Is there anything that mindfulness can’t do? New research, information, and insight on the positive benefits of mindfulness are published on a regular basis. The many reasons to practice mindfulness are becoming common knowledge. Mindfulness can:
- Reduce stress
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce pain
- Reduce symptoms of emotional distress like depression and anxiety
- Reduce cravings for drugs and alcohol
- Promote awareness
- Increase brain function
- Improve emotional regulation
- And much more.
The application of mindfulness has been tested among a variety of groups of people in need, from those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction to those living with chronic pain, cancers, and more. Mindfulness works by cutting through the noise, reducing one’s attention, and asking the mind to become more aware. Rather than allow our brain’s to be hyper stimulated to the point where the brain takes in everything as nothing and vice versa, the simple act of focusing attention on noticing and practicing awareness of what we notice, rewires the brain in a deeply anti-stressful way. As a result, the mind is benefitted and the brain is benefitted while our lives gain benefit as well. Mindfulness helps us be happier, healthier, and more present. According to Andy Puddicombe, the co-founder of the globally, phenomenonally popular mindfulness app Headspace, mindfulness can help use get a better workout.
Andy explains in an interview with GQ that mindfulness doesn’t get rid of stress in our lives because stress is part of life. This is an important lesson men have to learn in recovery. Getting sober doesn’t change life- life still happens in all the chaotic, sometimes awful ways that it tends to happen. However, with a radical paradigm shift in perspective, practice, and philosophy, the way we react to stress, and how stressed we become in the face of stress, changes. “It doesn’t matter how much you meditate,” Andy explains, “difficult stuff still happens. And we’re still going to experience it. It’s how we relate to it when it happens, and how long we hold onto it afterwards.”
“Mindfulness Will Get You Swole”
Andy tells GQ that most morning he starts his day off with an hour on the rowing machine. He utilizes mindfulness to focus on the every single moment and action in the present as much as possible, rather than become overwhelmed by the idea of rowing for an hour. “I actually count the strokes in the same way that I would count my breath if I was meditating, and I”m just with one stroke at a time…It doesn’t feel like an hour on the rower. It feels like lots of one-strokes.” By focusing on the here and now through push and pull, push and pull, Andy focuses instead of being unfocused. As the author explains, “Take whatever exercise you’re doing and focus on doing it with perfect form.” If we’re distracted and thinking only about how little we want to do an entire hour of exercise, we’re not fully in the present moment with our body, and most likely not fully in the present moment with our form. We’re prone to injury, as well as quitting, or not putting in our best effort. It in’t necessarily mindfulness, but presence. Being present with each movement doesn’t change how hard the workout is, or the fact that we’re working out for an hour. In the same way that mindfulness doesn’t stop stress but changes the way we react to it, being present in the gym doesn’t stop the workout from being a challenge. Mindfulness changes the way we say “Challenge accepted.”
Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program in Portland, Oregon, offering men a unique way to recover. Inspired by the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest and the philosophies of proven recovery techniques, men create sustainable changes in their life, setting up a life without limitations. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474