Mindfulness: A Way To Mend the Mind

Health Minute     Spring 2018

Find Your Perfect Match

Answer a few questions and we'll provide you with a list of primary care providers that best fit your needs.

Mental fitness is as important as physical fitness. In fact, mental well-being may be more important because your mind can affect your physical health.

Stress, though, can get in the way of your wellness. And when stress escalates to a point that your day-to-day life and responsibilities become overwhelming, anxiety and/or depression can set in. That can lead to strained relationships, poor work performance, and poor health.

Also, stress can lead to unhealthful practices, such as alcoholism, drug use, overeating, acting out in anger, and more.

The practice of mindfulness which has been around for more than 250 years, is a great tool to help you counteract stress.

    Mindfulness is the process of focusing your attention on the present – avoiding thoughts of the past. And mindfulness takes an absolute, nonjudgmental stance toward every situation, person, or object. In other words, you begin to observe every emotion and accept it as it is.

    Mindfulness can make a positive difference in stressful situations. 

    Here’s an example. Persons A and B have job interviews. Person A is feeling stress or fear. Person B is happy and excited about the opportunity. In both cases their emotions affect their sympathetic nervous system, but their bodies’ responses will be different due to their mental state regarding their experience. The sympathetic nervous system, or involuntary nervous system, affects key bodily functions such as heart rate and blood pressure, in response to perceived danger or stress. 

    Feeling fear, Person A’s blood vessels will constrict, and his heart will beat less efficiently, pumping less blood around the body. Person A’s body goes into damage control mode.

    Person B will experience a sense of exhilaration. This will cause her peripheral blood vessels to dilate, or widen, allowing her heart to work more efficiently, pumping oxygenated blood to her limbs and brain. As a result, person B will perform better physically and mentally.

    Person A’s body can be described as reacting to a threat, and Person B’s body as reacting to a challenge. People with a challenge response bounce back to a normal state quickly, while those under threat take longer to recover.

    Using mindfulness techniques, you can learn to observe these responses and emotions and to master them.

    Research studies have found that mindfulness improves generalized anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic back pain. 

    Find Your Perfect Match

    Answer a few questions and we'll provide you with a list of primary care providers that best fit your needs.

    Premier Health Logo