Humas are always on the move. Some are so busy “chasing paper” that they fail to enjoy breaks thinking that every minute equates to money lost or gained. Sometimes we get caught in a multitasking at home in an attempt to complete tasks faster. That notwithstanding, fears and insecurities about the past and the future have make it challenging to embrace the present. This line of thinking robs us from moments to pause, breathe and enjoy the now. It has significantly affected how we cope with circumstances around us; as well as the relationships we form and nurture. However, practicing mindfulness slows down our minds to enable us to think clearly, be less reactive and bring peace to our daily moments.
Mindfulness is the human ability to be fully present and aware of where we are, what we are doing, and not overwhelmed by what is happening around us. It encompasses the aspects of awareness and acceptance. Awareness is the knowledge and ability to focus on one’s inner processes and acceptance, the capability to observe and come to terms with the thoughts. Engaging in mindfulness meditation may seem easier said than done because of our ever-busy schedules. However, the rewards one can reap from it are immense.
After a mindfulness training session at Naivasha maximum prison, interviews were conducted to assess the program’s effectiveness among 140 inmates. 80-90% of them stated that the mindfulness training conducted helped them feel less stressed and angry, manage their emotions better, let go of what they could not change, and forgive themselves and others (Survey of prisoners published in February 2017.) Though imprisoned, the training had helped them feel free.
Benefits experienced from practicing mindfulness and meditation are different depending on one’s life stage. Below are some expected benefits:
- Relieves stress and anxiety
- Aids in the management of heart diseases
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces chronic pain
- Improves general well-being
- Improves sleep
- Prevents eating disorders as one is in a better position to control their emotions
- Alleviates gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome
- Improves the body’s immune response
- Boost memory
- Increased empathy for others
Benefits at the Maternal level
- Reduces fear of labor
- Increases the bond with the unborn baby
- Lowers the risk of postpartum depression
- Reduces the risk of premature birth and increases chances of baby’s healthy development
Benefits at Parenthood
- Improve communication at the parent-child level
- Promotes parental involvement as there is minimal or no distraction
- Lessens aggression and the desire to shout at your children
- Improves parenting satisfaction
Benefits at the Workplace
- Enhances creativity by combatting the negative thoughts that hinder creative thinking
- Increases emotional intelligence and resilience making it easier to handle the work environment
- Improves productivity and decreases job burnout
- Improves problem-solving capability
Benefits for Children
- Positive results at school
- Helps kids be more self-aware as well as boost their self-esteem
- Improves their communication skills
- Fosters peer-to-peer relationships
To begin a mindfulness practice, set aside a few minutes every day to focus on one or all of the following: three-minute mindful breathing, mindful stretching, choose an activity to execute mindfully during the day.
Embrace the beauty of life by experiencing moments in the present!