The stress of trying to have it all can leave us feeling like we have nothing at all. If we just take a step back to smell the roses, our bodies and minds will relax and find balance, allowing us to better plan, create, and savor each moment.
Here are 35 reasons why actively seeking mindfulness will help you live a longer, happier life:
Preventing heart disease
Heart disease is the number-one killer in America. Slowing down, taking a few deep breaths and learning to let go of the things you can’t control can help lower your pulse and keep your heart at a healthy, steady rate.
Lowering blood pressure
As mentioned above, slowing down in life can slow down your heart rate. As a result, this also decreases your blood pressure and keeps things flowing normally.
Not only does your blood pressure drop after taking a deep breath, but when you learn how to manage your stress, you are reducing stress on your body and allowing blood to carry oxygen to vital organs unimpeded.
Enjoying the moment
When you let things go that you can’t control, you allow yourself to live in the present. Instead of worrying about the future or regretting the past, let it go and live now. This moment is the only one you really have. Everything else is outside of your control.
When you take a moment to relax, you become more aware of each moment. You can really hear the birds more clearly, see the colors of each leaf, smell the roses more distinctly, and enjoy every bite of your meal.
Perhaps the most obvious reason to slow down and smell the roses is so that you can return to center. You are not just calming your emotions, you are also calming your nervous system.
As your nervous system relaxes, you stop producing cortisol, and your hormone production returns to its normal ebb and flow. If you have an overactive thyroid or irregular periods, reducing stress and savoring the moment can help you to balance your hormones and return your body to its normal functions.
Preventing acid reflux
Being more centered and balanced also balances the acid in your stomach. If you have frequent indigestion, calming down and taking a few deep breaths can help prevent or reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.
Improve your listening skills
When you are in a rush and your body is in fight-or-flight mode, you aren’t really paying attention to those around you. You just want them to stop talking so you can do what you need to do. When you take a step back, you allow yourself to gauge the situation you are in and really listen to those around you. Actively listening can also help you solve problems and be supportive to the people you love. It’s really a win-win.
Not only are you more aware of the needs of others, but you are also more aware of your own needs. Instead of rushing all the time and worrying, you gain perspective and can better understand problems — and their solutions.
Becoming closer to loved ones
When you slow down to live in the moment, you are more present to those around you. You can really be there for your kids, your parents, your friends or your significant other. If your relationships are strained due to stress or being busy all the time, spending time with loved ones and really listening to them can help you mend your relationships.
Ulcers often form as a result of stress. Stress in your mind manifests as stress in the body. You can reduce your risk of growing an ulcer by relaxing and allotting time for meditation or deep breathing so you can unwind after a busy or stressful day.
Sometimes stress follows us to bed and can prevent us from getting a full night’s sleep. When we don’t sleep properly, we experience even more stress and this becomes a vicious cycle. Hit pause so you can unwind before bed and give your body and mind the rest needed to replenish.
You are better able to understand situations when you slow down and allow yourself to breathe. Being in the moment naturally improves our ability to focus.
Not only are you more aware of your surroundings and situations when you slow down, but you are also more self-aware. What are you feeling right now? Why? What is your body telling you? You automatically ask yourself these questions when you notice a change in your body or mind just by being present and self-aware.
Sometimes when you are stressed out, you begin to feel your body ache, especially in your neck, shoulders and back. Do some yoga, meditate or just stretch and take time for a breather. This will help you reduce stress-related pain and help you get back to important activities at work or with your family.
Connecting with nature
When you stop to enjoy each moment, you feel connected to everything and are better able to enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. Instead of driving downtown, take a bike or walk. Reconnect with yourself and your surroundings whenever you can. The fresh air and sunshine will also help you de-stress.
Enhancing the lives of others
When we are rushed, we tend to have tunnel vision and don’t even acknowledge the people around us. We are in a better position to brighten someone else’s day when we slow down. Just a smile can change someone’s day. Also, when we are in stressful situations that involve others, taking a mental step back makes it easier to handle the situation in a way that is beneficial to all parties.
Reducing the effects of aging
Over time, stress can age us prematurely. Stress can overwork our organs and cause our skin to lose elasticity, especially if we don’t get enough sleep. Live life like you are wandering through a garden and your body will slow down as well.
