How often during a time of stress do you lose focus on the task at hand? Never? Very rarely? Sometimes? If any of these are your answer to the question above, you can benefit greatly by integrating mindfulness into your daily routine. An insightful article from the Mindful Innovative Action (MIA) blog illustrates how taking time to be fully aware and present of our emotions — the practice of mindfulness — has scientifically proven physical, cognitive and emotional benefits. We have summarised the key points of the article to highlight five reasons why mindfulness should be added to your daily routine.
- Biological benefits
Taking time to mindfully undertake tasks can lead to healthier physical wellbeing! The blog article points to a scientific study which highlighted mindfulness “positively affected genetic expression” in participants. This subsequently led to a regulation of “inflammation, circadian rhythms and glucose metabolism”. Whilst the study was only small, it is part of a broader trend of research pointing to the physical benefits of practicing mindfulness.
- Greater emotional stability
Mindfulness has also been shown to assist in improving emotional health. The second study reviewed by the author found that those who practice mindfulness were “able to experience positive emotions more often and negative ones less often by consciously employing mindfulness to direct their emotional states”. During your next rough patch, try paying closer attention to recognising the various feelings present in your mind.
- Enhanced memory
Are you one of those people who constantly lose their phone? You need to give mindfulness a try! The final academic study the blog post reviews is a 2010 control group study which found “the only group whose memory capacity increased over time was the meditating military group”. Practicing mindfulness will help you remember that you rested your phone on the park bench BEFORE you get up and leave…
- Stress management
Whether you’re in a do-or-die situation or just having a bad day, mindfulness can assist in making your day that little bit more manageable. The author reflects on a number of situations where mindfulness has “saved her bacon”, including during her time as an intensive care and remote area nurse. She also notes it has been equally effective when having a “hella bad day”. This highlights the effectiveness of mindfulness in managing all types of stressful situations.
- Improve concentration levels at work
Struggling to focus at work because you have too many thoughts fluttering around in your head? Practicing mindfulness allow us to “reflect and enjoy being in the moment, rather than stressing about the future or past”. As nurses, this ensures the needs of our patients are given the upmost attention and they receive the highest standard of health care available. So the next time you lose concentration at work, give mindfulness a go!
We’re partnering with MIA to bring you Mindfulness May, our current NurseStrong initiative. Hundreds of nurses around the country are currently reaping the benefits of MIA’s Stress Less, Live Well mindfulness program. Visit their website to keep an eye on their upcoming courses and initiatives throughout 2019!