HOW MINDFULNESS WORKS
While mindfulness meditation has existed for centuries, there has been an explosion of scientific research in recent decades exploring how it works and assessing its ability to improve physical and psychological health, enhance interpersonal relationships, and maximise performance in a wide range of settings including in education, within the workplace and amongst athletes.
Much of the research on mindfulness and meditation reveals the amazing neuroplasticity of our brains — while we used to think that our brains stopped developing in our early twenties, we now know that our experiences can shape our neural development well into our sixties and beyond. The more we exercise a particular neural pathway in the brain, the more we strengthen it. The phrase that neuroscientists often use, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”
Our minds are the vehicle through which we interpret and regulate all of our experiences as humans. Why then, would we not look after our minds as we do with our bodies by eating well and engaging in regular exercise?
SCIENTIFICALLY VALIDATED BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS PRACTICE
Improved physical health
Increased immune function, lowered blood pressure, increased pain tolerance and improved sleep
Reduced symptoms associated with depression and anxiety, lower reactivity and improved emotional regulation
Enhanced cognitive abilities
Improved focus, working memory, cognitive flexibility, creativity and innovative problem solving abilities
Increased emotional intelligence and greater compassion