According to recent mental health surveys, approximately 1 billion people suffer from mental illness. In low-income countries, the situation is worse as 75% of people do not have access to professional mental health treatment programs. Substance abuse disorder stats tell that approximately three million people end up dead due to the abuse. Additionally, 5% of mental illness has the onset in the initial teenage years. These are alarming stats. Mental illness also impacts an individual’s mental flexibility that seriously hinders the functionality of any individual. Mental flexibility in other words is adaptability.
Fortunately, mindfulness meditation training can help with the issues. It benefits the mind in different ways e.g. reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhanced memory, better emotional control, strengthened relationships, and improved physical health. An individual needs physical and mental health to properly function and progress in the world. Only this way, a person can apply their adaptability/ mental flexibility skills.
How Does Mindfulness Training Upgrade Mental Flexibility?
We know that mental flexibility/ adaptability means the flexibility to adjust one’s thoughts and behavior according to the demands of the novel situation. Furthermore, mindfulness meditation encourages the user to focus on the present moment that increases self-awareness. Self-awareness is about knowing oneself thoroughly such as long and short-term goals, and motivation. Consequently, when self-awareness increases, it becomes easier to adapt to new scenarios. On the other hand, when there is poor self-awareness, it becomes extremely difficult to adjust according to the situation.
According to 2021 research, mindfulness and adaptability correlation was studied in participants from diverse working backgrounds. The total number of participants was 198 who solved self-report questionnaires. The results showed a significant association between mindfulness and the adaptability of the respondents. Hence, mindfulness meditation training upgrades mental flexibility.
Emotional Benefits from Mindfulness Meditation Impact Adaptability
When mindfulness exercises impart mental and physical benefits to the user, it also brings emotional benefits such as an increase in self-esteem and satisfaction in life. Self-esteem is a person’s perception of their characteristics (e.g. strengths and weaknesses). It can increase or decrease with time. Satisfaction in life is a general perception of an individual about their life.
It is obvious that people with high self-esteem and increased life satisfaction can adapt well. Nevertheless, those with low self-esteem and decreased life satisfaction face problems while adapting.
In 2012 research, the impact of meditation was studied on multitaskers. There were three groups containing twelve to fifteen participants each. All of them went through eight weeks of meditation training. It was found that the mindfulness meditation training helped them stay on task for a longer time than before and showed improvement in memory. Hence, mindfulness meditation helped them adapt well to the demands of their work.
Mindfulness Training Increases One’s Peace Of Mind
We know that mindfulness meditation exercises motivate an individual to focus on the present. It requires one to bring back their attention gently. So, it is a non-judgemental approach to oneself. With a kind approach, an individual is able to observe their thoughts, feelings, and behavior easily. After repeated practice, the user can experience peace of mind.
Moreover, peace of mind enables one to assess a situation clearly and objectively which makes adaptability easier to do.
On the other hand, taking a critical and judgmental approach increases demotivation and internal resistance to change. It has extreme disadvantages for any individual, for instance,
- Inner Peace
Mindfulness Meditation Encourages Self-Compassion
Mindfulness meditation is self-care in disguise as it increases self-awareness and kind judgment. There are meditations like loving-kindness and self-compassion that motivate one to have positive feelings for oneself and others.
Self-care is important because it helps deal with life stressors, frustrations, and other obstacles. It makes mental flexibility easier to practice. On the other hand, lack of self-care results in extreme anxiety, demotivation, self-harm, and a distorted worldview. All of it makes adaptability skills harder to implement.
“Self-care is not selfish or self-indulgent. We cannot nurture others from a dry well. We need to take care of our own needs first so that we can give from our surplus, our abundance. When we nurture others from a place of fullness, we feel renewed instead of taken advantage of.” — Jennifer Louden
Mindfulness Meditation Deepens The Sleep
Approximately 35% to 50% of the adult population globally suffers from sleep issues (insomnia). The majority of people have insomnia because of poor stress management.
Gladly, mindfulness exercises provide significant stress relief. It happens because meditation introduces relaxation through bodily changes such as a boost in melatonin and serotonin. Furthermore, reduced heart rate means decreased blood pressure. All of these changes activate parts of the brain that control sleep. During deep sleep, the body heals itself and the mind organizes itself. Hence, meditation heals the mind, body, and spirit through deep sleep.
Within the context of adaptability, it is clear that a person with poor sleep cannot use memory resources and other cognitive abilities properly which affects judgment. The poor judgment makes mental flexibility or adaptability impossible to practice. Therefore, mindfulness training becomes crucial to have a deep sleep every night.
Mindfulness Meditation Boosts Productivity
In a 2003 research study, mindfulness intervention was implemented on 25 working adults. They went through a two-month meditation training regime and the researchers recorded the brain activity of the respondents. The results of the study showed that the participants experienced positive brain changes and a boost in immunity. Hence, it implies enhanced productivity for the individuals.
Moreover, we know that mindfulness meditation increases the stress management ability of a person. It also enhances concentration and focus. All of the benefits help an individual boost their productivity.
All in all, it is important to work on one’s mindfulness training. It has added benefits to implementing adaptability in life. The other benefits include improved self-awareness, increased emotional health, boosted self-compassion and productivity, and reduced sleep problems. There are multiple types of meditation practices with various aims and objectives so one should pick something that is according to their needs and goals.