Mindfulness as a modern, natural resource for mental health and balance
Although originally designed to reduce physical pain and suffering, Mindfulness has proven to be an effective stress-reduction technique as well. In fact, the core mindfulness meditation techniques have been shown in many clinical trials to be at least as effective as drugs or counselling for
relieving anxiety, stress and depression.g When it comes to pain, clinical trials show that mindfulness can be as effective as the main prescription painkillers, and some studies have shown it to be as powerful as morphine. Imagi% studies show that it soothes the brain patterns underlying pain and, over time, these changes take root and alter the structure of the brain itself so that you no longer feel pain with the same intensity. And when it still does, the pain no longer dominates your life so much.
Many people report that their pain declines to such a degree that they barely notice it at all.
Many hospital pain clinics now prescribe mindfulness meditation to help patients cope with the suffering arising from a wide range of diseases such as cancer (and the side effects of chemothe-rapy), heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. It is also used for back problems, migraine, fibromyalgia, coeliac disease, and a range of auto-immune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis, as well as being effective for such long-term conditions as chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome. It’s also useful for coping with labour pain. In addition to all these uses, clinical trials also show that mindfulness significantly reduces the anxiety, stress, depression, irritability and insomnia that can arise from chronic pain and illness. Researchers are continually finding new conditions that can be eased with mindfulness.