Table of Contents
- Reason #1 – The Impermanent Nature of the World
- Reason #2 – Learning to Love Yourself
- Reason #3 – Release of Ruminating Thoughts
- Reason #4 – Learn To Quit Judging Everything
- Reason #5 – Improve Your Mental Cognition
- Reason #6 – Upgrade the Function of Your Immune System
- Reason #7 – Slow Down Aging and Increase Longevity
- Reason #8 – Have Healthier Relationships
- Reason #9 – Improve Your Overall Physical Health
- Reason #10 – Gain More Empathy and Compassion
- Transform Your Life by Becoming Mindful
Humans have spent much of the last couple hundred years learning to cope with our modernized world. There was the industrial revolution of the 19th century followed by the scientific/technical revolution of the 20th century.
We’re now in the middle of the digital revolution and enjoying it’s many benefits along with an assortment of challenges that it has also brought along with it.
Before all these so-called revolutions went down, life purportedly was much simpler—with less anxiety, a limited amount of stress and fewer distractions.
Many people would agree that the world as a whole is a better place to live than it used to be, partly because of the technological advancements over the past two centuries that have improved the overall quality of life.
That may be true. But it can also be fair to say that modern man and woman are less emotionally and physically healthy than at any time since homo sapiens came into their own around 250,000 years ago.
Emotional unrest and unhappiness, as well as both lifestyle and age-related diseases, have reached epidemic proportions in our advanced western culture.
Is stress, anxiety, distraction and poor health a naturally occurring consequence of a technological advanced society? Although it would seem so on the surface, there are many people—albeit not a large percentage—who enjoy all the benefits that our cutting-edge culture provides, plus… have managed to enhance both their emotional well-being and physical health as well.
You maybe know one or two of these outliers yourself.
How do they do it? How do they, seemingly, have it all?
If that compelling question could be answered with one just word it would be by practicing…
Some would say that the over-arching goal of mindfulness is purification of the mind. More specifically, it involves training the mind to to experience the world in an entirely new way.
It teaches you to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
It trains you to ignore the constant urge to be comfortable and to embrace reality—whatever that entails—instead.
Where civilization can change a person on the outside, mindfulness can soften a person from within. Modern culture over-emphasizes material aspects of existence at the expense of the deeper emotional/spiritual side of life.
Practicing mindfulness—like with mindful yoga—serves to bring things back into balance.
These are some of the overall benefits of becoming more mindful. Following are ten distinct reasons why mindfulness is important.
Reason #1 – The Impermanent Nature of the World
Mindfulness training can open you up to realizing that much of the emotional distress, anxiety and worry that people experience is created by viewing the world as something that it’s not.
For some strange reason, many people choose to believe that this worldly existence is static and predictable. That type of thinking makes them feel safe and secure. I’m sure you’ve noticed that most people tend to abhor change.
But a true representation of how the world works is exactly the opposite of that. Life has a decidedly impermanent nature to it—and that’s always been the case.
- Dogs run away
- Lovers leave
- You get laid off from a job
- Couples get divorced
- Natural disasters occur
- The weather can change
- You change your major half-way through college
While the world is going through its natural state of flux, some of us get upset, and downright perturbed when these inevitable changes interfere with our perfect plans. Maintaining an underlying (albeit false) assumption that life has a permanent nature to it—while the opposite is closer to the truth—is a recipe for emotional pain.
Becoming mindful will allow you to embrace the impermanent nature of life so that you can eliminate grasping for things in an attempt to keep them near-and-dear.
Mindfulness will help you to break the habit of trying to freeze time, allowing things and events to come and go as they please.
That’s the true nature of the universe. Constantly changing. Forever flowing. Uncertain and unpredictable. The idea is to become mindful of the ever-changing nature of life and learn to embrace the uncertainty of it all.
Reason #2 – Learning to Love Yourself
Loving and accepting yourself can come easily for those that grew up in a loving, encouraging and supportive environment. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for most of us. We need to re-learn to love ourselves.
