Mindfulness is the practice of maintaining nonjudgmental awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis. By acknowledging thoughts without attaching to them emotionally, those who practice mindfulness are able to better manage stress, anxiety, and even physical health with a sense of calm control.
Researchers have demonstrated that mindfulness improves health and creates important new pathways in the brain. The new pathways created by mindfulness practice extend its benefits well beyond when an individual is actually engaged in mindfulness activities. Some compare mindfulness to a workout for the brain. With each workout, more benefits are received and the brain becomes stronger and more resistant to stress, fatigue, and mental and physical illness.
Some benefits of mindfulness are:
- Lowered stress hormones and improved stress management.
- Resistance to mental illness due to new or strengthened neural pathways.
- Enhanced resilience in times of distress.
- Lower healthcare costs due to less physical illness.
- Less absence from work due to fewer illnesses.
- More easily maintained healthy habits and achieved fitness goals.
- Improved ability to fall asleep faster and get more restful sleep.
- More compassionate behavior.
- Greater self-awareness and better listening skills.
Work/Life Connections – EAP has produced a series of videos featuring Linda Manning, PhD, from the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt. Dr. Manning provides an overview of what mindfulness is and guides you through a few basic mindfulness techniques. Visit the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt's website for more information on their services and programs aimed to care for the body, mind, and spirit.
Mindfulness: An Overview
Short Mindful Breathing Exercise
Longer Mindful Breathing Exercise
Mindful Body Scan
Health Plus offers Mindful Breaks where faculty and staff can join in guided stretching and breathing to feel relaxed, rejuvenated, and renewed. Learn more about Mindful Breaks.