The Power of MindfulnessPosted on: June 17, 2022
When was the last time you were worried about something?
And how did that make you feel?
Often enough when I put these questions to people…most common response is a …sigh and “well …all the time. that’s life isn’t it ?” or some hopeful version of it.
Well actually its probably not that obvious or choiceless though it may seem like that sometimes. So lets explore this a little bit more.
We worry about deadlines we have to meet, financial obligations we have to uphold, promises to our loved ones, politics of the day, climate change, our future and even negative fantasies that might never play out in real life — the list seems to be endless. Almost as if we are genetically programmed to be worried. Which in itself is almost true.
Although worrying always causes stress hormones to be released, in the body of an occasional worrier they have a limited effect. Unfortunately, most of us are not occasional worrywarts, but chronic ones, which means stress hormones remain elevated — all the time.
Need another thing to stress out about?
Well, as studies have shown, stress has the innate capability of reaching its devastating tentacles into every aspect of your life and your stress itself can make you sick. Not only physically but also emotionally and mentally.
As a matter of fact, 95% of all illnesses is caused or worsened by stress. And health conditions such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, migraines, depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, and Alzheimer’s all drastically exacerbate in bodies that are flooded with adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine, the three major stress hormones.
Now before you get stressed out about being stressed out, or worse, reach for substances to manage and alter your moods, there is also good news.
Despite the unparalleled level of pressure that is put on all of us, we also have a powerful healing tool to our disposal. It is called our mind (or our consciousness if you prefer that). And mindfulness practices are here to help us not only cope with stress but also build resilience and empower us to get a better control of the choices and thoughts that effect our health and wellbeing.
The healing power of the mind
For those who suffer from serious health conditions or mental and emotional disturbance, the disconnect to the self and the never-ending torment can seem to swallow you whole.
And while it is normal for the mind to get filled with fear, anxiety and doubt, recent research has shown that it is exactly this activity in the mind that makes the suffering more intense.
A chaotic mind causes turmoil in the body. Hold this chaotic vibration for too long, and energetic blockages in your physical, emotional and spiritual being are unavoidable results. These blockages are what we call “energetic imbalances” — that lead to reduced immunity /resilience and eventually physically manifest as disease.
In basic terms: if unchecked and untrained our minds have the tendency to run rampant — inundated with worries, which leads to our body releasing stress hormones, which makes it much more likely that we will get sick, resulting in us worrying even more — about health.
A truly vicious cycle.
Our minds as powerful helping tools
Study after study has shown that the mind-body connection is a powerful one. If fact what we see as a physical body..is just one piece of the dynamic process of interaction between our thoughts, emotions and body — that we call our being.
The emerging paradigm of Pycho-endo-neuro-immunology is actually beginning to bring this realization also to the medical community, getting the to see healing as more than just medicating a person.
So what if we instead learn to reap the benefits from this powerful bidirectional system?
This is where mindfulness comes into play.
Quieting the mind allows you to break the vicious chaotic mind cycle, even if just for a few minutes. This in turn allows your body to make use of its innate and natural healing capabilities.
And even though it may seem counterintuitive at first, fully experiencing the present and allowing physical and emotional wounds to surface and bringing conscious awareness to them, is truly therapeutic.
After all, that which is not acknowledged has no hope of ever being healed.
Of course, mindfulness is not like simply pressing a button that immediately and magically relieves you of your stress and pain. It may, however, be the closest thing to it.
Recent studies even demonstrate that mindfulness techniques may be more effective in overcoming chronic pain than the heaviest prescription pain relievers.
Furthermore, anyone who has participated in a mindfulness session knows that the beneficial effects are not only limited to chronic pain and serious health conditions.
Learning to accept and be in the present moment has enormous benefits for every aspect of our daily life. Bring us more inner peace, greater joy, more intimacy in relationships, an enhanced sense of purpose and overall feeling of wellbeing.