Mindfulness is a practice which teaches you to bring your attention to the present moment, and away from worrying about the future or the past.
There are an increasing number of research studies which demonstrate the benefits of mindfulness meditation - and the best thing is that you can demonstrate the benefits very easily for yourself.
Mindfulness will help you overcome anxiety, but don't think of it as a treatment for anxiety - it's an excellent practice for everyone! and a good thing to bring into your everyday life.
6 Benefits Of Mindfulness Meditation
Christy Matta, author and trainer, describes 6 benefits of mindfulness meditation in a recent article for MentalHelp.net.
Many of these benefits relate directly to reducing anxiety and stress:
Reductions in Rumination
Rumination, that is, going over something in your mind repetitively, is often an unpleasant symptom of stress, depression and anxiety. In several studies, novice meditators, after training in mindfulness, reported less rumination, decreases in depression and were better able to sustain attention on tasks than groups who were not trained in mindfulness.
Mindfulness has been practiced for the purpose of stress reduction for decades. In an analysis of studies on mindfulness and stress reduction, researchers found that mindfulness increases positive emotions and decreases anxiety. The review of these studies found that mindfulness may alter how we process emotion and our thoughts.
Decreased Emotional Reactivity
Research shows that mindfulness can help people disengage from emotionally upsetting information. Those trained in mindfulness were then better able to focus on cognitive tasks, than those who had not been trained in mindfulness.
More Flexible Thinking
When we get stuck in rigid patterns of thinking we are more likely to become stressed, anxious and depressed. Flexible thinking and the ability to self-observe and take in new information tends to improve positive emotion. New research on the brain has found that mindfulness practice disengages certain pathways in the brain formed from previous learning and allows input from the present moment. It also activates the brain region associated with more adaptive responses to stressful circumstances.
Christy describes these and other benefits in more detail in her article, which you can read here (highly recommended!)
Here is an excerpt from her bio:
Christy Matta M.A. is a trainer, consultant and writer. She is the author of “The Stress Response: How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Free You from Needless Anxiety, Worry, Anger, and Other Symptoms of Stress.” She is intensively trained in DBT and has designed and provided clinical supervision to treatment programs, including a winner of the American Psychiatric Association Gold Award. Matta has a Master of Arts in counseling psychology from Boston College.
Read more about the benefits of mindfulness meditation to help overcome anxiety and stress.
Or if you want to try a quick mindfulness meditation and experience the benefits yourself, click here for a short video that will take you through an introduction to mindfulness.