Health Benefits of Mindfulness

A few minutes of mindful meditation a day can help with your general health and well-being. There is a quickly growing body of evidence that shows several measureable benefits of meditation including, higher brain functioning, increased immune function, lowered blood pressure and lowered heart rate. Regular meditation also demonstrates many psychological changes too, including, increased awareness, increased attention and focus, increased clarity in thoughts and perception, lower anxiety levels, an internal experience of calmness, balance and feeling connected.

Enhanced ability to deal with illness

As with many chronic illnesses, pain management is a big factor that affects the sufferers well-being. Millions of people are living with these types of illnesses all the time along all the associated pain. While traditional pain relief usually involves medication it usually only treats the physical pain and does not try to help with the emotional pain. Suffering with emotional pain will almost definitely have an effect on your well-being.

Most people would rather try to forget about their pain but this creates a state of resistance which itself is stressful.  Mindfulness meditation can help create a state of relative calm, balance and a content state even while in physical pain.

Cancer patients and others suffering with other chronic and sometimes terminal conditions are becoming a big focus of studies and in particular, in how mindfulness can help with living with the condition. While mindfulness cannot take away the symptoms of the condition itself it can help make living with them more manageable. It is starting to show in studies too that caregivers benefit from mindfulness when it comes to the stress and burdens of looking after a loved one.

Better Recovery

Not only can Mindfulness can help you deal and live with the symptoms of a serious illness but it can also help with the recovery too. As mindfulness can improve your general health and reduce stress it can assist in the recovery of many conditions and illnesses as you are just generally healthier and less stressed.

Some studies into breast cancer survivors have shown that practicing mindfulness, meditation and yoga has enhanced posttraumatic growth (the ability to appreciate life, find meaning and purpose, and see new possibilities from their experience) along with reduced anxiety and stress.

Slower Ageing

Several studies are now showing that practicing mindfulness meditations can have an effect of potentially adding years to the life span of the body and improving brain function further into old age. Mindfulness helps with reducing stress and studies are showing that people that suffer with environmental stress and perceived stress may induce premature ageing.

A growing but currently small body of research is showing that the brains degeneration over time may be reduced as meditation helps alter our brain structure and function. The key seems to be continued meditation over time and studies are now trying to work out exactly how much meditation is required. If you consider just a couple of generations ago that the benefits of physical fitness on health, well-being and life span was not generally well known and now many people ensure they play sport and attend gyms on a regular basis for the long term benefits. It seems we are on the edge of realising that mental fitness and regular brain workouts are just as important too.

Reduced Pain

PAIN IS INEVITABLE.
SUFFERING IS OPTIONAL.
BUDDHA

Millions of people live with chronic pain from diseases and injuries. It can not only be a psychical strain but it’s an emotional strain too. While traditional medication can alleviate the physical pain it can also increase the emotional pain along with other potential side effects too.

More studies are starting to show that by creating new structures and functional changes in the brain, Mindfulness can help alleviate pain. Many health providers across the world are now seriously considering and already prescribing mindfulness as an alternative or supplement to traditional drug related treatments for chronic pain.

The benefits are most notable in people that have practiced mindfulness meditations for over eight weeks generally. Using awareness, kindness, curiosity and acceptance you can bring attention to the pain instead of doing what comes naturally, which is to avoid the pain. Once you are focused on the pain itself you can learn how to differentiate between the physical pain and the psychological pain. Once identified you use mindfulness to let go of the psychological pain leaving only the physical pain.

John Burley

John Burley lives in Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom and is the author of Mindfulness for the Mindless due for publication on 2nd April 2018. He is also the director of a software development company producing software solutions to mainly the gaming industry. He blogs about mindfulness at www.amindfulway.blog which has a growing following both on the blog itself, the accompanying Android app and on social media too.

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