Mindfulness is a technique that consists of being able to concentrate in one thing at a time, disconnect from the world around and be fully committed to meditate about a given subject. This can improve concentration levels, but can also make people less stressed, happy, and with improved memory.
The Huffington Post explains in a recent article the four different ways our lives can be improved by using mindfulness, and thus being able to live a happier life.
Mindfulness helps people to become more aware of their inner self and that is helpful for general wellbeing.
The first way that mindfulness can help is distracting our minds from negative thought loops: “Mindfulness meditation is a form of rigorous training of the mind which helps us to become more familiar with the nature of the mind and more skilful in noticing when our minds are getting caught up in these unhelpful patterns of thought. When we learn to observe this, we can actually choose to disengage and move our attention in ways that support us rather than pull us down.”
The second aspect is making people feel more connected to others: “Mindfulness can deepen and enrich our relationships as we bring a quality of present moment attention to the people around us.”
The third aspect is helping people to reconnect with their inner contentment, which is the inner ability to be happy with oneself: “(…) help us cultivate a sense of inner wellbeing which allows us to feel content and well without needing to obtain anything from the outside world.”
The last way that mindfulness can improve people’s lives is enhancing gratitude: “mindfulness can infuse our lives with gratitude and enhance our appreciation of the ordinary things which can so often pass by unnoticed.”
These four different ways seem to leverage our overall ability to be happy and to feel happiness with the small things in life that many times are undervalued.
A recent study by Harvard University connected mindfulness practice with improving the brain and boost memory and empathy and reduce stress. The study concluded that practising mindfulness for 8 weeks can make a significant change in the grey matter. “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day. This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”
Read more about the study here.