Growing number of leading psychologists have studied the effects of mindfulness practices and incorporated their findings into behavioral therapies and at-home practices.
We follow a meta-analytic study3 (a review of over 40studies of over 1000 participants) to summarize the benefits of mindfulness on our anxiety levels, and how we can practice 5 skills5 to take control over our anxiety.
It sounds tempting, practicing mindfulness at home can help you relieve anxious and depressive feelings, all in the comfort of your home. Except, you really can, if you have guidance to do it correctly.
Mindfulness, at its core, is a practice of being present in the moment. It is a form of self-reflection with an open and non-judgmental mindset.
Mindfulness helps us to face our daily life stressors, serious life changes, and feelings of depression and anxiety. Typical practices that are no stranger to us today, include meditation, yin and hatha yoga and breathing exercises and more.
Because of the growing popularity of mindfulness on social media platforms, increasingly more people are wondering what that actually means and if it is beneficial.
Meta-analytic studies5 have repeatedly reviewed the effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy which focuses on facing our stressors reflectively, rather than reflexively.
Results4 consistently suggest mindfulness practices as a reliable approach to reduce stress, anxiety and depressive feelings.
These results extend to clinical populations, for patients with diagnosed anxiety, mood, and depressive disorders. Hofmann et al. (2010)3, revealed impressive results based on nearly 40 studies, which saw 1,140 participants that received mindfulness-based therapy, effectively achieved lowered anxiety and mood disorder symptoms, with results which were long-lasted post therapy.
The demographics of this study included patients dealing with cancer, psychiatric conditions or other serious medical conditions.
The basic premise under-lying the effectiveness of mindfulness practices, is that mindfulness counters the effects of stressors.
By directing our attention from uncontrollable outward stressors of the past (regrets) or the uncertainty of the future (worries), inwards.
This increases our sense of control over our feelings and emotions, providing a safer space for our minds.
Mindfulness is a low risk, high reward skill we should equip ourselves with to counter big or small life stressors. And with sustained practice, comes sustainable benefits.
Mindfulness practices are easier than it seems. Daily, micro-doses of mindfulness practices can already help our mental health regain its balance.
We grow our awareness of the present. We begin to follow our breath and our surroundings. We take time and conscious effort to inhale and exhale. We think about our posture as we sit, notice where our gaze and attention is directed towards, we reflect on our attitude at that moment, and so on.
Overtime, we will get better at being mindful in even more distressing times of our lives. The ability to be mindful is a skill that will serve us time and time again, it teaches us to be kind to ourselves and provide a safe space for personal growth and care.
Practice being mindful today. Start with gaining awareness of our digital habits, to stay clear of distractions, look up and be present.
Observing: I pay attention to sensations, such as the wind in my hair or sun on my face.
Describing: I’m good at finding words to describe my feelings.
Acting with Awareness: I find it difficult to stay focused on what’s happening in the present. (AAR)
Non-judging: I tell myself that I shouldn’t bethinking the way I’m thinking. (NJ-R)
Non reactivity: When I have distressing thoughts or images, I just notice them and let them go. (NR)