So what actually is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, body sensations and environment seen through a non-judgmental, kind and nurturing lens.

When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re experiencing in the present moment rather than ruminating on the past or time travelling into the future.

Mindfulness is not an unattainable ideal reserved for the rich and famous, it’s a quality we all naturally possess in varying degrees. Often we just need to learn how to access it; luckily, this is a teachable skill that anyone can learn, young and old alike!

Mindfulness is a form of attention training which helps us tap into our inner calmness and focus and is usually taught in group settings over 8-weekly sessions. These 8-week courses include training in and practicing a series of mindfulness techniques. Some are formal meditation practices like the body scan, mindfulness of breath, mindful eating and mindful movement and some are informal practices such as learning to apply mindfulness to everyday activities like showering or brushing your teeth.

With ongoing and intentional practice, the following shifts begin to happen along with the increased well-being this brings. We go from:

 

 

Many hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have shown that practising mindfulness, even for just a few weeks can bring about a variety of physical, psychological and social benefits (see the list in the drop-down menu below for some key research papers).

Benefits of Mindfulness

These benefits are backed by rigorous scientific research, see links below for further reading and links to relevant research.

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Reduces stress levels and increases our ability to respond to stressors instead of habitually reacting

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Relieves the symptoms of a range of anxiety disorders including social anxiety

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Helps reduce the likelihood of the re-occurrence of depression

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Relieves the symptoms of a range of anxiety disorders including social anxiety

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Boosts our immune system’s ability to fight off illness

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Helps us become aware of, and manage our emotions more effectively

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Lowers our heart rate and blood pressure which is thought to reduce the risk of heart attacks

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Helps us become aware of and manage our emotions more effectively

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Increases our sense of wellbeing

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Helps us become aware of our negative habits and helps us develop more positive ones

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Re-wires our brains (neuroplasticity) in areas linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation and empathy

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Improves our relationships and reduces feelings of loneliness

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Enhances our creativity and problem solving skills

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Re-wires our brains (neuroplasticity) in areas linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation and empathy

Key Research Papers
  • The Effect of Mindfulness-Based Therapy on Anxiety and Depression: A Meta-Analytic Review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2848393/
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: a review and meta-analysis https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19432513/
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits. A meta-analysis https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15256293/
  • Meditation, mindfulness and executive control: the importance of emotional acceptance and brain-based performance monitoring https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22507824/
  • Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Emotion Regulation in Social Anxiety Disorder https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4203918/
  • Now Does Mindfulness Meditation Work? Proposing Mechanisms of Action From a Conceptual and Neural Perspective https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1745691611419671
  • Neural correlates of attentional expertise in long-term meditation practitioners https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.0606552104
  • Stepping out of history: Mindfulness improves insight problem solving https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22483682/
  • Meditate to create: The Impact of  Focused attention and Open-monitoring meditation on Convergent and Divergent Thinking https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3328799/
  • Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Kabat-Zinn J, Massion AO, Kristeller J, Peterson LG, Fletcher KE, Pbert L, Lenderking WR, Santorelli SF. Am J Psychiatry. 1992 Jul;149(7):936-43. doi: 10.1176/ajp.149.7.936. PMID: 1609875.
  • Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Hölzel BK, Carmody J, Vangel M, Congleton C, Yerramsetti SM, Gard T, Lazar SW. Psychiatry Res. 2011 Jan 30;191(1):36-43. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.08.006. Epub 2010 Nov 10. PMID: 21071182; PMCID: PMC3004979.
  • The efficacy of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as a public mental health intervention for adults with mild to moderate depressive symptomatology: a randomized controlled trial. Pots WT, Meulenbeek PA, Veehof MM, Klungers J, Bohlmeijer ET.PLoS One. 2014 Oct 15;9(10):e109789. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109789. PMID: 25333885; PMCID: PMC4198116.
  • Intensive meditation training improves perceptual discrimination and sustained attention. MacLean KA, Ferrer E, Aichele SR, Bridwell DA, Zanesco AP, Jacobs TL, King BG, Rosenberg EL, Sahdra BK, Shaver PR, Wallace BA, Mangun GR, Saron CD.Psychol Sci. 2010 Jun;21(6):829-39. doi: 10.1177/0956797610371339. Epub 2010 May 11. PMID: 20483826; PMCID: PMC3132583.

Get in touch today to start the journey to a more mindful you

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