THE BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS MEDITATION
Thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers prove that mindfulness reduces pain, enhances mental and physical wellbeing and helps people deal with the stresses and strains of daily life. Here are a few of the main findings:
• Mindfulness can dramatically reduce pain and the emotional reaction to it.5,6 Recent trials suggest that average pain ‘unpleasantness’ levels can be reduced by 57 per cent while accomplished meditators report reductions of up to 93 per cent.
• Clinical trials show that mindfulness improves mood and quality of life in chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgiaa and lower-back pain,9 in chronic functional disorders such as IBS,1O and in challenging medical illnesses, including multiple sclerosisn and cancer.
• Mindfulness improves working memory, creativity, attention span and reaction speeds. It also enhances mental and physical stamina and resffience.
• Meditation improves emotional intelligence.
• Mindfulness is a potent antidote to anxiety, stress, depression, exhaustion and irritability. In short, regular meditators are happier and more contented, while being far less likely to suffer from psychological distress.
• Mindfulness is at least as good as drugs or counselling for the treatment of clinical-level depression. One structured programme known as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCI’) is now one of the preferred treatments recommended by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
• Mindfulness reduces addictive and self-destructive behaviour. These include the abuse of illegal and prescription drugs and excessive alcohol intake.12
• Meditation enhances brain function. It increases grey matter in areas associated with self-awareness, empathy, self-control and attention.13 It soothes the parts of the brain that produce stress hormonesU and builds those areas that lift mood and promote learning.m It even reduces some of the thinning of certain areas of the brain that naturally occurs with ageing.a
• Meditation improves the immune system. Regular meditators are admitted to hospital far less often for cancer, heart disease and numerous infectious diseases.
• Mindfulness may reduce ageing at the cellular level by promoting chromosomal health and resilience.
• Meditation and mindfulness improve control of blood sugar in type II diabetes.
• Meditation improves heart and circulatory health by reducing blood pressure and lowering the risk of hypertension. Mindfulness reduces the risks of developing and dying from cardiovascular disease and lowers its severity should it arise