Mindfulness is a practice of paying attention to your feelings, thoughts, and environment in the present moment with an accepting attitude. It has been found to have a range of potential benefits, such as reducing stress, depression, improving memory, and strengthening relationships. Mindfulness can help treat depression by improving the ability of professionals to regulate their emotions. It provides the tools needed to move away from intense negative emotions and accept them instead of fighting them.
Studies suggest that focusing on the present can have a positive impact on health and well-being. For example, Goodman and Schorling (201) found that mindfulness-based stress reduction reduced work-related exhaustion and improved mental well-being among health care providers. Additionally, mindfulness meditation has been shown to increase T-cell levels or T-cell activity in patients with HIV or breast cancer. Contrary to its name, mindfulness is actually a way of emptying the mind rather than filling it.
There is evidence that mindfulness reduces stress, as well as preventing relapse of depression in pregnant women. It has also been found to improve patients' ability to function independently and produce less back pain than usual treatment for chronic low back pain (Cherkin, Sherman, Balderson, Cook, Anderson, Hawkes, Hansen, & Turner, 201). Furthermore, mindfulness can promote a process of positive change in patients and their partners with lung cancer, as well as relieving the caregiver burden on couples (van den Hurk, Schellekens, Molema, Speckens, & van der Drift, 201). Mindfulness can also help children consider perspectives other than their own and find constructive reactions to bullying (Sandra Mccloy 200).
An eight-week mindfulness program created by the Loucks team at Brown was found to be effective in reducing high blood pressure. Mindfulness meditation is the practice of focusing attention on breathing, thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they arise. Research indicates that self-reported mindfulness by therapists does not necessarily improve client outcomes. However, studies have found that those who practice mindfulness have lower rates of problematic alcohol consumption (Vinci, Spears, Peltier, & Copeland, 201).
The practice has many surprising benefits and more are being discovered every day.