Mindfulness, meditation, and MBSR (mindfulness meditation)are all practices that aim to quiet the mind, bring a sense of peace and stillness, and enhance awareness of self and emotions
They are similar but also different : - Mindfulness is bringing attention to the present moment and aims to increase appreciation of our emotions, senses, and environment
- Meditation is bringing awareness inward (rather than out), and is the practice of finding stillness, peace and contentment within.
- Mindfulness meditation (MBSR) is a type of meditation and was developed in the late 1970s by the John Kabat-zinn. It's often run as an 8 week course, teaching people to cultivate awareness of their body, mind, and thoughts in the present moment, without passing judgment - improving the mind body connection Its been extensively used in clinical trials and is run in many health clinics around the world
What is the science behind mindfulness and meditation ?
Mindfulness and meditation alter the brain by :
- Changing brain wave patterns to a relaxed state - Stimulating growth of new brain cells/ connections in areas involved in attention, memory, and executive function - Increasing blood flow to the parts of the brain controlling self control, concentration, creativity, and decision making - Reducing activity in the amygdala (the 'alarm centre'), reducing the stress response - Increasing the size of the frontal lobes and hippocampus (the parts of the brain controlling attention, emotional stability, and memory) -Slowing down age related brain loss
Many of these changes occur within a little as 8 weeks of daily mindfulness meditation!
They affect the body by :
- Shifting the nervous system from sympathetic to parasympathetic (helping stress recovery) -Reducing cortisol and adrenaline levels -Reducing blood pressure and heart rate -Improving immune function and reducing inflammation -Improving sleep, mental health, energy -Turning inflammatory genes off - Increasing longevity by altering telomerase activity (the enzyme that stops DNA ageing) - Maybe helping cancer outcomes
MBSR has even been shown to reduce the need for doctors visits and tests by up to 50%!
If you are new to this, often doing an introductory course either online or in person is a great way to learn the basics
Sounds true also has an excellent free MBSR 40 day course I highly recommend https://www.soundstrue.com/products/mindfulness-daily
Making it a part of your daily routine can have incredible benefits -why not try it today!