According to science, being aware of the present-moment is the key to increase stress resilience and well-being. A recent study published in the Journal of Research in Personality shows that present-moment awareness, which is a feature of mindfulness, helps us to deal with stress. Being aware of the present moment involves monitoring and attending to current experience instead of predicting future events or dwelling on the past. This also has a huge impact upon our general health, helping us to avoid anxiety and depression, boosting our mood and offering us a sense of improved well-being.
Australian study examined the effects of awareness upon people practicing mindfulness
In another study, a team of Australian researchers examined the effects of present moment-awareness upon 143 persons, well-educated university students and staff (76.3% female) who were part of an online mindfulness training course. There were taken into consideration three stress response variables, which were:
- Surveyors’ competence in dealing with a stressful situation, or whether or not the person thinks they have the ability to handle a situation or not. This was named coping self-efficacy and it indicates our ability to motivate ourselves to effectively respond to stressful circumstances. Coping self-efficacy is linked to increased resilience and less trauma following stressful events.
- Surveyors’ reliance on core values when responding to stressful situations instead of reacting to immediate short-term situations. This is called “values-consistent responding” and describes when people’s responses are consistent with their long-term goals, rather than being influenced by the current situation. Being present makes people be more aware of their values, which brings a heightened sense of well-being, diminished psychological distress and better pain tolerance in the presence of stressful situations.
- Surveyors’ avoidance of stressful feelings. This is characterised by a tendency to retreat from stressful events and it is associated with increased psychological distress, and reduced well-being across the lifespan.
People with greater present-moment awareness responded better to stress
The research concluded that those people who showed greater present-moment awareness were more likely to respond to stress with strategies that lead to greater health and well-being. In other words, being able to be present in a stressful moment linked to greater perceived ability to handle that stress. This effect was observed both the same day, and in response to a different stressor the next day, proving that the present-moment awareness practice can reduce stress for long time. As we all know chronic stress effects are very toxic on our health. That is why the results of this study are extremely important as they prove that being present and aware in the midst of daily hassles increases stress resilience, and serves to alleviate the harmful impact of stressors for days after. All you have to do is to notice what is happening in the present moment and notice what how it feels to disengage a little bit from your busy mind.