*Also seen in The Complete Athlete Journal.
Mindfulness is “a receptive state of mind wherein attention is kept to a bare registering of the facts observed ... permitting the individual to “be present” to reality as it is rather than react to it or habitually process it through conceptual filters.... Without the overlay of discriminatory, categorical, and habitual thought, consciousness takes on a clarity and freshness that permits more objectively informed psychological and behavioral responses” (Brown et al., 2007, p. 212).
Practicing mindfulness strategies provides emotional intelligence skills, allowing for the person practicing to be more self-aware and as a result regulate and motivate themselves. Though mindfulness may be practiced as a way to correct the inhibitions and stressors already manifested, it is never too late. Mindfulness not only can help alleviate symptoms from stress, but can promote growth in mental functions and efficiencies. Where strain can result in negative emotions, a perception of unhappiness, and unhealthy habits, mindfulness mitigates.
The Therapeutic Effect of Mindfulness
Mindfulness practices can possibly influence and/or reduce stress-related effects on:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Chronic Low Back Pain
- Eating Behaviors
- Sleeping Behaviors
- Autonomic Nervous System
- Stress Hormones
- Immune System
- Executive Attention
How To Be More Mindful
Take some time out of your day to go for a walk. Disconnect from your phone and the tensions of the day. Sometimes, walking alone or in silence can be the therapeutic part of this mindfulness practice.
As you talk with others, focus on their words. Aim to understand them positively and wholly as a person, leaving any criticisms, stereotyping, & judgements aside.
Focus on just breathing and nothing else. Feel your breath enter and leave your body. Notice your abdomen extend with air as your inhale. Release all tensions as you exhale. Focus on only positive thoughts about yourself and the day you have had.
Take part in Mindfulness-Based trainings and interventions. Some places for Mindfulness-Based Trainings include:
Brown, K. W. & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 822-848.
Brown, K. W., Ryan, R. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2007). Mindfulness: Theoretical foundations and evidence for
salutary effects. Psychological Inquiry, 18, 211-237.
Greeson, J. M. (2009). Mindfulness research update: 2008. Complementary Health Practice Review, 14(1), 10-18. doi:10.1177/1533210108329862
Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health
benefits. A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57, 35-43.
Grossman, P., Tiefenthaler-Gilmer, U., Raysz, A., & Kesper, U. (2007). Mindfulness training as an intervention
for fibromyalgia: evidence of postintervention and 3-year follow-up benefits in well-being. Psychotherapy
& Psychosomatics, 76, 226-233.
Heydenfeldt, J. A., Herkenhoff, L., & Coe, M. (2011). Cultivating mind fitness through mindfulness training: Applied neuroscience. Performance Improvement, 50(10-), 21-27. Retrieved from http://login.libproxy.stcloudstate.edu/login?qurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ebscohost.com%2flogin.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26db%3deric%26AN%3dEJ952790%26site%3dehost-live%26scope%3dsite http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pfi.20259
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living. Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York, NY: Delacorte Press.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychol-
ogy: Science and Practice, 10, 144-156.
Kabat-Zinn, J., Wheeler, E., Light, T., Skillings, A., Scharf, M. J., Cropley, T. G., et al. (1998). Influence of a
mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention on rates of skin clearing in patients with mod- erate to severe psoriasis undergoing phototherapy (UVB) and photochemotherapy (PUVA). Psychosomatic Medicine, 60, 625-632.
Ludwig, D. S, & Kabat-Zinn, J. (2008). Mindfulness in medicine. Journal of the American Medical Association, 300, 1350-1352.
Morone, N. E., Greco, C. M., & Weiner, D. K. (2008). Mindfulness meditation for the treatment of chronic low back pain in older adults: A randomized controlled pilot study. Pain, 134, 310-319.
Pradhan, E. K., Baumgarten, M., Langenberg, P., Handwerger, B., Gilpin, A. K., Magyari, T., et al. (2007). Effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 57, 1134-1142.
Rosenzweig, S., Reibel, D. K., Greeson, J. M., Edman, J. S., Jasser, S.A., McMearty, K. D., et al. (2007). Mindfulness-based stress reduction is associated with improved glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus:
a pilot study. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 13, 36-38.