Mindfulness And Mental Health

Mindfulness And Mental Health: A Path To Emotional Wellness

Living in the present moment has become increasingly difficult due to our busy lives with work, home life, and distractions like our constant notifications from social media on our mobile phones. How often have you been sitting with friends and feeling the urge to just scroll your Instagram and not pay attention to the current moment?

In addition to this, we often get anxious about the future and dwell on things that have happened in the past, rather than living in the present. This is for sure, a recipe for poor mental health and emotional wellbeing.

With some practice and consistency, you can train your mind to come back to the present when you feel like your thoughts wander and learn to better regulate your emotions. With mindfulness techniques, you become aware of your thoughts and feelings and clear your mind to live in the present. If the mind wanders or problematic thoughts come to you, you accept them without judgment and then let them go. And repeat.

This can be a quiet meditation practice with deep breathing techniques, like the box breath, a moving meditation like gentle yoga or a walk, or even simply being mindful of your day-to-day actions and slowing down, such as, really concentrating on the food you are eating and relishing the taste, having slow mornings, putting boundaries with yourself with your social media usage being mindful of how you interact with other and what your response is to someone who may have emotionally triggered you and dysregulated your nervous system.

Mindfulness And Mental Health

Although mindfulness is the conscious practice of paying non-judgmental attention to the present moment, through continuous training it can also be characterized as a psychological trait referring to being mindful in our daily life.

Significant research shows that mindfulness plays a huge role in improving mental health and relieving individuals from psychological distress and common mental health issues like depression and anxiety that are rampant in our lives nowadays. In a recent study, it was stated that people with higher levels of mindfulness are better able to regulate their emotions and have a faster recovery from psychological stress and, therefore less perceived stress.

They also have fewer mental health problems like anxiety, depression, panic attacks, sleep disorders, and overall, less emotional distress. People with a more mindful living style evaluate adverse situations as less stressful or threatening and respond to stress in an adaptive way because of their ability to regulate their emotions, control their thoughts and their nervous systems not being stuck in fight or flight mode constantly, therefore, becoming less reactive.

Path To Emotional Wellness

The National Center for Emotional Wellness defines the term Emotional Wellness as the awareness, understanding, and acceptance of one’s emotions and the ability to manage them effectively through challenges and change.  

When you are tuned into your thoughts, feelings, and sensations, you can easily become aware of how your body may react to different situations or people. Staying present in the current moment and not ruminating on the past or worrying about the future is crucial for emotional wellness.

Being emotionally well requires some sort of slowing down in life, for example, your daily meditation practice or eating slowly and mindfully rather than grabbing something to go on the way to your commute to work.

Emotional Wellness requires a great deal of self-awareness about your thoughts and feelings how you deal and cope with the challenges that life may throw at you and having an optimistic mindset. Looking at the glass half full, rather than half empty and embracing all the good things that life has to offer rather than focusing on the negatives.

Achieving greater emotional well-being is all tied down to mindfulness, which can have aspects like practicing gratitude daily, treating others well, being content with their life, practicing positive self-talk, being able to manage stress well through meditation, daily movement, exercise, talk therapy or finding creative outlets like art, writing, gardening and so on.

Lifestyle Changes For Emotional Wellness

  • Mindful Breathing: It all starts and comes back to our breath. Slowing down and concentrating on your breathing while meditating and allowing yourself to feel all your emotions and then letting them go is a great tool to calm yourself down and be more mindful with practice. There are many breathing techniques you can practice, such as box breath, alternate nostril breathing, diaphragmatic breath, lion’s breath, and countless more.

  • Mindful Walking: Instead of putting in your air pods and blasting music while scrolling on your phone, how about mindfully walking without any distractions. Just you and the sensations in your foot muscles as they make contact with the ground, the wind in the air, the smells and sounds around you, and your thoughts.

  • Mindful Eating: As mentioned earlier, eating mindfully can be a simple yet effective tool for greater emotional wellness. Give your mealtime your full attention without watching anything on the television, and feel the taste smell, and how the food feels in your mouth. Take slow and steady bites.

  • Mindful Listening: Pay attention to the conversations without getting distracted by your notifications, or interrupting people, and observe people’s body language and tune into your environment.

Being mindful not only reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression but also helps you make healthier choices. Training yourself to be more mindful in your daily life takes time and dedication, hence it is important to carve out a few minutes a day for mindfulness meditation, such as a quick body scan or breathing deep and slowly building up the practice to a more mindful and emotionally well you.

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