Written by Emiko Ohama, Student Wellness Ambassador Team
Hello 2017! Welcome to a new chapter! Aside from exercise, what kind of activities and regimens can you take on that will provide health and wellness benefits? If there was one activity that could support the achievement of all your new year’s resolutions – what would it be?
Believe it or not, the latest research points to the positive implications of mindfulness. A mindful person has trained themselves to orient their focus to the present-moment, which fosters an awareness of multiple perspectives and acknowledges emotional states without judgment. Research shows that mindfulness is a key ingredient for stress management, emotional regulation and attention retention.
Mindfulness is a tool that can bolster any personal resolution. For example, if dietary improvements are a top priority, you might be interested to learn that mindfulness can also reduce binge eating. Practicing mindfulness can increase your self-compassion; research published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that self-compassion has positive effects on the regulation of eating behaviour.
There are many different methods to train mindfulness, such as journaling, yoga, art therapy programs or mindfulness-based stress reduction initiatives. However, the most widely used form of mindfulness training is meditation.
A team of researchers recently published an article, “Attachment Security and Self-Compassion Priming Increase the Likelihood that First-Time Engagers in Mindfulness Meditation Will Continue with Mindfulness Training.” They found that ten minutes of visualization and journaling prior to meditation made the training itself is easier to continue.
The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease published research in June 2016 that investigated mind-body therapy benefits on psychosocial outcomes. The study used Kirtan Kriya Meditation as a mindfulness training tool. It is simple to learn and engages several brain areas. You might want to try it! It involves repeating a mantra while touching your finger-tip and thumb along a string of beads in sequence. It also incorporates visualization by imagining the sound energy of a mantra coming in through the top of their head and exiting out between their eyebrows, like an “L” shape. Researchers found that participants achieved benefits after practicing for twelve minutes daily over a twelve-week period, as well as after practicing at their own discretion over a subsequent three-month period.
If you want to reap the many health and wellness benefits of mindfulness training, it may also be useful to learn about the products that will further support your mindfulness training. Over the past year, I have received, purchased, or tried a number of health and wellness products, but my ultimate favourite has been the Guided meditations and necklaces from the Mala Collective.
Not only does the Mala Collective seek to empower and employ local artisans in Bali, they also donate to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization. When I started to look for tools to help me develop my own mindfulness, I was immediately drawn to this company after finding out their mission is, “offering tools and practices that empower people to live with intention.”
Investing time and energy in mindfulness development can help you to achieve your new year’s resolutions. A consistent practice structurally affects regions of the brain that oversees voluntary and goal-oriented behaviours like planning, decision making, disinhibition, and self-regulation.
Uplift your new year, and empower yourself with the many benefits of mindfulness.
Bonus! The Wellness Centre Coordinates free, drop-in Mindfulness classes each week:
Mindfulness Meditation: Tuesdays 11:30-12:20, OM2494
Creative Mindfulness: Thursdays 12:40-1:20, OM2494