Could mindfulness hold the key to a better less stressful existence?
The stress age
It’s pretty much impossible to avoid the headlines about stress these days –especially if you follow the health pages of the news sites. It’s often referred to as an epidemic – and while that word is more usually used in terms of illnesses that are infectious, it goes some way to illustrating just how widespread it is.
According to one of the UK’s most prominent mental health charities, Mind, stress along with anxiety and depression are so common that around a sixth of the British workforce is likely to be suffering from one of these at any one time. That’s a lot of people, and it’s no wonder that in 2012 in England there was a rise of seven per cent in the number of hospital admissions for stress.
So, are we living in the stress age? There’s no simple answer to that question since while the number diagnoses may be up, more open attitudes towards mental health mean that people are far likelier to seek assistance when they feel stress becoming problematic in their working lives.
Another stress factor is likely to be the economic situation since the economic downturn of 2008 – many industries have seen redundancies so it’s little wonder that many workers feel an added pressure during a time when jobs are generally more scarce.
Hopefully what we’re on the cups of is the post-stress age – and the things that will hopefully contribute to this are better diagnoses as well as treatments for stress, along with better understanding of its causes. And one factor that could help is mindfulness meditation
The benefits of mindfulness
One of the most interesting things about mindfulness is its simplicity. It doesn’t involve taking on new beliefs about the world, it doesn’t cost money, and it’s something that should be easy for most people to practice.
Mindfulness has also been in the news a fair bit recently as it’s been shown to help the brain physically, by improving the organ’s wiring connections – with the so-called ‘white matter’ of the brain (the nerve fibres) actually becoming more dense as a result. The study that indicated this also showed that there were improvements to the insulating fatty material around the nerve fibres.
Of course, the benefits of mindfulness meditation aren’t limited to physical changes – taking part in this type of meditation can also mean approaching things generally with a view to being less stressed, and this change in attitudes is likely to have many benefits too – simply just from being aware that we’re taking a new approach, we’re likely to experience changes in attitude too.
As the NHS Choices site puts it, when we become more aware of the present moment, there’s more potential to ‘enjoy the world around us more’ while it also gives us the chance to ‘understand ourselves better’.
There are a great many resources available online foe mindfulness from mental health charities, healthcare providers such as the NHS, as well as a dedicated site provided by the Mental Health Foundation, which can be found at bemindful.co.uk
About the Author:
This post was written by Ian M, who specializes in stress reduction and well-being – for more information on health topics, please visit AXA PPP healthcare, where there is a wide range of video clips, articles and recipes as well as medical information.
Mindfulness: How To Live In The Moment, Free Of Stress, With A Calm And Peaceful Mind
In this book you will discover techniques and strategies that will help you to tame and discipline your mind by practicing mindfulness on a regular basis.
All stress and anxiety comes from your lack of control over your thoughts and focus. Mindfulness allows you to silence your thoughts, live in the moment and be at peace with yourself.
If you follow these principles and begin to CONDITION yourself on a daily basis, then the happiness that you desire will become habitual and automatic for you each day!