Mindfulness and mindfulness meditation have a number of health benefits, according to AXA PPP psychological health expert, Eugene Farrell.
“Developing countries have high, and increasing, issues with heart health, mental health problems, relationship breakdown and substance abuse because we live in a culture of busy-ness and constant pressure. We need to slow down,” advises Eugene. "Complementary medicine and therapies often lack formal clinical research,” he says. “Not so with meditation and mindfulness. There have been literally 100s of studies conducted to investigate and examine its benefits, which means that there is now evidence to support the fact that it can help with a variety of health problems. That said, much work is still to be done to explain whether this is cause, effect or a correlation."
Meditation and mindfulness are ancient wisdoms which have been around for thousands of years. But they are now being used more and more in different settings from school children, the military through to top executives.
“We can all find ourselves jumping to negative thoughts. This often happens automatically and can take a toll on our mental wellbeing,” says Eugene. “Mindfulness gives us the tools to become aware of this so that we can ‘rewire’ that thinking.”
2) Stress, depression and anxiety
The benefits of mindfulness practice on the physical body are often discussed.
However, mindfulness practice has been blended with Cognitive Therapy for many years which has in turn been incorporated into specific programs to address Mental Health and Wellbeing needs such as Stress, Anxiety and Depression.
The Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) program is an excellent example of this.
3) Heart health
The American Heart foundation has reported that by practicing meditation regularly you are 48% less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die compared to someone who attended a health education class instead.
Research in the States has shown that people who engage with a nine-week programme, which includes mindfulness are less likely to struggle with IBS.
5) Managing pain
Jon Kabot Zinn has done ground breaking work in University of Massachusetts Medical Center on the area of pain reduction.
A review of 10 studies in 2011 showed how mindfulness can be used in treating chronic pain, and depression.
Research in 2007 out of Switzerland’s University of Basel Hospital su
In 2007, researchers from Switzerland’s University of Basel Hospital suggested a link between mindfulness meditations and reducing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
7) Treating addiction
Mindfulness meditation is now increasingly being used as a tool for working with stress and identifying and noticing triggers that could lead to engagement in addictive behaviours, such as substance abuse.
A study by at the University of Utah in 2017 suggested that mindfulness is useful in the recovery of chronic pain patients who are at risk of becoming addicted to opiates.
8) Improving mental function
Jon Kabot Zinn at the University of Massachussetts Medical School was instrumental in developing the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) which has now been delivered in multiple countries across the globe.
The School has shown increases in the amount of grey matter in subject’s brains that engage in the program. This type of brain tissue is associated with cognitive functions such as memory, learning and the regulation of emotions.
9) Boosting the immune system
A 2003 study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that people who meditated regularly are able to produce more antibodies when exposed to a flu vaccine compared to a control group who did not engage in practice.
10) Controlling anger
“Mindfulness can help us to control our learned response, like anger,” says Eugene, “By learning how to manage these emotions, it helps us to ‘get off the train’ and can improve our relationships.”
10 Great reasons why you might engage in a Mindfulness Meditation Practice. If you are interested in a 2 day intensive mindfulness weekend, based on the Mindfulness Based Cognitive Program (MBCT) take a look here.
The MBCT Program blends the ancient wisdom of Mindfulnes, with the modern evidence base of CBT. Come along for the weekend and learn all about it.