Looking this time of the year at the autumn leaves slowly change colour and fall, always reminds me that change is natural and letting go is normal. I see the lessons of cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness within the natural rhythms of the garden and I harvest a bit of solace and mental wellness from that. The garden is full of mindful prompts and life lessons – I cherish it all the more for that.
People who practice mindfulness say it helps them relax and destress but that it also improves mental clarity and concentration; gifts awareness, comprehension and understanding, self-compassion and insight; affords them emotional flexibility, self-control, empathy to others, acceptance of life’s events and vicissitudes as well as an increase in resilience and tolerance. They also say that it helps diminish procrastination, rumination and negative though patterns, self-doubt, worry, anxiety, depression and other life stagnating preoccupations.
It almost sounds too good to be true – a magic bullet. Certainly mindfulness anecdotally and through these honed traits seems to engender a greater capacity to not just cope but deal with adverse events in life and opens oneself to experience a more satisfied life. But what does the scientific evidence say.
Evidence based benefits of mindfulness.
Mental clarity and concentration
Empathy and tolerance
Lessens general anxiety and anxiety disorders
Lessens negative thoughts and rumination.
Combats depression, substance abuse and eating disorders
Lessens obsessive-compulsive disorder
Benefits couples’ conflicts and interpersonal relationships
Apart from the knock on benefits of stress relieve to physical health, mindfulness is also associated with better sleep and increased vitality, it has therapeutic benefits to boost immune system, lower blood pressure, treat heart disease, reduce chronic pain and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.
There are also some interesting studies on the impact of mindfulness practices on creativity, happiness, wellness perception, physical endurance and motivation etc.