What are the benefits of mindfulness meditation?
Before there was any scientific data showing how mindfulness meditation affected practitioners, there were many anecdotal claims about the health benefits of mindfulness. Today, a growing field of research using qualitative and quantitative studies is demonstrating that physical, mental, emotional and social benefits do occur with mindfulness meditation, even after practicing for a short period of time.
Studies have shown that just eight weeks of mindfulness meditation can increase the functioning of the immune system to fight off infection, reduce inflammation in the body and slow the rate of cellular aging. In addition, evidence points towards the practice as a way to increase positive emotions, reduce negative emotions and foster compassion towards others by increasing activity in the neural networks involved in understanding the suffering of others. In other words, mindfulness meditation helps us manage the stress of our lives while cultivating a more altruistic worldview.
One of the most recent and exciting discoveries regarding mindfulness is that it is shown to change the physical shape of the brain, a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity. Mindfulness meditation actually alters the gray matter of the brain in the regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy. Changes that come out of this brain rewiring include greater emotional regulation, lower levels of depression and anxiety, and a greater sense of well-being. The practice of mindfulness creates the opportunity for an enriched life experience at work, at home and in all of our relationships. Overall, research shows that a consistent practice can enhance the ability to sustain focus, increase attention and concentration, and foster an overall sense of calm, centeredness and clarity in how we approach life, handle challenges and interact with others.
Do I have to meditate to be mindful?
Sitting meditation is a very important part of training ourselves to be more mindful, but it is not the only technique available. There are a number of different practices that are available including mindful walking, eating, movement, physical relaxation, visualization and relational mindfulness exercises.
Why should I practice mindfulness?
People practice mindfulness for many different reasons, from trying to strengthen their concentration to better appreciate and understand themselves to help calm down and de-stress. As stated in the Benefits section above, mindfulness has far reaching positive effects for the mind, body and heart.
How much does this cost?
Cost varies depending on the type of session(s) you decide on. Please contact me for more information.
Is mindfulness secular?
Yes. Mindfulness is a contemplative, practical and secular contemplative practice that has entered the American mainstream in recent years, in large part through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which he launched at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. Mindfulness does not interfere with any religious tradition you may already practice; conversely, you don't need to be religious or spiritual to practice mindfulness.
Do you teach individuals and groups?
Yes. I offer mindfulness facilitation, training, lectures and workshops to individuals and groups in many settings including corporations, hospitals, schools, professional associations and governmental and non-profit organizations. Sessions can be held in-person or remotely using Skype or the phone.
Have more questions? Send me a note here and ask away!