Mindfulness is an ancient eastern practice that is now enjoying renewed popularity in the west. In it’s modern format it involves a series of practices that helps train your attention and build cognitive strategies to help you unhook from unproductive thought patterns and behaviours.
It involves learning to pay attention to the present moment rather than worrying about the future or dwelling in the past. It also involves developing an attitude of kindness toward yourself, as opposed to criticism or judgment.
Mindfulness is a way of being fully present and awake in every moment; a way of relating to all situations in our life and helping us to be more prepared for difficult times. Given the ever-increasing complexity, pressure and pace of modern life these ancient practices are needed now more than ever.
People who take a course in MBSR say that they feel more engaged, more energised and less anxious. They sleep better and have fewer physical symptoms of stress.
With almost three decades of published research the benefits proven include:
- A 70% reduction in anxiety and stress
- Increase resilience and peace of mind
- An ongoing reduction in anxiety three years after taking an MBSR course
- An increase in disease-fighting antibodies, suggesting improvements to the immune system
- Less visits to the GP
- Enhance cognitive performance e.g. concentration, memory and processing speed, decision making and effectiveness
- Improved self-esteem
- Improve relationships and overall wellbeing
- An ability to cope more effectively with both short and long-term stressful situations
- A reduction in negative feelings like anger, tension and depression
- Improvements in physical conditions as varied as psoriasis, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The evidence in support of Mindfulness and MBSR in particular is so strong that almost three-quarters of GPs think it would be beneficial for all patients to learn mindfulness meditation skills.