The Power of Mindfulness

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Mindfulness involves the conscious awareness of the present moment with a nonjudgmental focus. Mindfulness has been found to impact many different health outcomes including cardiovascular disease, obesity, anxiety, depression, and menopause. Different techniques associated with mindfulness include meditation, deep breathing, yoga, pilates, stretching, and mindful eating. Clinicians including physicians and nurses, alike, have been prescribing mindfulness interventions for a variety of different conditions. In addition to prescribing mindfulness interventions, a large majority of physicians and nurses both practice mindfulness techniques themselves.

Recently, researchers have found that greater mindfulness is correlated with lower stress levels and a lower burden of menopausal symptoms. They found that practicing mindfulness can assist with improving psychological symptoms, emotional response to menopausal symptoms, and stress. Further, it has been found to reduce the impact of hot flashes. Clinicians argue that women in midlife who are experiencing menopausal symptoms could greatly benefit from the incorporation of mindfulness practice.

Another health condition that can be influenced through mindfulness is obesity and weight loss. Researchers have found that mindfulness has been associated with greater weight loss. On average, those who practiced mindfulness lost about 5 lbs. more at six months compared to those who did not. They saw additional improvements in self-esteem, self-confidence around weight loss, better relationship with food, and self-compassion. Those who are looking to lose weight might consider also incorporating mindfulness techniques into their weight loss program.

Mindfulness has also been found to enhance disease self-management for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and arthritis. Those who practiced mindfulness were more likely to engage in health behavior action plans. Additional benefits that were observed include improved emotion regulation, self-compassion, and interoceptive awareness.

While researchers and clinicians have long emphasized the benefits of mindfulness, continued research and efforts continue to support the vast array of conditions that can be positively influenced with this technique. Mindfulness can be an important enhancement for those with cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, obesity, and menopause. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing consultations specific to mindfulness practice. We can assist with providing support for adhering to mindfulness and improving physical and mental health outcomes.

By Matt Lewandowski

Sources: Physicians, Nurses Prioritize Mindfulness Differently. Marcia Frellick– Medscape– March 20, 2019; Mindfulness Eases Menopause Symptoms, Stress. Tara Haelle – Medscape– October 11, 2018; Mindfulness Could Help Weight Loss in Obese Individuals. Liam Davenport – Medscape– December 20, 2018; Mindfulness Helps With Disease Self-Management Skills. Nora MacReady – Medscape– December 26, 2018. Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash