What can mindfulness do for you?
Self-ObservationOne study found that people who practice mindfulness meditation appear to develop the skill of self-observation, which neurologically disengages the automatic pathways that were created by prior learning and enables present-moment input to be integrated in a new way. Meditation also activates the brain region associated with more adaptive responses to stressful or negative situations. Activation of this region corresponds with faster recovery to baseline after being negatively provoked.
Focus & AttentionAnother study examined how mindfulness meditation affected participants’ ability to focus attention and suppress distracting information. The researchers compared a group of experienced mindfulness meditators with a control group that had no meditation experience. They found that the meditation group had significantly better performance on all measures of attention and had higher self-reported mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation practice and self-reported mindfulness were correlated directly with cognitive flexibility and attentional functioning.
Stress ReductionStress reduction. Many studies show that practicing mindfulness reduces stress. In 2010 a conducted meta-analysis of 39 studies that explored the use of mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. The researchers concluded that mindfulness-based therapy may be useful in altering affective and cognitive processes that underlie multiple clinical issues.
Emotional StabilityLess emotional reactivity. Research also supports the notion that mindfulness meditation decreases emotional reactivity. In a study of people who had anywhere from one month to 29 years of mindfulness meditation practice, researchers found that mindfulness meditation practice helped people disengage from emotionally upsetting pictures and enabled them to focus better on a cognitive task as compared with people who saw the pictures but did not meditate.
Memory ImprovementBoosts to working memory. Improvements to working memory appear to be another benefit of mindfulness, research finds. A 2010 study documented the benefits of mindfulness meditation among a military group who participated in an eight-week mindfulness training, a nonmeditating military group and a group of nonmeditating civilians.
Other BenefitsMindfulness has been shown to enhance self-insight, morality, intuition and fear modulation, all functions associated with the brain’s middle prefrontal lobe area. Evidence also suggests that mindfulness meditation has numerous health benefits, including increased immune functioning, improvement to well-being and reduction in psychological distress. In addition, mindfulness meditation practice appears to increase information processing speed.
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Mindfulness is a particular way of paying attention. It is the mental faculty of purposefully bringing awareness to one’s experience. Mindfulness can be applied to sensory experience, thoughts, and emotions by using sustained attention and noticing our experience without reacting.
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Thirty years of research and, more recently, brain science, offer compelling evidence to support the use of mindfulness in education. The application of mindfulness by students and educators has the potential to improve academic achievement, mental health, and inter- and intra-personal relationships.
Here you have some links to useful articles, videos & books about mindfulness.
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