Can practicing mindfulness help our mental health? Studies suggest it can change our brains in ways that produce positive thinking and engagement, and ultimately help us cope with physical or emotional distress.
In a study of 144 workers,participants completed an 8-week mindfulness training program with 2-hour classes each week at work and 45 minutes of daily meditation homework. Upon study completion, participants reported feeling less fatigue, stress and depression; improved relations with people; as well as better sleep and fewer aches and pains.
Mindfulness meditation involves focusing purposefully on what you’re experiencing, in the moment, without judgment. This includes awareness of your body sensations as well as awareness of your thoughts and feelings. It uses breath and body practices that relax the body and mind to reduce stress. Think of it as a form of mental training, and value it as you do physical training.
15-minute easy ways to practice mindfulness:
- Do a body scan focused on any tension or stress.
- Meditate as you focus on relaxing your muscles.
- Focus on your breathing and allow it to become relaxed as it relaxes you.