5 Benefits of Mindfulness
Have you heard your psychologist say “practice some mindfulness”? And have you wondered “why?”
Well, here are just a handful of benefits to practice mindfulness today!
- Reduced rumination.Several studies have shown that mindfulness reduces rumination. For example, in one study by Chambers et al. (2008), participants at a 10-day intensive mindfulness retreat reported significantly higher mindfulness and a decreased negative affect compared with participants who did not engage in the mindfulness retreat. They also experienced fewer depressive symptoms and less rumination.
- Stress reduction.Many studies show that practicing mindfulness reduces stress. In 2010, Hoffman et al. analysed 39 studies that explored the use of mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. The researchers concluded that mindfulness-based therapy may be useful in altering affective and cognitive processes that underlie multiple clinical issues.
- Decrease in anxiety, negative affect, and emotional reactivity. The researchers found participants who experienced mindfulness-based stress reduction had significantly less anxiety, depression and somatic distress compared with the control group. Mindfulness meditation shifts people’s ability to use emotion regulation strategies in a way that enables them to experience emotion selectively, and that the emotions they experience may be processed differently in the brain (Farb et al., 2010; Williams, 2010). Mindfulness meditation practice helped people disengage from emotionally upsetting pictures and enabled them to focus better on a cognitive task as compared with people who saw the pictures but did not meditate (Ortner et al., 2007).
- Mindfulness meditation affects our ability to focus attention and suppress distracting information. Individuals who practice mindful meditation had significantly better attention and higher mindfulness, which were directly correlated with cognitive flexibility and attentional functioning (Moore and Malinowski, 2009).
- Relationship satisfaction.A person’s ability to be mindful can help predict relationship satisfaction — the ability to respond well to relationship stress and the skill in communicating one’s emotions to a partner. Mindfulness: protects against the emotionally stressful effects of relationship conflict (Barnes et al., 2007); is positively associated with the ability to express oneself in various social situations (Dekeyser el al., 2008); and predicts relationship satisfaction (Barnes et al., 2007; Wachs & Cordova, 2007).