When people ask themselves the universally-hard-to-answer-question: “Why are we here?”, one of the most perceptive answers I’ve ever heard is: to learn to love ourselves.
Loving yourself may sound selfish, narcissistic and even arrogant to some, but it’s actually the opposite. When you can unconditionally love and accept yourself by practicing mindfulness, loving and accepting others is an automatic by-product.
Appearing selfish enables you to become selfless.
Unfortunately, ordinary human thinking is full of pride, greed and jealousy. Those thoughts and feelings are found in people who don’t really love themselves. What a beautiful and peaceful world we would be living in if we could only love ourselves—and in turn others—enough.
Reason #3 – Release of Ruminating Thoughts
With approximately 100 billion neurons, your brain is an amazing analytical machine capable of calculating most any problem you can throw at it. It’s often said that humans typically use only 10% of their brain power… and maybe that’s true.
It can also be argued however that your brain is frequently responsible for over-thinking and over-analyzing things; to the point of diminishing returns.
This happens when your thinking takes on an obsessive nature: always wondering why, incessantly rewinding the outcome of a situation and how it could have been done better or more efficiently. This compulsive, second-guessing, ruminating thought process can leave you an anxious mess and drive you absolutely bananas.
Becoming mindful of the busy nature of your mind can help to slow everything down. Rehashing how things might have been will only leave you agitated and frustrated. Over-analyzing what path to proceed can actually wind up being counter-productive.
Practicing mindfulness will teach you to trust your intuition. Often-times your initial thought or idea is the best one. Excessively ruminating about all the courses of action to take—or that could have been taken—will unnecessarily cause unneeded and unwanted emotional distress.
Reason #4 – Learn To Quit Judging Everything
Our western culture has conditioned us to be constantly judging everything that we come in contact with during the day. We have a penchant for labeling and then compartmentalizing people, things and events into neat little boxes. We have learned to form an opinion about pretty much anything and everything.
This nasty habit—that is capable of causing so much agitation and anxiety—can be difficult to break. But becoming mindful of what’s going on inside your head can be quite liberating.
The truth is… with any situation or event, you don’t have access to all the facts, nor do you possess near-enough wisdom to capably be judging most things that you encounter.
What happens is that you become trapped behind the bars of your own personal prison—the bars being made up of all of your likes and dislikes.
When you become mindful of the constant assessment going on inside your head, you become much less emotionally reactive to circumstances when they do arise. You develop the ability to regulate your emotions.
You began to see things in their natural state of nakedness. It’s what Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School refers to as… pure circumstance.
This pureness component comes from treating every person or event with the default mindset of non-judgment. The idea is to train yourself to quit judging anything. It’s like an itch. If you scratch it once, you feel compelled to scratch it again.
As soon as you judge anything, what’s to stop you from judging everything?
I’m fond of what the poet, Rumi had to say about it:
“Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
That so-called field is an extremely peaceful place to hang out in.
Reason #5 – Improve Your Mental Cognition
Once upon a time, scientists were convinced that although your brain contains 100 billion neurons, those were all you were ever gonna have. When some of those nerve cells died—which they inevitably do—you were left with less overall brain-power than you previously had.
That would equate to memory loss; less creativity; reduced cognitive ability; etc.
Fortunately, that erroneous/outdated science has been replaced with the now known process of neurogenisis. That’s how and where the hippocampus section of the brain can produce hundreds of new neurons per day.
Another area of brain science, neuroplasticity, shows us that the brain is capable of generating new neural networks that maintain, and can even increase certain brain functions.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation has been shown to support and enhance areas of mental cognition. If you want to stay mentally sharp—no matter what your chronological age—mindfulness will help you do that.
Reason #6 – Upgrade the Function of Your Immune System
If you’re interested in mindfulness, you’re probably aware of the mind/body connection: where what and how you think has a great deal to do with how your body feels and functions. Avoiding sickness and disease depends on how strong your immune system is.
Although the inner-workings of how the mind affects the body remains a mystery to many, a basic understanding of quantum physics does offer an explanation of how all things share a symbiotic relationship at the quantum level.
