Benefits of Mindfulness

The strong evidence base highlighting the benefits of practising mindfulness meditation is often one of the main reasons people sign up for the 8-week course.

One of the strengths of the 8-week Stress Reduction through Mindfulness course (often described as Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction or MBSR) is that it has a proven track record. Various clinical trials have been done which show the benefits of mindfulness meditation. The encouraging results  motivate us to practice.

Practising mindfulness meditation regularly can change our behaviours in positive ways but perhaps less well known is that meditation actually changes our brain.

Research has shown that “the practice of meditation seems to prime brain cells to fire together in patters that strengthen key brain structures – those for example, important in tasks such as decision-making, memory and emotional flexibility. And it may also improve communication among different parts of the brain in ways that further improve physical and emotional health.”

Real Happiness, Sharon Salzberg

Meditation can change your brain

  • Meditators had a measurably thicker tissue in the left pre-frontal cortext. This the area of brain used for processing difficult emotions. (2005, Sara Lazar)
  • In older meditators, meditation has been shown to counteract the thinning of the cortex that occurs naturally with age and thus may protect against memory loss and cognitive defects.
  • Brains of experienced meditators contain more grey matter ie the brain tissue responsible for processing high-level information, than non-meditators. Especially in the areas of the brain associated with attention, body awareness and the ability to modulate emotional responses. (2009, Eileen Luders, UCLA)
  • Meditators have an increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection.
  • Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased grey matter in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress. (2010 Massachusetts General Hospital)
  • When meditating the area of the brain showing the response to brain is much less activated than when not meditating. The pain does not go away but it becomes more manageable.
  • Meditators are more efficient at dropping extraneous thoughts and focusing on the matter at hand.
  • Mindfulness Meditation reduces the risk of relapse in depression by more than half.
  • Meditation can also boost and improve our immune system.

The more you practice meditation the

greater the benefit

If you would like to practice mindfulness meditation, experience the benefits of mindfulness and change your brain have a look at doing the 8-week course here

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