Practicing Mindfulness can have many positive effects on our wellbeing and help us find peace and contentment.
Extensive research in MBCT and MBSR has shown that Mindfulness has a significant positive effect and can benefit us in the following ways by:-
- Helping us to develop a greater self awareness – and in doing this can help us to become more familiar with the workings of our minds and lets us get to know ourselves better and have a more objective view of our reality.
- Helping us to manage stress and lower stress levels – research published recently in the journal of Health Psychology shows that mindfulness is not only associated with feeling less stress it’s also linked with decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Improved sleep, a recent study at Utah University showed mindfulness to correlate with improved sleep quality, participants reported greater emotional stability and lower levels of pre-sleep arousal improving sleep quality and future ability to manage stress.
- Teaching us how to cope better with pain and illness – a 2011 study in the journal Annals of Rheumatic Disease shows that even though mindfulness may not lessen pain for people with rheumatoid arthritis it could help lower their stress and fatigue.
- Helping us to reduce our symptoms of depression, at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre Professor Mark Williams and his team are world leaders in the field of research into the prevention of depression through mindfulness. Williams, together with colleagues John Teasdale (Cambridge) and Zindel Segal (Toronto) developed an eight week program of mindfulness training to prevent serious recurrent depression. It is called Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). They showed that MBCT could significantly reduce the rate of recurrence in serious recurrent depression. The UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended MBCT as a cost-effective treatment for preventing relapse in depression1.
- Lowering depression in teenagers, according to a study from the university of Leuven teenagers taught how to practice mindfulness through school programmes could help them experience less stress, anxiety and depression.
- Student performance – new research in the journal Mindfulness suggests also that practicing even brief meditation before classes can improve student performance.
- Teaching us to respond to situations that arise in life rather than reacting to them, sometimes we react automatically and habitually to circumstances that arise in our lives when we develop a mindful approach we can see more clearly what our options are and choose how to respond.
- Physical and emotional regulation – a study in Perspectives on Psychological Science described how the benefits can be boiled down to four elements: body awareness, self-awareness, regulation of emotion and regulation of attention.
- Supporting your weight loss programme, mindfulness has been considered ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ strategy by seven out of ten psychologists who participated in a survey for the American Psychological Association.
- Mindfulness and compassion, in a study in the journal Psychological Science researchers found that meditation is linked to more virtuous and ‘do-good’ behaviour.