Better, happier, healthier—mindfulness does it all!
Mindfulness can be looked at in two ways: focusing on the present, and observing the present without judgment. More and more studies are focusing on the effects of mindfulness, even utilizing a mindfulness class to teach physical and mental strategies that help people to maintain focus on the present moment. Here are four more ways mindfulness makes you better at life.
1. Mindfulness meditation may relieve chronic inflammation
“The mindfulness-based approach to stress reduction may offer a lower-cost alternative or complement to standard treatment, and it can be practiced easily by patients in their own homes, whenever they need,” says Melissa Rosenkranz, lead author on the study. University of Wisconsin-Madison neuroscientists with the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center found that behavioral interventions designed to reduce emotional reactivity are beneficial to people suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions—and beyond beneficial, mindfulness may be more effective in relieving inflammatory symptoms than other activities that promote well-being!
2. Mindfulness improves reading ability, working memory, task-focus, and test scores
According to a study by researchers at the UC Santa Barbara, as little as two weeks of mindfulness training can significantly improve your reading comprehension, working memory capacity, and ability to focus. “This is the most complete and rigorous demonstration that mindfulness can reduce mind-wandering, one of the clearest demonstrations that mindfulness can improve working memory and reading, and the first study to tie all this together to show that mind-wandering mediates the improvements in performance,” says Michael Mrazek, lead author of the published paper on the study. Subjects improved their GRE test scores in just two weeks using mindfulness techniques.
3. Mindfulness meditation heightens your musical engagement
Frank Diaz, assistant professor of music education, studied meditation and music enjoyment. He reports that 64% of the meditators in his study entered ‘The Zone’—a heightened state of awareness. The subjects listened to a 10-minute excerpt of Giacomo Puccini’s opera “La Boheme” after listening to a 15-minute recording of a segment produced by the Duke University Center for Mindfulness Research.
4. Mindfulness help you lose weight
In a survey of more than 1,300 licensed psychologists, more than 70 percent identified cognitive therapy, problem-solving, and mindfulness as “excellent” or “good” weight loss strategies. “The good news is that research and clinical experience have shown that, in addition to behavioral approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy that targets emotional barriers helps people lose weight,” said Norman B. Anderson, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Psychological Association.
For links on how to meditate (which can increase mindfulness but is different than mindfulness in many cases), try The Secret Happy Pill, Exactly How to Meditate for Happiness, or Top Ten Meditation Mistakes.