Mindfulness and Mental Health

by Steven Gillman

What's going on in your head? Until you know, there can be all sorts of problems. Uncorrectable problems. You can't fix a problem that you don't see, right? That is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness and mental health are intimately connected.

Your mind is busy in there right now, talking about all sorts of things. It may be telling you that you are tired of your job, or that you are a victim of circumstance. It may be running through a list of all the things you need to be doing. It may be saying all the wrong things, and yet you may hear none of it. You may just feel a slight anxiety building as your day goes on.

When I first learned how to do basic mindfulness exercises, I was amazed. I found that whole conversations were going on just below consciousness. Not only was it interesting to see, but the most amazing part was that I could now often end feelings of worry or anxiety. All I had to do was stop and watch my mind until I found the cause.

Yes, it actually is often that simple. If you forgot to write down an appointment, for example, it may be bothering you for hours. As soon as you see that, you write it down and you feel relaxed again. If an argument is playing and replaying subconsciously in your mind and stressing you out, often just bringing it to consciousness will make you laugh and dismiss it.

Mindfulness And Long Term Mental Health

Don't underestimate the power of short term happiness and good thoughts to influence the course of your mental health over the longer term. Resolve anxieties and stresses now, and regularly, and you'll be healthier, and you'll be developing good habits. Good feelings now lead to good feelings in the future, and habits are what we need for any long term results.

As for the big problems, mindfulness is a way to see them more clearly for what they are. As you get better at tuning into your own subconscious mind, you will start to see patterns. I found, for example, that my mind was mulling over and worrying about all the possible choices in decisions that weren't made. It caused me endless stress.

Seeing this clearly, finally recognizing how destructive this habit of indecisiveness was, lead me to change. I started making decisions more quickly, just to try a new way. I immediately experienced how stress diminishes once a decision is made. My habits began to change, and I was getting more done with less anxiety.

The most basic mindfulness exercise is to just sit quietly and start paying attention to everything going on in your body and mind. Of course this can be difficult if you've never done it, and this article isn't a how-to. This is just to make the case that it's worth learning. There is definitely a connection between mindfulness and mental health.

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Author:Steve Gillman has meditated and studied meditation for over twenty years. You can find a good mindfulness exercise and subscribe to The Meditation Newsletter at: http://www.TheMeditationSite.com