Mindfulness for Beginners: Top 9 Benefits of Mindfulness & How to Use Mindfulness to Increase Joy
Updated: Feb 8, 2021
“Wash every bowl, every dish as if you are bathing a baby - breathing in, feeling joy; breathing out, smiling. Every minute can be a holy, sacred minute. Where do you seek the spiritual? You seek the spiritual in every ordinary thing that you do every day. Sweeping the floor, watering the vegetables, and washing the dishes become holy and sacred if mindfulness is there. With mindfulness and concentration, everything becomes spiritual.” -Thich Nhat Hanh, “How to Eat”
Mindfulness comes with many of the same benefits as meditation, but the practice is different. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment and to accept it nonjudgmentally. It’s often what you are practicing in the midst of meditation, but you have the opportunity to practice mindfulness many more times throughout your day.
You can be mindful while eating and truly pay attention to and savor what you’re consuming. You can be mindful while listening to music and truly get into the melody and experience moments of simple joy. You can be mindful while spending time with family and friends and better enjoy and extend the happiness of these moments.
Mindfulness can help decrease stress and sadness, increase happiness and focus, and allow you to truly experience the moment that you’re in and appreciate all that you have. It’s phenomenal. The more you meditate, the better you will get at mindfulness. The more you practice mindfulness in your everyday life, the more you’ll live in the present, enjoy your life, and experience true lasting joy.
Mindfulness teaches us to be happier, more patient and accepting, and more compassionate. It helps guard us from negative thoughts, distractions, and judgements, and allows us to be in control of our thinking instead of spiraling and allowing our thoughts to take control.
Every time you practice meditation and mindfulness, you get better at training your mind to be more aware, hearing your thoughts without judgement, correcting negative thoughts with positive ones, and remaining uplifted even in difficult circumstances.
Top 9 Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness practice provides incredible benefits for your day-to-day life. Mindfulness has been found to decrease depression, anxiety, and stress, and it’s known to increase compassion for oneself and others. It can help you regulate your emotions, identify negative thoughts, and let focus instead on more positive thinking.
Improved ability to live in the now
Improved well-being and calmer demeanor
Decreased stress, better ability to handle stress, and lowered anxiety levels
Decreased depressive symptoms, improved emotional regulation, and enhanced mood
Increased immune function, lowered blood pressure, and improved overall health
Higher brain functioning, improved cognition and clarity, and increased focus
Enhanced ability to deal with and recover from illness
Increased self-worth and body satisfaction
Mindfulness improves well-being: When you’re more mindful, you’re able to better live in the moment, engage with others, and handle difficulties. Being more present in the moment helps you focus on what you can control over anxieties, worries, or regrets. It helps you form more meaningful relationships and become more skilled in your job and hobbies.
Mindfulness improves physical and mental health: Mindfulness has so many additional benefits for your body and mind. It can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, and improve sleep. It can help with depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, couples’ conflicts, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Mindfulness improves intellectual health: Mindfulness can make you more confident and at ease. It is known to support higher brain functioning, improved cognition and clarity, and increased focus to help you do your best work. It gives you time to open your mind and better understand if you are where you need to be. It gives you the understanding and strength to pursue joy and enjoy your life.
How To Practice Mindfulness
“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” -Buddha
The benefits of mindfulness make it something worth incorporating in everyone’s life. While mindfulness isn’t a big time-intensive commitment, it does need to be an ongoing practice in order to reap the full benefits. Many of the benefits listed are most obvious after eight or more weeks of practice, but it's probable you'll notice some benefits sooner. Luckily, meditation and mindfulness can be easily incorporated in your day - meditate for 10 short minutes a day and practice mindfulness as you participate in your normal activities.
One of the great things about mindfulness is that there are so many ways to practice and develop this skill. A mindfulness practice occurs when you refocus on the current moment and pay attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows you to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation and helps you improve your ability to live in the now.
Mindfulness meditation – Sit and focus on your breath or a repeated word or mantra. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and continue to return your focus on your breath or mantra.
Body sensation mindfulness – Sit or lie down and begin to pay attention to your body. Starting at your toes, work your way up to your head, pausing to pay attention to and breathe into each part of your body. Notice small irritations without judgment, let them pass, and bring your focus back to relaxing and settling your body, bit by bit.
Mindfulness in the moment - Whatever you are doing - driving your car, eating a piece of chocolate, or playing with your pet - take a minute just to take in the moment. Notice how you feel, what you can sense, and hold onto any small moments of joy.
Try out different practices of meditation and mindfulness to understand what works best for you. How and where you practice mindfulness aren't as important as consistency. Try to practice, even in small ways, every single day. Feel free to start as small as you need, but make sure to find a routine you'll be able to stick to long-term.
Mindfulness and Joy
Happiness is one of the most common human desires. It’s the all-time leveler because everyone, regardless of wealth, class, or opportunity, would like to live a happy life. Unfortunately, many of us would not say that we really are happy with our lives. Most of us are working hard to make more money, find love, surround ourselves with family and friends, and achieve everything we’ve ever wanted. Yet no matter how hard we work and grind, few of us are truly happy.
We all want to be happy; we’re just going about happiness the wrong way. We get so stuck in responding to the demands of our minds and our lives that we try to gain happiness through a sequence of want, want, need, need, not realizing that many of our goals and material desires only provide temporary satisfaction.
Alternatively, mindfulness can help provide more lasting happiness. Mindfulness helps to reduce stress, aid sleep, boost mood, and it can even be used strategically to rewire your mind. Is can, essentially, help you change your everyday thoughts from negativity to positivity. It can help you feel more hopeful, driven, and enthusiastic about your life.
Tune in to your intuition. Notice negative thoughts when they arise, and check to make sure they’re even true before believing them. By tuning in to our own thoughts and intuition, we can solve many of our troubles and answer a lot of our own questions.
Learn to acknowledge negative thoughts and shift to positivity. Begin to notice any thoughts that are over-dramatic or negative. Allow emotions without judgement or attachment. Consider whether your thoughts are true or helpful. Consciously reframe the thought in your mind to be more positive.
Practice positivity often. Practice over and over again. Sometimes it will be difficult to shift to think positively, especially when going through something difficult. Still, the more you recognize and understand your thoughts and plug in positive statements, the more your behaviors will change as well. You’ll become more positive, compassionate, and joyful.
Be mindful of the positive moments. Be mindful of your life. When you have a happy thought or moment, live in it for just a bit longer than usual. Try to deeply experience your happiness and be grateful for all the awesome things in your life.
By becoming more mindful of our thoughts, we can start to replace negative beliefs with positive intentions. Each time we meditate our practice mindfulness, we grow our mental strength and resilience. We can find inner peace and live healthier lives.
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