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3 Benefits of Being Mindful

Usually, when I talk about mindfulness, it’s in relation to food and eating, but being mindful can extend to all areas of your life. You may even find that once you start being mindful in one area, you begin to naturally extend that to other areas.

And the good news is, whether this happens organically or from deliberate practice, a mindful approach offers many benefits.

1: Notice more of what’s going on

One of the best things about being mindful, in my opinion, is that you start to notice more of what’s going on around you. Instead of being distracted by trying to multitask or thinking about what’s coming next, you can be truly present in the moment.

I got a reminder of the value of this last week. Tuesday morning started as usual – get up, feed the cats, have breakfast, etc. – and in warmer weather, that includes opening my front door so my cat Pangea can look out the storm door.

I’d opened the door on Tuesday, and when I noticed that Pangea had gone to take a nap on the couch, I went to close the door. But since I’d seen the sky was an unusual color, with a sort of orange glow, I looked out the front door before closing it.

And I’m so glad I did because I saw this amazing double rainbow!

I spent a couple of minutes taking photos, and then a couple more minutes just looking at the rainbow and appreciating it. I don’t remember ever seeing a rainbow that early in the day (this was around 6 a.m.), and double rainbows are pretty scarce, too. Seeing all those colors in that graceful arc lifted my spirits and made me cheerful to go about the rest of my day.

I couldn’t help thinking, though, that if I’d been distracted by my phone, or if I hadn’t noticed Pangea’s move to the couch and went to close the door when I did, I’d have missed the whole thing.

2: Fully experience and appreciate events

Being mindful not only helps you notice what’s going on, it also helps you appreciate them fully.

I’ve been thinking about this lately about my walks. I’ve gotten interested in quite a few podcasts, and since I only have so much time to listen to them, sometimes I’ll listen to a podcast when I’m out walking.

But recently, I realized that listening to podcasts distracts me from actually enjoying the walk. And this time of year, there’s plenty to enjoy, with lots of flowers blooming, young birds learning to fly, friendly dogs to meet, and more.

So, while I’m not saying I won’t ever listen to podcasts while walking, I’m going to make more of an effort to go for mindful walks, with the intent of noticing what’s around me and seeing what spots of beauty I can find. When I do that, I not only enjoy the walks more, but I’m more energized and relaxed when I get home, so it’s a win all around.

3: Reduces stress

That brings me to another benefit of being mindful. It can reduce stress.

Stress, as you probably know, is a significant problem in our society, and it has a lot of negative effects, including a higher risk of anxiety and depression.

And it doesn’t help that trying to multitask often increases stress. After all, when you’re multitasking, what you’re really doing is going back and forth between tasks quickly, which means you can’t be fully focused on any one task. This means you don’t do as well on anything, and it leaves you with a somewhat breathless feeling, as if you’re always trying to catch up. (At least, that’s my experience.)

From that perspective, it makes perfect sense that being mindful and focusing on one task at a time will reduce stress. You can pay attention to one thing, do it well (and probably faster than if you’re trying to multitask), then go on to the next item on your list.

Being mindful may not help with all kinds of stress, but reducing any amount of stress seems like a good thing these days.

Many benefits to being mindful

These are just a few of the benefits that come from being mindful – it can also help you regulate your emotions, improve physical health, and may even benefit your relationships. And of course, it can help you change your eating habits and thoughts about food.

Even better, you can get started at any time. Just set an intention to pay attention and do one thing at a time, at least for some of the day, and begin.


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