50 RULES OF LIFE
Rule 14: A Mindful Life is a Healthy Life.
A mindful attitude, whether a natural trait or a learned skill, has been shown to improve psychological well-being as well as physical health by reducing the effects of stress (Creswell, 2015).
What is the Mindful Attitude?
Many people think of mindfulness as a meditative method to induce relaxation and reduce stress. Although it can certainly be used as such, mindful meditation is one method to help develop mindfulness but, by itself, is not the mindful attitude. Rather, the mindful attitude is an approach to life.
Many years ago I recall watching my husband, who rarely experiences stress because he has a naturally mindful focus to life, hang my diplomas on my office wall. He measured the frames, he measured the wall from the ceiling to the floor and from wall to wall, he measured the position of the hook on the back of the frame, he measured the distance from one frame to another...until I just wanted to grab the hammer from him and hang the frames myelf! I didn't do that, however. Instead, I realized how he focused on a task completely and how he never became frustrated. I thought, “I want some of that.”
This episode occurred before the concept of mindfulness became widely studied but it illustrates a mindful approach to life. When we engage in meditation or in mindfulness practice, the purpose is to learn how to incorporate the mindful attitude into our everyday life. As we do, we become less frustrated, more focused, less stressed, more able to engage completely with life. We aren't focused on past concerns or future worries. Instead, we focus on the present moment. Fully experiencing the present, no matter how pleasant or unpleasant it may be, allows us to engage more effectively in life: improved decision-making and problem-solving, less emotional reactivity, enhanced social relationships, and improved psychological and physical health.
Creswell, J.D. (2015). Handbook of Mindfulness: Theory, Research, and Practice. New York, NY: Guilford Press, 426-440.
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