The origins of Mindfulness can be found in ancient meditation practices. Mindfulness is non-religious and its philosophies are central to many traditional meditative practices. In the late 1970's meditation was starting to gain recognition within the medical community. Jon Kabat-Zin (a key figure in the development of Mindfulness) brought together Ancient Buddhist and Yogic teaching to create a new and unique stress reduction program known as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Since the creation of the MBRS Program, it has been successfully implemented in hospitals and clinics around the world. Countless people benefited from this program which helped them respond more effectively to depression, anxiety, chronic pain, psoriasis and insomnia.
Dr. Michael Baime (founder of Penn Program for Mindfulness, 1992) looked extensively at the effects of Mindfulness and other similar practices. Comparative brain scans during meditation (and without medication) were very revealing; the results showed that meditation goes beyond just having an effect on the mind, it actually changes the way in which the brain functions. Generally the brain deteriorates as we grow older; Studies by Sarah Lazar (Harvard Neuroscientist) found something remarkable; the outer surface of the brain of people who meditate regularly was similar to non-meditators who were 20 years younger. Interestingly, recent research suggests that regular meditation (for as little as 8 weeks) can alter brain structures.
In one study of healthy people, one group were taught how to mindfully focus their attention on their breathing and the other group did no mindful breathing exercises. After 3 months, the group that practiced the controlled breathing approach indicated the following results:
The 2nd group who did not additional breathing exercises showed no changes!
In extensive studies (ie over 1000) showed the following benefits of mindful breathing:
All data from '10 Mindful Minutes' by Goldie Hawn
Stress is part of everyday living and can be experienced at a physical and / or psychological level.
We all feel stressed to some degree however constant and increasing challenges of a fast paced world (i.e. domestic and work) means that there is an ever-increasing demand on our time and energy; this
can impact on our relationships, friendships and work. Unexpected changes to our daily routine
(e.g. births, deaths, illnesses, job uncertainly etc) can add to these demands and lead to overload in our ability to manage stress effectively.
Our stress response is protective, natural, automatic and fast. In stressful situations we usually respond in one of the following ways: fight the challenge, flight (or flee) from the threat or freeze (in the hope that the danger might simply pass by and not 'see' us.
In modern day living the body's natural response to stress has had to adapt to non-life threatening situations e.g. high volumes of work, demanding parental responsibility, spacial-awareness issues, conflicts at work and home are but to name a few. In these situations the body's stress mechanism becomes over stimulated and responds by releasing hormones (e.g. Adrenaline and Cortisol) to
prepare the body for action. Where Adrenaline levels remain high we are likely to find it difficult to
switch-off and relax. Elevated Cortisol levels can suppress the immune system and deplete
Serotonin levels (neither of which are helpful to anyone).
Since 2004, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has approved Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as a clinically proven treatment for recurrent depression. This approach includes Mindfulness meditation. MBCT has been shown to reduce the relapse rates by 43%. Research indicates that Mindfulness is especially helpful for vulnerable groups who are more likely to relapse.
For more information or to arrange a short chat call me on +44 7958 521372 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org "Through the use of CBT and hypnotherapy I am no longer in darkness and Philip’s compassionate belief in my recovery has brought light and sunshine in to my life" (Jo, London)