How to Be Healthy and Happy the Mindful Way
We live in a fast paced world with incessant activity and multiple points of attention.
This is why learning and practicing mindfulness is such a wonderful tool for experiencing greater emotional and physical health.
Mindful practices and interventions such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and general mindfulness mediation have been shown to benefit people with chronic pain, stress, cancer, depression, anxiety, and numerous other mental and physical ailments.
Mindfulness can help us to relax, have greater self-control and manage our behavior, change how we think about things, be less judgmental, and develop healthy levels of acceptance.
All of which have merit when it comes to our overall health and well-being.
A relatively recent study in the Journal of American College Health (2010) explored how mindfulness levels in students was related to certain health indices, such as sleep quality, binge eating, physical activity, and smoking. Stress levels were explored as a mediator of these behaviors.
The study revealed that, “higher levels of mindfulness were associated with perceptions of better physical and psychological functioning (ie, perceptions of health, stress, and activity restriction).”
Mindfulness was related to decreases in stress which contributed to healthier perceptions and behavior.
In relation to physical health, the more mindful students got better sleep, had healthier eating habits, and were more physically active.
Mindfulness levels are also related to emotional well-being and reveal that mindfulness plays a role in emotion regulation.
Mindfulness can provide a level of cognitive awareness to help us reframe our perception of an experience and focus on more of the positive aspects. The daily practice can help people decrease rumination on worry, let go of negative thoughts, and help amplify the positive aspects of life.
You can learn to shift your attention and change your attitude to be more patient, compassionate, curious, grateful and accepting.
So, how can you be more mindful? Here is a short mindfulness meditation you can practice.
- Sit down in a comfortable position.
- Gently close your eyes.
- Inhale slowly to the count of three as you visualize yourself filling with positive and healing energy.
- Exhale to the count of six as you imagine any negative feelings and energy leaving your body.
- Do steps 3 and 4 twice more.
- Repeat in one hour.
Roberts, K. C., & Danoff-Burg, S. (2010). Mindfulness and Health Behavior: Is Paying Attention Good for You? Journal of American College Health, 59 (3), 165-174.
Wilner, J. (2012). How to Be Healthy and Happy the Mindful Way. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 28, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/positive-psychology/2012/01/how-to-be-healthy-and-happy-the-mindful-way/