Mindfulness, the benefits of mindfulness

Being aware of the present moment and of reality is the basis of the new current Mindfulness with which psychology and psychiatry aim to help people suffering from a variety of psychological illnesses, in particular, anxiety, depression and stress.

The new term in vogue is the Mindfulness or mindfulness centered on the reality of the present moment. There are already schools that teach this discipline of mindfulness, which is triumphing in the United States and has just arrived in Spain. One of the beneficial consequences derived from this exercise is precisely the quality of resilience acquired by those who practice it, by learning to cope with complicated situations.

Lately we heard a lot of the word resilience, even Estée Lauder has brought to light a campaign that speaks about the club of resilient women. Resilience is defined in psychology as the ability of a person to overcome traumatic circumstances.

Mindfulness or mindfulness as a concept

Mindfulness is not a new method. It is translated as "fully" and links the terms "mind" and "full". It was part of the life of Buddhists about 2,500 years ago. However, the current practice is to think only of the here and now. Become aware of where we are at each moment and feel our body without thinking about what we did a few minutes ago, the day before yesterday or even last year. To one side are the memories. To the other, future plans. It is not an exercise of reflection but of concentration in the present.

The conceptual keys of mindfulness

- Internal balance
- Conscious concentration in the present moment
- Body-mind connection
- Channeling of energies
- Tranquility as a constant
- Acceptance of oneself and reality as it is

The practice of mindfulness

Mindfulness does not consist in traveling mentally. We do not move anywhere. What it is about is knowing how one is and being aware of where one is. The first thing we have to do is adopt a meditation posture, for which it is recommended to have a small cushion or zafú. We will sit on this forming a triangle with our knees and keep the back straight and relaxed at the same time. The shoulders away from the neck and this in line with our spine. We will place our hands in a comfortable position, for example, on our knees and focus only on our breathing with our eyes closed. We have to mentally locate the part of our body that is feeling the most breath at every moment. It can be the nose, the lungs, the abdomen ... Everyone has to find theirs. The natural thing is that after a few minutes we get distracted, but mindfulness consists precisely in re-focusing concentration on the breath.

The benefits of mindfulness

When a person realizes that he is distracted and that his mind is not focused on a specific thing, he automatically activates the central part of his brain, which is called salience network, which perhaps reminds us of the concept of resilience that we introduced at first. Unintentional coincidence because this part of the brain is in charge of self-control. On the other hand, to recover that lost attention, if we concentrate on the breathing again doing of course a great effort, we can activate the prefrontal cortex of our brain. This is what is achieved with mindfulness and reports great benefits such as:

- Work and overcome pain and stress
- Cultivation of kindness
- Identification of one's emotions
- Suppression of prejudices
- Development of empathy
- Labor productivity
- Reduction of absenteeism
- Emotional well-being
- Improvement of the immune system
- Stress reduction

For these reasons, psychology and medicine have shaken hands in the Western world in favor of the activation of these neural mechanisms. Not only face-to-face workshops are taught, but there are also online versions. It is proven that with 20 minutes of daily mindfuness exercise the results improve a lot. Books that uncover the secrets of the exercise are also being sold and there are multiplicity of videos on YouTube.

In the hustle and bustle of our society it is not bad to stop to think or not to think. A priori to breathe does not need to be aware but what mindfulness is about is precisely doing that exercise.

Elisa García

Video: Mindfulness for Health and Wellbeing | UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center

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