Renewing Your Life Through Mindfulness
Being in the moment without becoming burnt out is a challenge many of us face. Whether struggling under the stress that comes from endless multitasking or weighed down by the drudgery of the daily grind, it's all too easy to become disconnected from the present. Mindfulness - being engaged in your moment by moment experiences through a non-judgmental attitude and a sense of curiosity - can foster healthier relationships and improve your performance at work by bringing fresh enthusiasm into every area of your life.
While mindfulness has it's origin in Buddhism, it's become more mainstream in recent years due to the benefits it provides. Various industries from medicine to aviation to manufacturing have recognized the importance of mindfulness in the work place with regard to quality, safety, and productivity. In fact, studies have shown that mindfulness increases grey matter density in the brain. 1 But work isn't the only area where you can reap the rewards of mindfulness. Relationships - think marriage and parenting - and even weight loss programs have used it with success.
Mindfulness: What it is and What it's Not
According to Dr. Neil Farber, mindfulness is not just the opposite of mindlessness. It's also not simply vigilance, relaxation or concentration. Rather, mindfulness "focuses our brain on what is being sensed at each moment for the purpose of becoming more aware of one's own mental processes, listening attentively, enhancing flexibility, and recognizing bias and judgements."2 Farber states that mindfulness is an acquired skill that starts with an awareness of breathing and the engaging all your senses to gain a heightened awareness of you and your surroundings. Various exercises can be used to develop a habit of mindfulness. "Practicing mindfulness even for a few weeks," says Farber, " brings physical, social, psychological and spiritual benefits."2
The Benefits of Mindfulness
The rewards of incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine are enormous:
Improves the functioning of your immune system
Improves your mood & fights depression
Improves memory & ability to concentrate
Enhances relationships by fostering communication with, compassion for and connection to others, whether, spouses, children, work colleagues or clients
If you have been struggling to remain engaged without burning out, practicing mindfulness can breathe new life into your daily routine. For more information on mindfulness, check out the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness at www.umass.edu/cfm. Here are a just a few of the mindfulness apps available to you:
To find the app which best suits you, check out the Huffington Post's review of mindfulness apps.3 If you are experiencing the effects of burnout, we can help you restore health and vigor to your life. Contact us today for an appointment.
1 Hölzel B et al, Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Res. 2011. 191:36-43.
2 Farber, N. Mindfulness in Anesthesia: A Safety and Satisfaction Initiative. Current Reviews for Nurse Anesthetists. 2015. 38 (9): 109-120.
The contents of this blog are intended for educational purposes only. The information presented here is not a substitute for proper medical attention, diagnosis, or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider before starting or making any changes to an existing treatment plan, exercise program or dietary regimen, and before using nutritional supplements.
~ Dr. Sarah Williams ~ Concord & Nantucket, Massachusetts ~