Health Benefits of Mindfulness Practice

Try employing a meditative practice to reap these research-proven benefits of mindfulness.

| November/December 2014

  • Mindfulness practice can help promote self-acceptance, improving self-esteem and raising awareness of unhealthy patterns.
    Photo by iStock

Improved ability to cope with stress: In addition to perceiving less stress, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course graduates are less likely to react to potentially stressful events with unhealthy spikes in blood pressure. They also enjoy relief from stress-related insomnia.

Better ability to manage chronic pain and reduced reliance on painkillers: Worrying can amplify physical pain. Mindful awareness of bodily sensations—and associated thoughts and emotions—helps us appreciate how they change, notice how they interact and recognize body parts that feel fine.

Enhanced management of eating disorders: In preliminary studies, mindfulness promotes self-acceptance, countering negative body image. Awareness of emotions and thoughts about eating can spark insight into unhealthy patterns and hone an ability to regulate emotional eating.

Prevention of relapse after treatment for substance abuse disorders: Mindfulness practice seems to help recovering addicts cope with cravings and negative emotions.

Reduced fatigue in the face of illness: Anxiety and a sense of time pressure are exhausting—learning to relax and become aware of counterproductive thoughts enhances energy.

Improved attention: When you’re only doing one thing at a time, it’s easier to attend to salient information. Brain scans of experienced meditators show improved blood flow to areas required for concentration and attention.

11/7/2014 8:02:34 AM

Excellent post. I actually try the stretch in the picture - takes a while :) I love the part about the better ability to manage chronic pain and reduced reliance on painkillers as these meds are not great on the liver. Stretching, working out, and staying active is the best solution to chronic pain (speaking from experience). Looking forward to more post like these.

11/1/2014 8:06:34 PM

Excellent article about mindfulness. Definitely something I want to work on!

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