Mindfulness meditation has many benefits – and one of the most important is helping us to manage our emotions.
Practising mindfulness supports our psychological balance. Mindfulness helps to regulate our nervous systems, allowing us to view life with greater equanimity and peacefulness (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004979/). Many of our anxieties are based on thoughts about the past or projections into the future. By focusing our attention on the present moment, mindfulness supports us to feel calmer and happier (https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1192439). Over time, we become more resilient to stress and less reactive (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004979/), no matter what comes our way.
Choosing a healthy response
Mindfulness is also a great tool when emotions such as anger, sadness, frustration or fear do arise. Of course, these emotions all have their rightful place in our lives. The difficulty comes when we get overwhelmed or stuck within them.
Cultivating awareness through mindfulness makes us more likely to notice when an emotion comes up. And it gives us greater capacity to then handle this emotion effectively.
By teaching us to observe our thoughts and feelings while not hooking into them, mindfulness brings us greater perspective. From this position of detachment, we can better allow the emotion to simply be present, without repressing it or being overtaken by it. And we can then make a wiser choice as to how we respond, instead of reacting blindly.
For instance, we might try reframing our thoughts, self-soothing, focusing on compassion or gratitude, moving our bodies or seeking support from others. Tools such as these all give the emotion space to be felt and help it to move through us in a healthy way.
With practice, mindfulness creates a wider internal container for our emotions and defuses their charge. This allows us to process our emotions while releasing their grip over us. Over time we become more attuned to our feelings, less reactive, and quicker at finding our way back to balance when navigating life’s ups and downs.
Meditation for Challenging Times (https://themeditator.com/journal/2020/meditation-for-challenging-times/)
The Benefits of Gratitude (https://themeditator.com/journal/2021/the-benefits-of-gratitude/)