Mindfulness meditation has been found to improve a range of cognitive and health outcomes, including depression, anxiety, and stress. It is correlated with positive mood and acceptance, each of which has been linked with pain modulation.
Meditation Benefits and Facts:
The level of stress in modern life has many people in a constant state of "fight-or-flight". This is not a state that we can sustain indefinitely as the purpose of this type of stress is to get us up and moving away from real physical danger. When stressful conditions arise, our bodies react as if we were in danger of real bodily harm. Our brain wiring doesn't make a distinction between the two. The neurological response is the same in either case.
Meditation helps the stress response by reducing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system (speeding up) and increasing the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system (slowing down). Studies show that it is possible to actually change our brains with regular meditation so that we can live in a more balanced and calm state of being.
Experiment with meditation for a short period of time daily where you know you will not be interrupted. Try this for just 5 minutes or more daily and see how you feel. It is free to all and will help rest the brain and bring a sense of balance and calm. I know it has for me!
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, "Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally."
The benefit of Mindfulness is that it allows us to focus our attention on what we are doing at any moment in time. It takes us off the "automatic pilot" mode or "mindlessness" and brings us to a state of awareness where we can choose how we respond rather than reacting to various situations.
Learning to tune into that space can assist us in making wise and centered decisions with equanimity. It can also minimize the suffering we cause ourselves simply with our own thoughts. How one chooses to work with pain can make a difference in how one perceives pain.
Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl wrote, "Between stimulus and response there's a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom."
Benefits of Mindfulness include:
Slow down and recognize our long-held habitual reactions
Rest for the mind
Improved focus at work
Ability to be fully in the present moment
Listen deeply to others and respond from a place of deeper understanding
Learn to "meditate" by simply breathing and learning to follow your breath
What is Mindfulness?
1. Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness by Jon-Kabat-Zinn
2. The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from
Destructive Thoughts and Emotions by Christopher K. Germer
3. Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating and Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food by Susan Albers, PsyD
4. 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food by Susan Albers, PsyD
5. The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield
6. Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn
7. Living in the Light of Death by Larry Rosenberg
8. Loving Kindness by Sharon Salzberg
9. The Dharma of Modern Mindfulness by Beth Ann Mulligan
10. Transformation and Healing by Thich Nhat Hanh
11. Taking the Leap by Pema Chodron