Mindfulness and its Benefits
THE BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS
It is very important to know that these potential benefits of mindfulness practice are not a substitute for medical or psychological treatment but can potentially supplement and enhance treatment and healthy life habits.
In the Positive Psychology E website article “The Five Common Benefits of Mindfulness” the following benefits are noted:
1.- DECREASED STRESS
Numerous studies ( Donald,Atkins, Parker, Christie & Ryan,2016) back up the idea that mindfulness reduces stress.
Through the calming and awareness skills that result from mindfulness the ability to respond to stressors in our lives in a beneficial manner is increased. Stress reactions in our lives are often intensified by anxious thinking. Mindfulness teaches how to reduce anxiety by gently focusing on the present moment. Mindfulness can improve emotional regulation and a better ability to manage stress. (Remmers, Topolinski & Koole,2016).
Rebecca Howden and Medibank in the “Little Book of Mindfulness” write about the benefits of a state of relaxation that mindfulness and other activities can reap which can include:
a) Higher brain functioning
b) Increased immune function
c) Lowered blood pressure and heart rate
d) Increased clarity in thinking and perception
e) Experience of being calm and feeling connected.
2.- ENHANCED ABILTY TO DEAL WITH ILLNESS
In the eCalm trial, a therapy program for cancer patients, mindfulness was shown to reduce stress, facilitate recovery and lower fatigue ( Zernicke, Campbell, Speca, ruff, Tamagawa & Carlson,2016)
In another study patients with chronic lower back pain were able through the practice of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) to reduce back pain (Cherkin,Sherman, Balderson, Cook, Anderson, Hawkes, Hansen,& Turner 2016.)
A review of MBSR for family caregivers found that mindfulness can decrease stress for those caring for ill loved ones (Li,Yuan,& Zhang,2016)
3- DECREASE DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS
Mindfulness is considered an effective supplemental treatment for depression (Falsafi,2016).
Mindfulness practioners learn how to not identify with their negative thoughts and emotions.
Costa and Barnhofer (2016) found that mindfulness training helped participants reduce their symptoms through more effective emotion regulation.
4-IMPROVED GENERAL HEALTH
A study showed that mindfulness practices can help practitioners take better care of their health in general by being more engaged in healthy self-care skills such as being physically active, getting more regular check-ups, avoiding toxic substances. Mindfulness practices help one be more aware of one’s self in a positive manner and teach how to develop greater calmness and clarity. As one learns to be compassionately aware of one’s body, mind and emotions the capacity to care for ourselves and others is greatly enhanced.