Improving cognitive function
Stress can also prematurely age the mind. When we get caught up in a hectic lifestyle, we overthink and cause our neurons to fire unnecessarily. The fight-or-flight response takes its toll on the mind — so calm down and give your brain a break.
Increasing insightful understanding
If you are under a lot of pressure and you decide that you need to take a break, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to unclutter your mind and make room for new ideas. You can then return to your task with a new perspective.
When you realize that this moment is what really matters, your worries melt away and you are better able to focus, or just smell the roses.
Not only are your senses heightened when you slow down, so are your instincts. You become more aware and able to pay attention to what your mind and body are telling you.
When you calm down and are present with yourself, you can make better decisions because they are not based in fear. This gives you the chance to focus and listen to your gut. You begin to trust yourself and gain confidence in your ability to achieve everything you want in life.
Learning to love yourself
When you gain confidence, you begin to believe in yourself and love yourself. By practicing mindfulness or meditation, you become more aware of your shortcomings and your strengths — but don’t fear them. Instead, you realize that no matter what comes and goes in your life, you will always have yourself and this moment.
Learning to love life
When you take a step back to smell the roses, you can take in all of life’s richness and begin to fully experience every new day. When you live in the now, you begin to love life and are more grateful for the things you have. After all, it’s the little things in life that bring us joy, and you can experience each one if you just slow down.
Experiencing new things
When you de-stress, you are choosing to change your mindset and to recharge. Once you decide to calm down and be present, you are in a position to make new decisions and create a better life for yourself. By slowing down, you can explore a new path to work or a new activity with your loved ones. Life is so full of wonder, but you’ll never know what is out there if you are living in a tunnel.
Recharging from work and life
Instead of taking the stress with you to a fun activity, take a breather and release it so you can enjoy yourself. Slowing down allows you to release the stress of work so you can recharge instead of continuing to drain your battery.
When you allow yourself to be more present, the fear associated with the future disappears. You can take bolder actions and move forward in your life in areas where you once felt stuck. Releasing fear and living in the moment can help you create the future you actually want to experience.
Balancing life more easily
Slowing down can help you manage stress and work-life balance. Taking deep breaths can help you handle situations better so you can methodically respond, as opposed to emotionally reacting. The decline of cortisol not only allows your body to unclench, but also for your mind to relax so you can better process and plan ahead.
Repairing your body
When your body unclenches from stress and the need for speed in life, it begins to do what it does naturally: repair itself. When you are stressed, you are damaging your body and that wear and tear adds up. Learning how to deal with stressful situations and how to unclutter your mind can help your body find equilibrium.
One of the most immediate physical benefits of relaxing is regaining the ability to take deep breaths. When we are in a state of panic, our breaths shorten, our throat tightens and we feel like we can’t breathe. Sit down, focus on your breathing, and your breaths will become less shallow and more substantial in size and length. Taking deeper breaths on a regular basis can prevent panic attacks and allow us to retain perspective in bad situations.
Improving weight loss
When our hormones are out of whack due to stress, we put on weight. Stress can also cause us to eat unhealthily and in greater quantities. By learning to smell the roses and dance in the rain, we stop emotional eating, we pay more attention to our body’s needs, our hormones return to normal, and we begin to respect ourselves enough to say no to temptation.
Achieving more with your time
It may sound contradictory, but when we slow down and allow ourselves to be more present and mindful, we can actually accomplish more within the same amount of time. In our daily lives, we tend to waste a lot of time worrying. When we are always in a hurry, we are more likely to make mistakes and have to take additional time to correct them. So when we slow down, we can make smarter decisions and can focus more on the task at hand.
As a result of stressing less and allowing ourselves to enjoy the moment, we are at a lower risk of developing depression. When we are depressed, we are slower to act and yet our minds are buzzing. We find it difficult to focus and are easily exhausted by our thoughts. Now when you slow down your mind, the opposite happens. So by reducing the amount of time you focus on being busy or stressed, you reduce your risk of becoming clouded by your thoughts.
When we look at all the benefits of slowing down and enjoying the moment, it becomes an easy decision. Life’s too short to spend it worrying about the future or regretting the past. This moment is all that exists, don’t let it pass you by! Pay attention to your breathing and remind yourself to remain in the moment when your mind begins to wander to negative thoughts.