Mindfulness Meditation: A Powerful Tool to Alleviate Stress

by James Doss

Mindfulness Meditation: A Powerful Tool to Alleviate Stress Mindfulness Meditation: A Powerful Tool to Alleviate Stress

Mindfulness Meditation: A Powerful Tool to Alleviate Stress : A lot of people have been meaning to try or have tried meditating in the past hundreds of decades. They even made it a part of their routine for spiritual exercise. However, in the most recent years, mindfulness meditation has become a prominent method to manage stress levels and improve overall well-being, not to mention a lot of research and studies have proven its efficiency.

Psychologists also found that mindfulness meditation creates positive changes in our brain and body, which means doing this will improve both physical and mental health.

Mindfulness Meditation – what is this about?

There are many ways to define what meditation is about. But to simplify this, it is a method of training your attention to gain a mental state of positive emotions and calm concentration. Among the different techniques in meditation, mindfulness is one of the most common. This mindfulness method has two basic parts — attention and acceptance.

The attention part is usually about thinking and feeling your experiences to focus on what is happening to you at the moment. This normally involves focusing your attention on your thoughts, breath, feelings that you currently experience, and other physical sensations that you’re sensing. On the other hand, the acceptance part includes recognizing those sensations and feelings and processing them minus the judgment. Instead of giving a reaction to them, you just acknowledge them then you let them go.

Mindfulness classes and therapies based on the said meditation technique make these concepts come into life. They put them to practice. These programs may include simple ones such as breathing exercises, yoga, and guided lessons to help people become receptive to their thoughts, feelings, and body sensations.

Most of the research related to mindfulness have their focus on two interventions:

  1. Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MSBR) This type of therapeutic intervention includes an 8-week period of group classes and daily mindfulness activities to practice at home. Practicing MSBR teaches people the ability to develop mindfulness through meditation and yoga.
  2. Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) This, on the other hand, is a therapeutic intervention that incorporates the elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy and MBSR intervention to treat those who are suffering from depression.

Researchers were able to review over 200 mindfulness studies conducted on healthy people and found that mindfulness-based healing treatments were especially helpful in reducing stress, depression, and anxiety. Aside from depression, mindfulness can also aid in treating people with chronic pain, smoking, and addiction. But the most promising results were found on people with depression. Also, a lot of studies have found that MBCT can also significantly decrease the occurrence of relapse in people who have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

On top of all that, interventions based on mindfulness can help put your physical health in top shape too. For instance, as mentioned above, mindfulness may also reduce stress, fatigue, and chronic pain. Other studies have also found some pieces of evidence that mindfulness also has a positive impact on a person’s immune system which helps him/her recover quickly from flu and colds.

How does mindfulness meditation work?

You may ask, how can as easy as being keen on your thoughts and feelings bring so many positive effects physically and mentally? This is because of its ability to alleviate your body’s response to different types of stressors.

Chronic stress can weaken the immune system over time and can make an existing medical condition worsen. By lowering the body’s response to stress, you can keep your health in optimal condition.

Psychologists and scientists have discovered that mindfulness has an effect on two varieties of stress pathways in a person’s brain. This meditation technique changes the brain structures and regions of the brain that are associated with the regulation of attention and emotions. They have also identified which elements of this meditation technique are the ones responsible for the benefits it gives.

How do you get started with mindfulness meditation?

If you read this far, we think you’re ready to give this meditation technique a try. Learning mindfulness is easier than most people think. Mindfulness interventions and classes are prevalent in various settings such as hospitals, clinics, yoga centers, and even athletic clubs, although their approaches may differ. If you want the best results, look for an MBSR or MBCT intervention-trained therapist to guide you.

The good news is mindfulness interventions are now more accessible. They can be available online or by downloading an app. It might take a couple of classes or a long time to get used to mindfulness meditation. You might feel uncomfortable in the beginning but continue doing it until it becomes more natural and be a part of your routine. With a little practice, this can become a powerful tool to enhance both mental and physical health.

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