Mindfulness Tied to Better Physical Health

I've been talking  a lot about mindfulness and mediation lately. It's the focus of all of my favorite (and effective!) stress relieving techniques. I've been meditating a few times a week, usually no longer than 5-10 minutes at a time, and I can always tell an immediate difference. My stress is lowered, my mood is improved, and I just feel physically better. Be here now

 

{From one of my favorite, hippiest, books I've ever read - Be Here Now. That book will change your life, if you're ready for it}

New research is supporting my experience that mindfulness, not just in meditation but in every day life, can help improve physical health.

Participants with high Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) scores had an 83 percent greater prevalence of good cardiovascular health (as measured by the composite score) compared to those with relatively low MAAS scores. High vs. low MAAS scores were associated with significantly higher cardiovascular health on four of seven individual indicators: BMI, physical activity, fasting glucose, and avoiding smoking.

When I first quit smoking the only reason I was successful (the third time around!) was by becoming mindful of my cravings. I would sense one coming on, recognize it as a physical response that will pass, and let it go. I used to get so upset thinking of all the future times I wouldn't be able to smoke, but once I learned to be mindful of my present state and craving it was so much easier to manage.

For those of you interested in meditating more I found two GREAT free apps that I've been using a lot lately; Breathe and Insight Timer. I love using them when I find myself in the car with a few minutes to spare before work, or if I'm laying in bed at night and need to unwind before going to sleep.

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Have you ever practiced mindfulness? Do you see a connection between your mental health and physical health?