Mindfulness has been shown to enhance a person’s immune system so that they don’t get ill as often—and sometimes, not at all!
Reason #7 – Slow Down Aging and Increase Longevity
The aging process has been linked to telomeres—which are cap-like structures that are found at the ends of DNA strands. Their main function is to protect your chromosomes from genetic damage. Think of them being similar to the plastic, protective tips that are at the end of shoelaces.
Scientists have found that telomeres shorten with each cell division to the point where they are unable to adequately protect the fragile DNA. This results in corruption of genetic material and contributes to cellular senescence.
What cellular biologists have discovered is that there is an enzyme called telomerase that helps to keep telomeres long. Having longer telomeres helps to slow down the aging process, significantly increasing longevity.
Practicing mindfulness—and even yoga— can increase your life-span by enhancing telomerase production.
Reason #8 – Have Healthier Relationships
Relationships—especially the romantic variety—seem to have one thing in common (and in abundance). DRAMA. Each party takes turns feeling offended, misunderstood, unappreciated and jealous. Thus, there are lots of opportunities for hurt feelings and fights.
Becoming mindful can change all of that. Mindfulness will allow you to see your ego for what it really is… an insecure, clinging, greedy and fearful entity that is a poor impostor for who you really are.
When you become mindful of the absurdly small manner in which you often-times conduct yourself, you will come to the realization that you’re not providing what is necessary for your relationship to flourish with love and understanding.
Mindfulness means that instead of expecting your partner to treat you in ways that will make you feel loved, you began to treat them in ways that will make them feel loved. Instead of telling them that you love them, show them with loving actions.
Stop using the word love in verb form and instead began implementing it as a noun. These loving acts will transform yourself from an insecure, clinging, greedy and fearful partner into a kind, understanding, accepting and loving one.
Once you begin showing up as your higher self, you will have nothing to fight about. If your counter-part chooses to continue with the drama—despite your now mindful approach—then they will become so frustrated with the situation that they will be compelled to leave you for someone who will be willing to fight with them.
But ideally, your mindful mindset will inspire them to bring forth the best that they have too.
To be fair, sometimes a person will feel compelled to legitimately point out an area in which you could improve upon. They’re filling their role as an important person in your life in a positive, challenging way in order to bring out the best in you.
It’s perfectly okay to allow others to show us our blind or weak spots. They are simply serving as our mirror into ourselves.
Reason #9 – Improve Your Overall Physical Health
Practicing mindfulness will allow you to relax. You will begin to see the folly of taking life so damn seriously. Relaxing has a way of disabling emotional resistance that is residing in your body.
Resistance can create internal blockages that impede the flow of life energy (Chi or Qi). When that natural flow of energy is blocked, health issues can crop up.
Becoming more mindful will slow life down. You’ll be able to see things for what they really are and not some mentally conjured-up image. Often that image is an unresourceful or unrealistic one—and not based on the truth of the situation.
With less self-imposed, energy-blocking agitation in your life, you will be both happier and healthier!
Reason #10 – Gain More Empathy and Compassion
We all tend to view the world from our own, extremely limited perspective. That’s why we are always so quick to judge everything: we aren’t able to see the BIG picture—the whole truth of the situation.
Empathy and compassion for others is a by-product of mindfully looking past our own petty prejudices and considering the fact that we have no way of knowing everything there is to know about a particular situation.
Receiving training at a mindfulness retreat will give you the wisdom to truly understand a situation for what it really is—nothing more and nothing less. Compassion for others comes automatically when you come to the humbling realization that you don’t know it all.
Transform Your Life by Becoming Mindful
Why mindfulness is important? Because it has the ability to transform your life—from feeling fearful to being free.
When you can accept the truth of a situation for what it really is, with all of its uncertainties and possibilities for pain and danger, real freedom and security will be yours.
Ready to Go Further?
If this article has inspired you to start a mindfulness practice that you can stick with, then you might want to read more. You can find other insights and ideas on how to be mindful right over here.