Research

Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness, or awareness of the present moment, means ensuring that you are aware of the here and now. It is a practice that is a significant part of the Buddhist and Indian Yoga traditions and has become more and more popular in the West over the last decade. Mindfulness can be achieved through practicing meditation, and indeed, many people practice mindfulness during meditation sessions or other positive thinking exercises. According to a number of recent studies, mindfulness can combat everyday stress by helping to clear the mind and body (see the work conducted at Bangor University, Oxford Mindfulness Centre and articles published by the American Psychological Association).

Reap the Many Benefits of Mindfulness

In the latest issue of the journal 'Perspectives on Psychological Science', Britta Hölzel of Justus Liebig University and Harvard Medical School describes the many positive aspects of mindfulness, which she discovered through extensive research. Some of these benefits include attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation, and increased sense of self. Mindfulness can be very useful for achieving attention regulation, since focusing on the present moment helps with removing distractions. Furthermore, previous studies have concluded that mindfulness can be helpful for those suffering from attention disorders. Meditation sessions can help to alleviate some of the effects of these types of disorders. Body awareness also results from general awareness, for when you focus on your surroundings, you become keenly aware of the fact that your body is right there with you.

Control Your Emotions and Gain Valuable Insight

Meditation also affects one’s spirit, or mental state, as well. Emotions, especially, are guided by one’s state of mind, and mindfulness can help to focus these emotions. Whether anger, resentment, or love, emotions can be very powerful and can fuel one’s desires. In order not to fall to dark impulses, our emotions can be brought under control by practicing mindfulness. Furthermore, a true sense of self can be achieved after long periods of mindful thought. Through mindfulness, one can feel centered in the world, gaining insight into one’s true place in the galaxy and also making better sense of one's life's purpose. Mindfulness provides us with insight and guides us on a path toward spirituality. Through mindful meditation, we can successfully cope with the stresses of everyday life.

Dr. Holzel’s article hints at the ways in which mindfulness can help people to combat stress and put things into context in everyday life. As mindfulness becomes more popular, more extensive studies are being conducted on the topic.  We now know that there are enormous benefits for couples and their relationships, helping individuals manage pain and chronic conditions and helping parents to be more effective in their roles. Mindfulness is also finding its way into the work place and its effectiveness is being increasingly documented in neuroscience research, as neuroplasticity (the brain's ability to adapt and change) is being ever more unveiled. 

This is certainly a subject worthy of greater exploration.  For those of you who are interested in exploring this further, here is a fascinating video well worth watching.  Please click here...