected to your creative self.