What is mindfulness and how will I benefit from it?
It is becoming increasingly obvious that happiness is not to be found in the external world but within our body-mind perceiving this everlasting unfolding present moment. However, we as a society are still reaching out in hope to put an end to our suffering. We are doing so by putting huge amounts of time and effort to fix, improve and accumulate in the realm of our external material world. So why not turning inward and see what there to be found.
Mindfulness is a way of living and seeing the world as it is unfolding right now, moment after moment. When we put our attention to the present moment, we stop worrying about the future and regretting the past. Regardless of the present moment is pleasant or unpleasant, we observe it as it is, and learn to creatively respond to life events rather than reacting in unhelpful habitual ways.
This mindful way of being is to be cultivated and practiced through what we call formal mindfulness practices, meditation techniques which involves awareness of breathing and body sensation and gentle yoga.
Since the apparition of neurosciences, the mental and physical health benefits of mindfulness are now widely accepted and scientifically proven. However mindfulness is far from being a new thing, indeed it has been around for 2500 years or more. It is only since the scientific Jon Kabat Zinn decided to share the benefits of his personal Buddhist meditation with the scientific and health western world in the 1970s. A few years later the 8-week MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) course was born and is now widely spread as a secular practice and taught throughout the world to the general public but also to most public and private sector (Education, Health, private company and larger corporate…
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Research suggests that in-person Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs may help manage stress. In fact, a systematic review of 17 MBSR studies found the program to be effective in reducing psychological and physiological symptoms of stress.
A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials for insomnia found that eight weeks of in-person meditation training significantly improved total waking time and sleep quality in patients with insomnia.
Happier, healthier relationships
A study evaluating the benefits of an in-person mindfulness-based relationship enhancement program suggests that mindfulness enhances couples’ levels of relationship satisfaction, autonomy, closeness and acceptance of each other, while reducing relationship distress.3 In fact, three months after participating in the study, couples were still experiencing these improvements.
Anxiety currently affects about one in fourteen people worldwide. That’s 7.3% of the total world population.4 A systematic review of in-person meditation training found that 69% of the studies analyzed showed meditation practice alleviated symptoms of anxiety.
Findings suggest that meditating for just four days is enough to improve novice meditators’ working memory, executive functions and their ability to process visual information.