Mindfulness is a form of meditation that meets the needs of today. In its original sense, meditation actually means cultivating one’s mind. To become familiar with one’s own inner spiritual processes. The meditation techniques can look very different.
Mindfulness invites us to perceive that there is a natural tendency in all of us to react automatically to experiences. It encourages us to explore how we can react other than out of habit. Mindfulness practice teaches us to see things clearly and decide.
How the MBSR Mindfulness Training according to Jon Kabat-Zinn works
The training “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR) was originally designed by Prof. Jon Kabat-Zinn for people with chronic physical diseases. Today it is also used to prevent stress-related illnesses and generally to support a more conscious and fulfilled life. MBSR is based on the fundamentals of Buddhism, but differs from the traditional meditation styles in its fundamental ideological neutrality, in that it abstracts from religious and ritual components.
One of the many advantages of regular mindfulness practice has been researched:
Stress reduction. Many studies show that practicing mindfulness reduces stress. Researchers found that participants who experienced mindfulness-based stress reduction had significantly less anxiety, depression and somatic stress than the control group. Research published in 2013 in the journal “Health Psychology” even showed that mindfulness meditation reduces the release of the stress hormone cortisol.
Positive changes in the brain. According to a 2005 study, people who meditated attentively for 40 minutes a day have a thicker cortical wall (cerebral cortex) than non-meditating test subjects. Cortical thickness is associated with a slower aging process of the brain, better decision making, attention and memory.
More creative thinking. Scientists have shown that mindfulness meditation helps the brain control emotions. Meditating people thus help their brains to uncover the paths to creative thinking. As long as we are emotionally unbalanced or unhappy, our brain is busy processing these emotions in our limbic system. The capacity for creative, strategic and visionary thinking that is processed in the neocortex is then paralyzed and is only available in the case of positive emotions.
Effective against depression. At the beginning of 2014, scientists were able to prove that mindfulness meditation is just as effective against depression and anxiety disorders as cognitive behavioural therapy.
Positive effects on chronic pain. Meditation with focused attention can reduce pain intensity by up to 40 percent. Brain scans of study subjects showed that the brain regions processing pain were almost inactive during meditation. Morphine and other painkillers usually relieve pain by about 25 percent.
Better sleep. According to a study by the University of Utah, people who meditate can sleep better at night. Mindful meditation frees the mind from all the thoughts and distractions that so often prevent us from falling asleep.
More satisfaction in the relationship. Several studies show that a person’s ability to be mindful can help them respond well to relationship stress. Empirical evidence suggests that mindfulness protects against the emotional impact of relationship conflict and is positively associated with the ability to express oneself in various social situations and predict relationship satisfaction.