The Beginner's Guide to Mindfulness

Chapter 2: The Benefits of Mindfulness

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Scientifically Proven Benefits of Mindfulness

Thousands of scientific studies have been conducted on mindfulness and meditation. The overwhelming consensus is that mindfulness leads to positive changes in a variety of areas of human health, including:
  • Brain function
  • Overall emotional state
  • Other aspects of physical health

Below is a small sampling of the many benefits researchers have linked with mindfulness and the human body.

Mindfulness helps develop a healthier brain

Benefits described in specific studies:

  • Increased connectivity in brain regions related to staying focused and disengaging from distraction. (UCLA)
  • Changes in gray matter density in brain regions involved in learning and memory, emotion regulation, and perspective-taking. (Massachusetts General Hospital)
  • Enhanced sensory processing, consistent attentional focus, and reflective awareness of sensory experience. (Emory University)

Mindfulness enhances your emotional state

Benefits described in specific studies:

Mindfulness improves your physiological health

Benefits described in specific studies:

Additional Benefits of Mindfulness

In addition to the scientifically-studied benefits, mindfulness changes lives in a deeply meaningful way. This list emerged through my research, conversations with others, and personal experience.

1. Mindfulness is a way of connecting with your life.

Life is filled with countless distractions that keep you occupied, busy, and entertained. Most people spend their lives thinking about the past or worrying about the future. But life is live in the present moment. Mindfulness helps you live more fully by connecting with life through the present moment.

2. Mindfulness helps you act with intention
(and eliminate unconscious/automatic behavior patterns.)

The “default” setting for most people is to let natural reactions and unconscious habits dictate their behavior. A reactionary mind will be shaped by the environment. By taking a proactive approach, you assert control over your life! It gives you the power to do what matters to you, instead of living by the wants, needs, and priorities of others.

3. Mindfulness helps you understand and return to your "true self".

Nobody is better at being you than you are.

Yet most people go through life trying to be someone else. Sourcing validation and approval from others (parents, colleagues, etc.) causes people to act in the way they "should", as opposed to authentically expressing their own values and priorities.

Self-awareness and self-understanding are the foundation for you to build your best life. Without knowing yourself, it’s impossible to navigate the complexity of life in a way that’s consistent with who you are.

4. Mindfulness helps you see things as they are.

The default setting is to see life through personal filters, emotional biases, and how others want you to see things. Cultivating mindfulness helps you stay aware of those filters and biases in order to reduce their influence.

Keep Reading! Up Next: 
Chapter 3: Who Practices Mindfulness?

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