The United States of America is undergoing a tough time with approximately one in five Americans, that is 46.6 million adults, being affected by a mental illness in a given year. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), around 17.3 million U.S. adults were suffering from at least one type of major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year. Of these 11 million suffered a severe impairment.
Though mental disorders can affect anyone, irrespective of their age, social standing, caste, etc. people can take certain steps to prevent the onset of these incapacitating conditions by being more careful about their mental health. An individual can take care of their mental health by indulging in exercise, regularly visiting a mental health therapist, taking out time for themselves, and employing stress-busting techniques, among others. After all, just like in any other form of ailment, prevention is always better than cure.
Mindfulness – an effective technique
Speaking of preventive measures, mindfulness is an effective technique that helps an individual focus their attention on the present moment instead of letting it wander and drift into anxieties about the past or the future. The objective of mindfulness is not to empty the mind, but to allow the thoughts to flow freely without getting caught in and fretting over any one particular thought.
While mindfulness probably will not diminish the factors that caused stress in an individual’s life, it would allow the person to observe the situation from a distance without being influenced by distressing emotions. Mindfulness techniques are being scientifically evaluated and it has been found to be quite instrumental in stress reduction and promoting happiness in an individual’s life.
Benefits of mindfulness
With his dedicated efforts, Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts and the former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, introduced the practice of mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine. He demonstrated that if people practiced mindfulness, it could largely improve an individual’s physical and psychological symptoms and positively impact their behavior, attitude, and overall mental health. Some of the benefits of mindfulness include:
- Stress management: While the day-to-day life of an individual can be filled with stress, following this technique can make an individual less susceptible to stress and have greater emotional flexibility. When an individual practices mindfulness, it gives them the feeling of possessing a ‘mental shield’ to combat highly stressful situations.
- Management of the physical aspect of stress: Unlike the commonly held notion, stress is not just emotional. It has a physical connotation to it as well. When an individual practices mindfulness, it can help lower the heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and also help lower the levels of stress hormones in the human body.
- Mental health improvement: Of late, psychotherapists have resorted to using mindfulness meditation as an alternative form of treatment. When an individual practices mindfulness meditation, it helps in treating anxiety disorders, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), substance abuse, and other mental disorders.
- Relief from physical pain: Pain and depression are closely associated. In fact, pain can lead to depression and vice versa. Studies have revealed that mindfulness can be quite helpful especially in conditions where people suffer from any kind of acute or chronic pain.
- Anger management: While anger may be a normal human emotion, people suffering from any kind of mental health condition may find it difficult to curb or manage their anger. Practicing mindfulness can largely help managing anger outbursts in mental health patients.
- Boosts confidence and self-esteem: People with mental health problems are often seen to have self-esteem and confidence issues. By practicing mindfulness, people with mental health issues can be mindful of their feelings and thoughts and start trusting their mind and body. It helps boost their self-esteem and makes them feel good about themselves.
- Memory improvement: It has been observed that people suffering from mental health problems often face challenges while focusing and even experience memory loss. When such an individual is made to practice mindfulness, it has shown to improve not only their attention span, but also strengthen their memory.
- Fatigue management: It is very common for mental health patients to feel exhausted or extremely tired and have insomnia. When such individuals practice mindfulness, it helps in improving the quality of their sleep, thereby making them mentally relaxed and refreshed.
- Changes in brain: Some studies have revealed that when an individual practices mindfulness, it brings about positive changes in the brain such as uplifting the mood and regulating extreme emotions.
- Successful treatment option: A recently conducted study revealed that mindfulness based cognitive therapy is quite effective in preventing relapse of depression. Although the results of this study are quite encouraging, it is advised that an individual does not cease taking the medications without consulting their doctor.
- Identification of negative thinking patterns: While worrying about the future may be a normal tendency, practicing mindfulness helps people worry much less about futuristic events.
Seeking mental health treatment
The overall well-being of an individual is determined by both their physical as well as mental health. Ironically, while people pay great attention to their physical health, they tend to ignore their mental health. That is the reason why almost 19 percent of the American population is suffering from a mental health condition. Nowadays, it is no longer difficult to seek mental health treatment, especially with the diagnosis becoming more scientific. Also, mental health treatment centers have become better equipped to help such patients.
If you or a loved one are looking for some reliable mental health treatment facilities in your vicinity, get in touch with Medical Concierge Recovery. Our team of medical experts will offer you all the required assistance and help you overcome your mental disorder. You can also call our 24/7 mental health treatment helpline (877) 636-0042 or chat online with our counselor for more information about the various treatment modalities offered at our facilities.