Embracing Mindfulness As A Tool To Reduce Stress
by Lucy Wyndham
The evidence in support of mindful thinking is clear: mindfulness, and its accompanying healing strategies helps guide people towards a less chaotic life. One recent study, for instance, found that 63% of adults practicing mindfulness saw a major reduction in their anxiety symptoms within the first several months. The practice of staying present in everyday life is especially important for individuals coping with trauma: in fact, mindfulness is an integral component of mind-body healing classes designed for traumatic aftermath.
In the past decade, public attention towards mindfulness has soared: but what’s all the fuss about? Put simply, mindfulness is the conscious act of staying present and being aware of our acute surroundings. Mindfulness incorporates a wide range of healing strategies, including mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, and mental/cognition habits, all of which are designed to reduce anxiety. Everyone practices mindfulness differently, but some patterns are clear: it’s important to train your mind to focus on the present instead of ruminating in the past or worrying over future actions. Staying present will enable you to focus on what’s immediately at task and, therefore, reduce anxiety over things outside your control.
Trauma and Mindful Thinking
Mindfulness has positive implications for all humans, but its role in healing from trauma is especially poignant. Emerging research has found that mindfulness is highly effective in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other forms of acute and long-term trauma. In fact, neuroscience research from the Harvard Medical School suggests that prolonged mindfulness actually changes the brain’s patterns of depression and other mental health symptoms to promote stronger mental health internally.
Meditation for a Healing Life
Many patients embrace mindful thinking by practicing mindfulness-meditation, a strategy that fuses mindfulness with traditional forms of meditation to promote healing. Begin in small steps: allow yourself 5 minutes to contemplate in a dark, quiet space while concentrating on your breathing. Many people mistakenly assume that the point of meditation is to not think about anything, and then become distressed by the appearance of unwanted thoughts. Instead, acknowledge the influx of thoughts during meditation and focus on staying attentive in the present moment.
Ultimately, mindfulness is not a “counter” to other forms of mental health therapy, but a tool that can be incorporated into your everyday approach to treating anxiety. Mindful thinking will help you heal in small victories: as you regain control of your thoughts in the present moment, it will become easier to heal past wounds for a de-stressed life.