Mindfulness is the buzzword that just won’t quit. In recent years, it’s filtered into just about all walks of life. It’s true, we’re living in the age of enlightenment, but did you know that science has proof that mindfulness can improve pretty much everything you face?
At TopperQ, we know that you might already be using meditation as a way to cope with stress. Thing is, you might not be familiar of the other benefits of mindfulness. So, we thought we’d break down some of the other benefits of your precious practice, to keep you primed and perfect to continue your inner peace way after the end-of-exam bell has rung.
- Decrease inflammation - Meditation has been shown to help connect two parts of your brain that often work in opposition to each other. This in turn helps manage stress, and lower stress levels, which are the number one trigger for inflammation in your body.
- Lower cortisol - That link above then, is our next point, the stress hormone cortisol. Increased levels of this hormone can increase the risk of depression etc. However, when you meditate one of the benefits of mindfulness is that your levels will drop and you’ll feel more centered and calm.
- Live in the moment - With your new, all time low stress levels, you’ll find that you worry less. As you learn to quiet your mind, with the benefits of mindfulness, you’ll experience a greater respect for your surroundings, what you feel, smell and see at that moment.
- Breathe deeper - Deep breathing is a meditative technique that uses your deep, rhythmic breaths to turn your thoughts inwards. Breathing deeply also helps to slow down your body’s frantic chemical reactions, allowing it to pace itself.
- Worry less - Mindfulness encourages you to work through your worrisome thoughts, rather than resist them. Due to this, when you become mindful, you’ll find you’re able to resolve your worries quicker. After all, we need practice to learn new activities, and your brain is the same.
- Reduce anxiety - Mindfulness is well known for its ability to train the mind out of fight-or-flight responses. When you live in the moment, you’ll be able to re-train your mind to overcome anxiety and panic.
- Better sleep - Unruly thoughts can often keep us awake at night. With the benefits of mindfulness on your mindset, you’ll learn to find a path through these thoughts and process them easier, leading to less tumultuous nights, and better rest.
- Resolve more conflict - When you override your fight or flight mechanism with mindfulness, it will also allow you to resolve conflict in a quick, easy and without large scenes. As your brain will be used to think through conflict, you’ll also find it easier to come to a middle-ground, ensuring harmony.
- Balance your nervous system - The less of that pesky stress hormone cortisol you have, the less inflamed you’ll be. This rule also stands for your entire nervous system, as your stress levels can activate that too!
- Be more efficient at work - Mindfulness teaches you discipline, as it will often require you to sit alone, quiet, listening to a guided track, or simply filling your head with your mantra. It works on your concentration and focus, a skill which you can transfer to work.
- Ease trauma - Mindfulness can heal the brain the same way that white blood cells heal the body. Meditation has been shown to rebuild parts of your brain that have been damaged or forgotten, especially if you are experiencing symptoms of mental health conditions such as PTSD.
- Stronger heart - Transcendental meditation has been shown to reduce heart disease. Again, it’s the reduction in cortisol that helps you here, lowering your stress levels, which then lowers your blood pressure, which then has a positive effect on your heart.
- Protect your brain from aging - Being mindful means by the time you reach 50, your brain will be almost a decade younger than your mate who thinks it’s all hogwash. When you visualise your goal, your aim, or just a walk through your mind-garden, it fires connective tissue and neurons that decay with little use.
- Override negative impulses - Another fight or flight one here. Your mindful new memory will be so used to working through things, that it’ll kick in all of the time. It’ll fire up the consequences, and make you aware that you might just be better off spending that cash on some chips.
- Be more creative - Transcendental meditation is well known for helping access creativity. This is because it travels the same pathways in the brain between consciousness and liminal space, where creative ideas fester. It’s championed by many filmmakers and writers.
- Have more empathy - When you become more in tune with yourself, your environment, your surroundings and emotions, it’s also easier to understand others. Mindfulness will help you to see other people’s points of view, as it will help you understand your own.
- Learn gratitude - Living in the moment is a glorious thing. When you learn to be truly present, you’ll be overwhelmed by the beauty of the world. You’ll be able to appreciate the warmth on your skin, the hug of a friend, and even the taste of your lunch. The world will become a technicolour place!
- Look younger - This one is a little bit complicated. You know your body is made up of DNA, right? Well, we’re all familiar with this image of it, a twisty rollercoaster with connecting slats. At the end of those DNA rollercoasters are things called Telomeres that keep the DNA together (like the little plastic bits on the end of your shoelace). They protect the DNA from age damage. When you meditate, you actually produce longer Telomeres that hold off your aging process for longer.
- Produce shorter gamma waves - Gamma waves (not rays) are responsible for feelings of bliss. Honestly. The more you meditate, the shorter the waves are that you produce, meaning you’ll experience #blessed on a more regular basis.
- Speed up your brain - Did you know those little wibbly bits in your brain continue to grow, change, and develop all of your life? Those loops are an intricate map of shortcuts to information you need to access quickly. The cool thing is, mindfulness can help you speed up the rate at which you access these connections, meaning your brain will work faster!
- Feel less pain - Mindfulness changes how your brain processes pain. It turns the pain amplifier knob down a notch, meaning if you experience chronic-pain, your meditation might marvellously magic away some of your angrier aches and pains.
Convinced? Looking for guidance on where to start? There are a number of apps available to help you. Our favourites are Calm and Headspace, both of which provide guided meditations for a number of situations. Then, once you’re super zen, get back to that revision. Don’t forget to download TopperQ, the new revision App. View bite-sized chunks, take practice exams, and aid yourself in ultimate exam excellence.