Research shows that mindfulness training can bring these 9 benefits of mindfulness:
Greater insight – when adopting a mindful perspective we observe our experience but dint get caught up in it. Mindfulness helps us gain greater clarity on wha is happening in our minds and lives.
Improved problem solving – slowing down and investigating our thoughts, feelings and experiences can help create space and time to come up with wise responses to difficulties in our lives. We create space between the urge to react and our actual actions so we can can make more considered and creative decisions about how to behave.
Better Attention – we can concentrate more fully, maintain our focus and reach goals when we are less distracted by other thoughts that are not helpful (worrying about the future, stressing about the past)
Less Selfishness – when we are less wrapped up in our own thoughts and feelings we have a greater ability to take others into account becoming more considerate, empathic, compassionate, sensitive understanding and flexible in all our relationships.
Less Neurosis – Mindfulness can help us to experience the world in a more open way that’s not weighed down by unhelpful psychological patterns, cultivating the practise of gratitude.
More Acceptance – we are able to see that events, thoughts and feelings always change, we develop a more flexible attitude to life so when things don’t go o plan we are able to accept and let go more easily.
Greater enjoyment of life – we become more aware of the little things in life that we may not have noticed before, such as the sound of birds in the morning, the sunlight on our faces, and the smile on someone we love.
Less beating ourselves up – mindfulness reduces our identification with negative thinking patterns. We are able to see that we are not our thoughts, we can firstly identify when we are not being kind and change our thinking pattern accordingly.
Better mind-body connection – when we are busy living in our heads we ignore what is happening in our bodies. Practising mindfulness can make us more aware of what is happening in both our body and mind so we can take into account the full range of thoughts and feelings and how they affect one another.
Research on Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a type of contemplative science with a recent explosion in research. Research largely suggests that mindfulness and meditation can significantly reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and nervous disorders. An ICM survey of GPs in the UK found the following findings:
- 72% of GP’s think learning mindfulness meditation skills would be helpful for their patients with mental health problems
- 66% of GPs say they would support a public information campaign to promote the health benefits of mindfulness
- 64% of GPs think it would be helpful to receive training in mindfulness skills themselves.
The graph below from the Pennsylvania centre for mindfulness shows the effects before and after an 8-week mindfulness course. Showing a marked reduction in stress factors and an increase in vigour.
Each yoga session I teach ends with a guided mindfulness body scan, whereby I go through each body part in turn starting with the toes; noticing sensations, temperature, tingles & tightness, and then relaxing each part deeper into the mat as we move through the body. Eventually ending with relaxing the jaw and smoothing that little space between the eyebrows. This is also a great technique to use before bed for deeper relaxation.