By Keren Cook, Global Consumer Advocate at NatureBee.
Mindfulness, being present, living in the moment. These ideas come up so often in the wellness space that they’ve almost been reduced to mere buzzwords. But why are these concepts actually important?
While people’s individual preferences might influence whether they gravitate towards a breathing exercise or an ice bath, the mental and physical benefits of being present are universal and should encourage everyone’s wellness or self-care practice.
Aside from immediate relief like a quieter mind or an improved mood, here are some of the longer-term benefits that make a case for adopting mindfulness practices into your daily life.
1) Improved relationships.
This point is particularly pertinent in a time when flexible working arrangements are favoured and many of us are working from home at least part of the week. Having a practice to bring you into your living space at the end of the day helps to leave the work-related worries in your inbox, so you aren’t projecting them on to the people around you. It also helps to ‘cool your thermometer,’ so a minor grievance doesn’t join a running mental tally of stressors and cause you to boil over. Nobody is the best version of themselves when they are worried or anxious.
2) A better night’s sleep.
Not only do our relationships suffer when we are weighed down with worries, so does our sleep quality. In a fast-paced, hyper-connected world, returning to a mindfulness practice before bed can put you in the right place to catch a sleep ‘wave.’ The Sleep Foundation, whose contributions to the discourse on sleep are reviewed by a medical advisory board, notes that the last decade has seen the average time spent sleeping by Americans steadily decrease, while average BMI has increased. The relationship between sleep and weight management is still being explored, but a common hypothesis
is that sleep affects the regulation of transmitters involved in appetite; this is alongside the many other detrimental health effects of lack of sleep.
3) You take better care of your body.
As someone who loves the health benefits of Power Pollen, being mindful helps me check in with my physical self. Do I notice any changes in my body’s patterns? Which areas need support? No one knows your body better than you, but a busy mind means it can be all too easy to ignore the messages your body is sending. From aches and pains to skin and hair changes, energy slumps and tired eyes that are propped open with caffeine, being busy, preoccupied or stressed leaves little time to dig down to the root cause of these problems. Not only does mindfulness reduce some symptoms that can be exacerbated by stress, it can act as a reminder to take stock and look after ourselves along the way. Straighten up your posture, walk around the block to elevate your heart rate, and watch your micronutrient intake. Small but important practices.
Ultimately, looking after our relationships with those around us, being well rested and taking care of our bodies enables us to get more out of ourselves. In a time-scarce world overladen with to-do-lists and everyday stressors, living in the present is an ethos that affords you the power to reclaim a bit of control. Find what feels right, and regularly incorporate those moments throughout your day.
Global Consumer Advocate at NatureBee