Although it’s been helping people for centuries, mindfulness—focusing on the present moment in a non-judgmental way—has finally found its place as a source of healthy living in the 21st Century. The benefits of mindfulness have been touted in various places, including a recent Time Magazine special report and discussions in many other print and video news sources.
The reason for all this attention is because mindfulness is more than a fad or what some would call “wishful thinking.” It’s scientific fact.
The Science Of Mindfulness
Jon Kabat-Zinn, the father of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, or MBSR, began studying mindfulness back in 1979. According to a recent Time Magazine article by Kate Pickert, The Mindful Revolution, Zinn had a revelation while on a meditation retreat.
Pickert writes that as a Ph.D. studying muscle development and anatomy Kabat-Zinn wondered, “What if he could use Buddhism-based meditation to help patients cope with conditions like chronic pain?”
And the neuro-scientific study of mindfulness began in earnest.
“In the years since,” says Pickert, “scientists have been able to prove that meditation and rigorous mindfulness training can lower cortisol levels and blood pressure, increase immune response and possibly even affect gene expression. Scientific study is also showing that meditation can have an impact on the structure of the brain itself.”
In 2012, there were 477 papers on mindfulness published in respected scientific journals, and the National Institute of Health “NIH has funded some 50 clinical trials in the past five years examining the effects of mindfulness on health,” states Pickert.
The Practical Applications
A quick internet search will reveal the many ways that mindfulness keeps us healthier by keeping us from over-stressing and even helping us to lose weight.
Pickert’s Time article describes many examples of how mindfulness reduces stress and improves focus in any type of work, and time for mindfulness and meditation is now being built into many corporate work environments.
Writing on BeliefNet.com, mindfulness-based psychologist Dr. Arnie Kozak discussed the benefits of mindfulness for those who work in healthcare, particularly the nursing profession where stress is constant due to the challenges, demands, and emotional issues of the work.
Regardless of who you are or what you do, practicing mindfulness can help you stay healthier and function more effectively in in our fast-moving, multi-tasking, digitally-focused world.
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Colleen Slaughter, Your Big, BOLDER Life Mentor, is a speaker, coach, author and founder of Authentic Leadership International. She is passionate about providing ambitious women leaders with the courage, confidence and clarity they need to stop selling themselves short, to claim what they really want in business and in life and to go for it!
Clients say Colleen has helped them find their voice, listen to it, and act on it, and that, by doing so, they have gained a sense of freedom, joy and fulfillment beyond measure.
Colleen’s perspectives have been featured in ABC, NBC, CBS, Enterprising Women and the Woman’s Advantage® Shared Wisdom Calendar for 2012, 2015 and 2016.
If she could be granted a superpower, it would be to vanish people’s feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness and to replace them with the deep understanding of how much they, and what they envision for themselves are important.