The Benefits of Mindfulness meditation
Earlier in the week I wrote about the myths surrounding Mindfulness. It’s also worth bearing in mind the countless proven benefits of Mindfulness (more specifically Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy which lies at the heart of our book). In essence Mindfulness is about observation without criticism; being compassionate with yourself. When unhappiness or stress hover overhead, rather than taking it all personally, you learn to treat them as if they were black clouds in the sky, and to observe them with friendly curiosity as they drift past. In essence, mindfulness allows you to catch negative thought patterns before they tip you into a downward spiral. It begins the process of putting you back in control of your life again.
Over time, mindfulness brings about long-term changes in mood and levels of happiness and wellbeing. Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness not only prevents depression, but that it also positively affects the brain patterns underlying day-to-day anxiety, stress, depression and irritability so that when they arise, they dissolve away again more easily. Other studies have shown that regular meditators see their doctors less often and spend fewer days in hospital. Memory improves, creativity increases, and reaction times become faster.
The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
Numerous psychological studies have shown that regular meditators are happier and more contented than average. These are not just important results in themselves but have huge medical significance, as such positive emotions are linked to a longer and healthier life. Here are some of the main benefits:
- Anxiety, depression and irritability all decrease with regular sessions of meditation;
- Memory also improves, reaction times become faster and mental and physical stamina increases;
- Regular meditators enjoy better and more fulfilling relationships;
- Studies worldwide have found that meditation reduces the key indicators of chronic stress including hypertension;
- Meditation has also been found to be effective in reducing the impact of serious conditions, such as chronic pain and cancer, and can even help to relieve drug and alcohol dependence;
- Studies have now shown that meditation bolsters the immune system and thus helps to fight off colds, flu and other diseases.
These to me suggest that Meditation is pretty good for you! What do you think?
‘Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World’ by Professor Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman is available now.