In the relentless world we live in today, is stopping to practise mindfulness a waste of precious time and counterproductive when there is just so much to do? Or, should mindful practice be a part of our ongoing wellbeing plan for a happier and healthier future given the ever-growing neuro-scientific research evidencing the physical and mental benefits that mindful living can bring? Take a few mindful moments now to find out more below.
When practising mindfulness, every time we notice our attention has drifted and we re-focus the mind; every time we have awareness of our mental patterns and behaviours and step out to view them more objectively; every time we make a wise choice of responding v.s reacting; every time we 'unhook' from difficulty and turn towards it with kindness, non-judgement and compassion, by learning these new habits, responding to our internal and external experiences in a mindful way, we begin to lay down new neural pathways in the brain of more skilful responses and let go of the old ways of being. Over time, and with plenty of practice, this new way of responding may become our default, cultivating the attitudes of happiness, equanimity, empathy and the 'bone-deep' peace that comes from mindful living. So, whilst being still with your eyes closed in contemplation may feel like not much is happening, every practice, whether you perceive it to have been Zen-like, or not, will most definitely be having an effect on your brain - it's called neuroplasticity.
In one of my previous blogs, 'Mindfulness - Hippy Dippy Idealism or Science?' you will find many links to access 1000s of research papers around the practice of mindfulness
In this fantastic article, 'The Science of Mindfulness' on the Mindful.org website you can read about 11 ways in which mindfulness meditation may improve your health and well-being & 8 Science-Backed Ways Mindfulness Helps us Heal and Thrive
For a more visual and auditory introduction to the science of mindfulness, I give you below three short videos below that I hope will instill some trust and inspire you to take up the simple, yet transformative practice of mindfulness.
The Science of Mindfulness - Professor Mark Williams.
In this 3 minute video, the co-founder of Mindful Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), which really sparked the overwhelming amount of research available now, explains a little of the neuroscience of mindfulness.
Thinking to Doing to Being - Dr. Joey Dispenza
I never tire of watching this video and I send it to all of my mindfulness students because Dr. Dispenza explains brilliantly the inter-relationship of different parts of the brain and how meta-cognitive awareness and applying knowledge in action can bring positive structural changes in the brain. 'Neurons that wire together fire together!'
Mindfulness on BBC Breakfast
David Sillito, along with a lady experiencing ongoing pain through Lupus, completed an 8-week mindfulness course. Following that, they agreed to meditate whilst in fMRI scanners. Brain images showed how meditation helped to change the response to pain and how David was able to 'let go' of his ego!
p.s if you would like to learn more about how to cultivate a more mindful way of life, why not join the next Finding Peace in a Frantic World 8-week online course with me in September? Click HERE for more details.