Mindfulness meditation — it seems to be everywhere in the news these days!
A lot of the press has had to do with the research behind this centuries-old technique. Studies showing it benefits kids with poor emotional control, people with anxiety or depression or even chronic pain. It seems that there are few areas of human suffering that meditation cannot help.
What has been most impressive to me is that mindfulness literally changes the way that the brain is structured and functions. Areas such as the amygdala, often activated in fear or high states of stress, becomes less active for those who consistently meditate. The frontal lobe of the brain also becomes more active in consistent practitioners, allowing them to have more emotional control, attention, concentration and focus.
An excellent resource for trying out different mindfulness practices is Dr. Ronald Siegel’s website mindfulness-solutions.com, where he has follow-along audio tracks like “Stepping into Fear”, “Thought Labelling” and “Breath Awareness”. For someone interested in trying different forms of mindfulness I strongly recommend this resource. Remember, while the more mindfulness you do the better, even as little as 11 minutes a day has been shown to cause positive brain changes. So give it a try and see if you can find a form that appeals to you. It’s free, totally portable and does not require an appointment or even getting in your car. As much as I am a BIG fan of psychotherapy, in those ways mindfulness has therapy beat hands down (which is not to say that mindfulness is a substitute for therapy, but surely practicing mindfulness reduces emotional symptoms and can accelerate the course of therapy also).
Best wishes in your search for health and happiness,