With everything going on in the world it can be easy to lose track of yourself and how you are feeling. However, it is important to find some time to practice mindfulness not only for your psychological health, but your physical health as well. Recent studies have shown mindfulness has many health benefits outside of helping you to keep peace of mind through your busy days.
For starters, mindfulness is very good for your heart. In the U.S. 1 in 4 deaths can be attributed to heart disease every year. One study showed patients with prehypertension who were assigned to take a mindfulness program had significantly lower blood pressure than those who did not take such a class. A review from the American Heart Association concluded that while studies are still preliminary, there is evidence to suggest practicing mindfulness along with prescribed medications can aid in treatment for coronary disease.
Anyone that has spent time around a parent or grandparent suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s knows what brutal diseases they can be. Practicing mindfulness can be of aid in not only helping to prevent onset, but also easing symptoms in those that have already been diagnosed. Back in 2016 Alzheimer patients engaged in mindfulness practices among other treatments and then given cognitive tests for two years. The group that practiced mindfulness showed significant cognitive improvement over any of the other test groups. While it is not completely understood why mindfulness has such a profound effect on older brains, there have been some studies done to suggest the focus required in the practice can help with memory retention, attention, processing and executive functioning.
Mindfulness has also shown promise in improving how your immune system responds to disease. Studies done have concluded mindfulness can increase the level of T-cells (responsible for fighting off viruses) in patients with HIV or breast cancer. Another study found patients who practiced mindfulness tended to have their wounds heal faster. Along the same line, practicing mindfulness has the potential to slow cell aging too by helping to lengthen proteins in our chromosomes called telomeres.
Finally, mindfulness can help reduce psychological pain by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression—often associated with the physiological symptoms mentioned above. Reducing these psychological problems have the added benefit of helping curb addictions by offering a healthier alternative to place untapped focus.
Mindful.org is a great resource for more information and tips on how to start incorporating the practice into your daily life if you are ready to start reaping the many health benefits. Through simple acts like waking up with a purpose, taking time to enjoy your meal, and working out you can start to live a happier, healthier life.