Ben King, Founder of Armor Down, has crafted a tip sheet outling 20 reasons why we should practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. Mindfulness can:
Boost Your HEALTH
1. Increases immune function
2. Decreases Pain
3. Decreases Inflammation at the Cellular Level
Boost Your HAPPINESS
4. Increases Positive Emotion
5. Decreases Depression
6. Decreases Anxiety
7. Decreases Stress
Boost Your SOCIAL LIFE
Think meditation is a solitary activity? It may be (unless you meditate in a group which many do!) but it actually increases your sense of connection to others:
8. Increases social connection & emotional intelligence
9. Makes you more compassionate
10. Makes you feel less lonely
Boost Your Self-Control
11. Improves your ability to regulate your emotions
(Ever flown off the handle or not been able to quiet your mind? Here's the key)
12. Improves your ability to introspect
Change Your BRAIN (for the better)
13. Increases grey matter
14. Increases volume in areas related to emotion regulation, positive emotions & self-control
15. Increases cortical thickness in areas related to paying attention
Improve Your Productivity (yup, by doing nothing)
16. Increases your focus & attention
17. Improves your ability to multitask
19. Improves your ability to be creative & think outside the box
20. Makes You Wiser and Keeps You Real
By observing your mind, you realize you don't have to be slave to it: You can own your stuff and become more authentic. You can recognize the stories and soap operas your mind puts you through and you gain some perspective on them.
You can see that most of us are caught up in mind-drama and become more compassionate towards others instead of getting caught up in their stuff.
Mindfulness helps you clean out mental junk. You shower every day to clean your body, meditating is like a shower for your mind.
Clearing your mind of gives you the ability to handle even the most difficult things. We can't control what happens in the world, but we can control how we relate to it... No matter what's going on, if your mind is OK, you’re OK.
Myths about Meditation
Having an empty mind—nope, in fact, when you start meditating, you'll find its quite the opposite
Sitting in the lotus position—nope, you can sit on the couch (just don't lie down, you'll fall asleep)
Sitting for an hour a day—nope, small doses work just fine.
Chanting in a language I don't understand—nope, not unless that floats your boat
Buddhist, Hindu or religious—nope, not unless you want it to be
Answers to "I can't practice mindfulness because”
I can't clear my mind—no worries, while you're sitting there you'll experience the noisy chaos of a wound up mind that's unwinding: tons of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Don't worry about how you feel during, notice how you feel after and throughout the rest of the day
I can't sit still—that's ok, just sit comfortably, fidget if you need to
I get anxious—that's also normal, all the junk's coming up, learn some breathing practices to calm yourself down, exercise or do yoga before your practice
I hate sitting still—that's fine, then go for a walk without your earphones, phone etc; or start with yoga; or do breathing exercises…give yourself time to just "be" without constantly "doing" something
I tried and I hated it—there's not just one kind of practice, there's a whole menu out there, look for the shoe that fits: mindfulness, Transcendental Meditation, compassion, yoga, qi gong, tai chi etc...
I don't have time – We waste countless minutes every day on the internet or otherwise, fretting, or numbing yourself to anxiety, frustration, etc. Mindful practice increases productivity. Taking the time to do it helps you manage your time much more efficiently.
Ben King, Founder of Armor Down, served in the Iraq war as a Psychological Operations Sergeant in the U.S. Army. During that time, he was chief of a three-man Tactical PSYOPS Team. As team leader during the initial stages of the 2007 troop surge. Ben has a master's degree in Public Anthropology and is a certified Personal Trainer. Through his studies and fitness training, Ben quickly notices the exponential benefits of combining mindfulness practices like breathing and stretching, with strength training. After the publication of numerous studies supporting the use of integrative techniques for dealing with postwar mind-body conditions, Ben resolved to develop a deeper means for allowing service members and veterans access to these techniques. Armor Down is the result.