According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH), yoga, meditation, and mindfulness are gaining more popularity in the United States as Americans are finding numerous mental and physical benefits of practicing them. Mindfulness is the practice of appreciating the present moment just as it is – and tuning into one’s senses and they embrace each moment with curiosity and interest. A study featured by the American Psychological Association (APA) confirms that mindfulness can reduce rumination, stress reduction, boost working memory, increase focus, lessen emotional reactivity, improve cognitive flexibility, enhance relationship satisfaction, and much more.
If you’ve been practicing mindfulness for quite some time, you’ve likely noticed a significant improvement to your well-being; after all, the opposite of mindfulness is mindlessness, and that can lead us to not appreciate the present moment, which so many of us can become engulfed in if we don’t catch it in time. A 2015 study conducted by researchers from Massachusetts sought to identify other outcomes of meditation and mindfulness, and they found one: equanimity. As defined by the researchers in the study, equanimity is,
“…an even-minded mental state or dispositional tendency toward all experiences or objects, regardless of their affective valence (pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral) or source.”
The authors noted equanimity as having a sense of impartiality – being calm, stable, and composed while not being partial or biased. It is stated that individuals with equanimity can have unpleasant thoughts or emotions without repressing, judging, denying, or otherwise having difficulty with them. In the same sense, a person can experience pleasant thoughts or emotions without becoming hypomanic or addicted to them. Why might this be important?
As life ebbs and flows, so do our circumstances and surroundings, our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. By engaging in equanimity, we open ourselves up to several possibilities, without being affected too heavily by what occurs. From what the researchers found in their study, the practice of mindfulness and meditation is what leads people to equanimity.
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