Why Practice Mindfulness
and Why Now?
These are certainly strange and unsettling times. In the last three years alone, the way we live has changed dramatically. Many of us have suffered great losses, whether that be the loss of loved ones, the loss of livelihoods or security or just the familiarity of life as we knew it.
As a result, many of us are thought to be living with psychological distress and extreme levels of fear and anxiety.
Whilst fear is a normal response to the uncertainty we are experiencing, with many questions at the forefront of the mind like – Will I be able to keep up with the rising cost of living? Will my family stay healthy? How can I stop overeating, drinking or taking drugs? Why can’t I sleep? How can I stop feeling anxious about the future?
We now know that the damage caused by chronic (long-term) fear and stress includes a whole host of physical problems including an increased risk of a heart attack, cancer, stroke, weight gain, memory loss, chronic fatigue syndrome as well as digestive and sleep problems, to name just a few.
Long-term stress is also known to induce or exacerbate mental health conditions including depression and anxiety-related disorders. In response, health care professionals are increasingly recommending mindfulness practice to help combat stress, depression, and anxiety.
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.
Many hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have shown that practicing mindfulness, even for just a few weeks can bring about a variety of physical, psychological and social benefits including:
- relieves our stress levels, anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- increases our ability to cope with difficult situations as we learn to respond rather than react to our stressors
- boosts our immune system’s ability to fight off illness
- helps us become aware of and manage our emotions more effectively
- lowers our heart rates and blood pressure
- re-wires our brains in areas linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation and empathy
- increases our sense of wellbeing
- helps us become aware of our negative habits and helps us develop more positive ones
- enhances our creativity
- reduces feelings of loneliness
- boosts our attention span and ability to focus
- improves our relationships
Issues that I Help People with
plus some Key Research which informs my practice
Often people will seek out mindfulness interventions when they are ready to make the changes needed to make their lives more in keeping with their image of themselves and their hopes and dreams for their future.
Everyday stress management, anxiety, low mood and insomnia
- 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/
Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness meditation for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Effects on Anxiety and Stress Reactivity https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3772979/
Emotion regulation - helping you approach difficult, often repressed emotions in a gentle non-invasive way
- 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/
Increased focus and improved attention span
- 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
Increased joy and creativity in your life
- 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/
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