Mindfulness aims at reaching a deep state of emotional awareness through different concrete techniques. This practice succeeds in separating the person from their thoughts to recognize them and question mental patterns, giving great weight to the “here and now” through total attention to the present moment.
Mindfulness is a practice increasingly used in psychology to relieve a variety of physical and mental conditions. Scientific research on this topic (through positive psychology) has been constant over the last twenty or thirty years, but over the last decade, scientific interest in the benefits of mindfulness has increased exponentially.
Listing the now scientifically-proven benefits of meditation would take pages. But in this article, we list advantages we can enjoy by being continuously mindful at least ten minutes a day.
Mindfulness fights the damage of stress by reducing cellular inflammation and cortisol levels in the blood. An international study (conducted by American, French and Spanish scientists) in 2013 showed that after 8 hours of practice, expert meditators can “turn off” the activity of some genes at the origin of inflammatory processes. In 2014, however, it was shown that meditating stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to release anti-inflammatory substances and reduce the production of those that create inflammation.
Improves Emotional Health
The practice of meditation nourishes self-esteem, serenity, and the feelings behind happiness (gratitude, joy, and compassion) by reducing anxiety and negativity levels. It also increases attention, short-term memory and the ability to concentrate.
Protects Against Heart Attack
Regular meditation helps the body to slow down the heart rate and achieve a good cardiovascular balance.
Helps Manage Anger
It allows you to better manage anger and other negative emotions, with beneficial effects on both relationships and job performance.
Maximizes Career Growth
Indeed, it promotes labor productivity, increases attention span, and makes decisions: these are all fundamental qualities for professional success.
Mindfulness helps to awaken intuitive abilities making us more creative and skilled in problem-solving. In fact, regular meditation helps to develop the left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that gives you control over yourself and makes it easier for you to solve problems by quickly linking them to ideas for solutions.
It is no coincidence that companies like Nike, Apple, Disney, and Google have included (and continue to implement) meditation as part of the general wellness program for their employees.
Enhance Your Awareness and Empathy
This was demonstrated by a series of research studies conducted at Harvard using magnetic resonance imaging on a group of students who meditated for 8 weeks. At the end of the course, they found:
A thickening of the areas of the brain associated with awareness of one’s own body and compassion for others.
A reduction in the amygdala volume (the part of the brain that stores and recalls negative emotions).
An increase in the activity of the left prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for higher cognitive functions such as concentration and decision-making.
Reduces Pain Sensitivity
By performing brain scans, it was found that experienced meditators feel less pain with the same intensity of the painful stimulus than those who do not practice. This is due to the reduction of cerebral connections between the anterior cingulate cortex (responsible for the negative thoughts and emotions that automatically arise in us when we feel pain) and the prefrontal cortex, responsible for most of the body’s experiences self-awareness.
Slows Down Aging
Extensive research at the University of California at Davis has shown that meditation improves the enzyme telomerase activity, which plays a crucial role in the integrity of DNA during cell replication. When telomeres shorten too much, cells stop dividing and go into senescence. However, telomerase adds sequences to the telomeres and, by stimulating their action, life can be prolonged.
Are you ready to start being mindful? Once you start practicing mindfulness and notice its benefits, don’t forget to leave a comment in the section below.