Mindfulness and physical health
Scientists has discovered that mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in a number of ways. Mindfulness can: help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, reduce asthma symptoms, increase immune system functioning, alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties and counteract shortening of telomere’s (DNA markers) associated with cardio-vascular disease, cancer and diabetes.
Mindfulness and neuroplasticity
Research on neuroplasticity and mindfulness has revealed that mindfulness makes lasting changes in the brain. It appears that the more we practice mindfulness, the more we improve the capacity of our brain to function in health. Three main areas have been studied and identified to show improvement with the practice of mindfulness:
–Improves attention and focus
–Inhibits automatic functions, decreasing reactivity
–Helps to make clear decisions
–Decreases stress reactions
–Decreases anxiety and depression symptoms
–Increases ability to respond with with flexibility, empathy, compassion
•Build/Strengthen structures of the brain
–Gray matter in parts of brain grows in areas responsible for learning, memory, and self-regulation
–The amagylda (our old primal reactionary part of the brain) decreases in gray matter, which is associated with stress, blood pressure and fear.
Mindfulness and mental health
Psychologists have been studying mindfulness as a helpful treatment to a number of mental health problems. They have found that mindfulness meditation is an important element in the treatment and resolution of a number of problems, including: depression, anxiety, substance abuse, anger problems, self-harm, eating disorders, psychosis, obsessive-compulsive disorder, couples’ conflicts and family/relational challenges.
Learning how to be mindful with the symptoms that can arise from various mental health concerns gives people a new way of caring for and relating to what they are struggling with. As mindfulness is practiced, people are able to experience relief in their symptoms, experience greater choice and resiliency and are able to respond and recover from difficult situations with more quickly and easefully.
Mindfulness and well-beingIncreasing your capacity for mindfulness supports they way that your attitudes that contribute to a satisfied life. Being mindful makes it easier to enjoy the simple things in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and greater ability to deal with difficult situations. By focusing on being present, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.