We live in a fast-paced world that often raises our anxiety and stress levels. Once this happens, it isn’t easy to be productive. Have you ever felt burnt out and lost motivation to do anything meaningful with your day? The chances are that you were under immense mental pressure, and you needed to relieve yourself from it. Thankfully, mindfulness-based stress reduction is an incredible and proven way of maintaining mental stability. It’s an approach that you can use to reduce stress levels and remain mentally productive. In this article, we’ll share all you need to know about the mindfulness-based stress reduction approach.
What is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction?
Mindfulness-based stress reduction is an approach to combat stress using meditation and yoga techniques. It’s about bringing your focus back to the present moment.
A person practicing mindfulness-based stress reduction might try breathing exercises when their stress levels start increasing their heart rate to help slow the heart back down.
When people experience stress, it’s often due to their minds being in the wrong timeframe. For example, a person might have a panic attack while studying for an exam that hasn’t begun yet. The fear of what the result will be in the future is what increases the stress level.
Or for example, a person who has experienced a traumatic experience shifts their mind between the trauma of the past and future fears. Yet, in most cases, in the present moment, they are safe from harm. But their mind doesn’t allow them to feel that sense of security.
That’s the most significant benefit of mindfulness-based stress reduction; it encourages you to live your life in the moment you’re in right now to help you overcome the stress you regularly experience.
The one thing to note with this approach is that you escape your mind by living in the present. Adding judgment or thought to your present moment is what shifts you back to the past or ahead to the future. Being hyper-aware of the present moment is where to find your inner peace and calm.
Who Needs Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction?
Mindfulness-based stress reduction is for people experiencing the following: stress, anxiety, depression, sleeping problems, and any other condition that affects one’s psychological health.
Mental health affects so many aspects of our daily lives and can increase our stress levels tenfold.
While mindfulness-based stress reduction is highly effective for those who are currently struggling to maintain their mental health, it can also be an effective tool for preventing severe symptoms and keep your symptoms in check.
For instance, if you notice that you’re having difficulty sleeping through the night, you might choose to practice a guided meditation for sleep before you go to bed along with a nighttime routine. After doing this for a few weeks, you might notice you’re able to fall asleep faster or sleep deeper through the night despite trauma, nightmares, or health issues affecting your sleep.
A person experiencing work stress might also try mindfulness-based stress reduction to help calm the mind during the workday. If you’re regularly having conflicts with coworkers, trying a loving-kindness meditation could be helpful. Loving-kindness meditations are all about viewing people in a new light.
You can also try acts of kindness towards the most challenging people to kill them with kindness. Doing a good deed a day towards coworkers can help ease tensions in the office. By shifting your focus from your mind towards being present in your behavior towards others, you’ll be able to be kind, live presently, and change your difficult situation.
How Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Helps
To understand how mindfulness-based stress reduction helps reduce stress, you have to understand what mindfulness is and the practices involved in the process.
Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of the present moment. It’s allowing yourself to feel and sense your present moment without judging or interpreting it. Mindfulness involves the following: breathing techniques and other calming movement practices. The purpose of the above is to enable your mind and body to relax to ease stress. Yoga and meditation are practices that help you to be in a state of mindfulness or living in the present. Mindfulness-based stress reduction helps you live in the present, where it’s much more calming.
Have you ever tried to get rid of negative thoughts and found them to be challenging? Am sure the answer is an emphatic yes! You’re not alone. Typically, it’s not an easy task to deal with negative emotions. That’s why stress and other mental obstacles are negatively affecting people’s quality of life. Dealing with stress isn’t a walk in the park. Thankfully, this mindfulness-based stress reduction technique makes it possible.
Once you learn the art of practicing mindfulness, you’re able to turn your focus from negative emotions and allow positive feelings to take the lead. You’re able to concentrate on your present moment and the world surrounding you while moving away from whatever is stressing you. Meditation and yoga are powerful mindfulness-based stress reduction exercises that help give your brain the power to overcome stress.
The more a person meditates, the less stressed they become. Every time you feel stressed, doing mindfulness-based stress reduction exercises will help you to reduce stress significantly. Remember, stress results from your psychological faculty feeling overwhelmed. So, if you can ease the pressure on your mental functioning, you’ll be reducing stress levels. Try out the mindfulness-based stress reduction approach to improve your mental wellbeing and more.
Are These Exercises Easy?
Yes, mindfulness-based stress reduction exercises are easy, but they do pose challenges.
Breathing in and out is something we already do without using our brains. As long as we’re alive, the act of breathing in and out is relatively easy.
The challenge with a breathing exercise comes when we bring our mind into it. In other words, when our focus is on our breath. For those first few seconds, you’ll be attentive to your breath with no challenges. But can someone do that for ten minutes without a wandering mind? Not if they’re new to the exercise or have difficulties with concentration.
But there’s some good news to share: anyone can practice mindfulness-based stress reduction and become better at it. If you’re learning to focus on breathing for up to an hour, you can build up to that with a meditation practice. You can find meditation breathing exercises in five minutes, ten minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and 60-minute chunks on the Declutter The Mind app and YouTube channel.
The Benefits of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Some benefits come as a result of using the mindfulness-based stress reduction technique. It qualifies to be a healing technique because it helps to reduce stress in a manner that other exercises don’t. You might’ve heard of people who recommend that you should try doing something that you like whenever you’re stressed. In as much as that can help, it doesn’t produce better results than practicing mindfulness.
What if you don’t have the energy to do that thing that you love doing? Will you still go ahead and do it to reduce stress? Contrary to other methods of stress reduction, mindfulness-based stress reduction allows you to get your mind away from that which brings mental stress. With mindfulness-based stress reduction, you focus entirely on your immediate environment and the present moment. Through this, you’re able to silence any noise and distraction that brings chaos to your mind. Here are some of the major benefits of the mindfulness-based stress reduction technique.
1. Stress management
Once you practice mindfulness-based stress reduction, you’re allowing your brain to overcome any higher stress levels you might be reaching. The ability of your brain to cool down after going through immense pressure goes a long way to ease the stress from your system.
Focusing all your energy on the present allows your mental faculty to move away from any event or situation that adds stress to you. The good thing about this exercise is that it focuses on the part of the body primarily affected by stress. Your brain is the part of your body that is most affected by stress. So, when you focus on turning off your mind and concentrate on your breathing or present-living, you calm the mind and brain.
2. Better sleep
If you’ve ever had sleeping problems, the chances are high that you were going through a stressful period. In most cases, sleeping problems are a result of an unsettled mind. Most people can’t sleep when they’re stressed. That is why mindfulness-based stress reduction comes in handy. You’ll be able to sleep better if you first relieve your body from the anxiety it’s going through.
If you go to sleep with a lot on your mind, your problems will keep you up at night. If you develop the good habit of meditation and yoga, you’ll find out that you’ll be able to improve your sleep quality significantly. You’ll be able to get rid of worry and keep stress levels down. Since those things tend to teach you how to quiet thoughts, your thoughts won’t disturb you as much as you sleep.
3. Improved mental functioning
Part of what causes stress is when your mental functioning capacity isn’t at its best. People who don’t have quality cognitive functioning are regularly in bad moods. Lacking cognitive functioning often causes one to feel higher stress levels because of not having the ability to deal with demanding situations.
If you constantly practice mindfulness-based stress reduction, you’ll be able to build your mental capacity to overcome stress. Simply put, you’ll develop the much-needed stamina to shield your mind from stressful environments and situations.
4. Improve physical symptoms
According to multiple studies, mindfulness-based stress reduction can reduce physical pain, symptoms of heart disease, type two diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. Ultimately, by practicing mindfulness-based stress reduction, those with certain conditions or symptoms can experience a better quality of life through the practice. While it doesn’t cure the ailments, it helps you better cope with them.
For example, a person with type two diabetes might try mindful eating meditations to remind them to practice better-eating habits when feeling anxious. It’s the food they consume that could improve their situation, not the mindfulness-based stress reduction itself. However, meditation helps calm the mind, allows you to experience the taste of your food, and notice what you’re putting into your body.
5. Become more self-compassionate
A lot of our stress comes from our relationships with others. We might feel anger, resentment, or pain from poorly spoken words, neglect, or any argument with friends or family. Loving-kindness meditation can help you view people with compassion (and view yourself with it too).
By practicing mindfulness-based stress reduction, we slowly start to do things that help us become more compassionate towards ourselves. For example, you might start doing a good deed a day towards others. By being kind to others, you’ll get a lot more positive feedback towards yourself. As a result, you end up gaining self-confidence, improving your happiness and reducing your stress levels. However, it would help if you had a calm mind to be kind to others, and that’s where meditation rolls in.
People who practice mindfulness-based stress reduction also view their physical bodies differently and combat body dysmorphia to view their bodies positively.
Without a doubt, mindfulness-based stress reduction is an effective practice that can help you to live a quality life and pursue your goals to the fullest. Many people face more complicated challenges in life because they don’t have enough mental strength to deal with their more minor problems first. Luckily, there is a way out of the constant stress many people face in their everyday lives. You don’t have to quit what you do because of the fear of unending stress. All you need to do is engage your mind and body through mindfulness-based techniques and live a quality life. Whether it’s meditation or yoga, focusing on the breath or mindfully moving the body, you’ll be able to change the way you view yourself and the world around you to lower your stress.