What Has Mindfulness Been Shown to Do?

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What Has Mindfulness Been Shown to Do?

Mindfulness practitioners claim that it has a significant impact on how they view life. Researchers have been seeking to explain this in biological terms for the past 40 years. In as little as eight weeks of practice, mindfulness has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, boost your immune system, help you manage pain, unhook from unhealthy habits and addictions, soothe insomnia, lower blood pressure, and even change the structure and function of your brain in positive ways.

The most well-known researchers studying the impacts of mindfulness techniques note that, in comparison to many other fields, the research is still in its infancy. Years, if not decades, will pass before enough peer-reviewed studies with active controls and extended time frames are available to produce clear proof of benefits. Nonetheless, the discipline is developing, and the research appears to be promising. It’s a hectic world out there. While folding laundry, you keep one eye on the kids and the other on the television. You plan your day while driving to work and listening to the radio, and then you plan your weekend. However, in your haste to complete required activities, you may lose touch with the current moment, missing out on what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. 

Did You Note How Refreshed You Felt This Morning or How Forsythia Is Blooming Along Your Commute?

The practice of mindfulness involves focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is now being researched scientifically, and it has been discovered to be an important factor in stress reduction and overall happiness. The practice of mindfulness entails focusing your attention on the current moment. It entails paying attention to your senses, feelings, thoughts, and surroundings in the present moment with an accepting attitude. Lowering Stress, decreasing depression, boosting memory, and enhancing relationships are just a few of the possible advantages of mindfulness. Mindfulness was found to be an effective mental health practice for helping practically all people enhance their physical and psychological well-being in a large-scale evaluation of more than 400 prior studies.

This article goes through some of the many advantages of mindfulness, as well as some things to think about before deciding whether mindfulness-based practices are good for you. 

Depression Levels Are Lower

One of the major advantages of mindfulness is that it reduces depression. It can help alleviate depressive symptoms and possibly prevent them from recurring in the future.

• Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is combined with mindfulness-based stress reduction in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) (MBSR). It’s an eight-week group therapy that incorporates mindfulness practices.

• MBCT includes activities such as meditation, body scan exercise, and yoga, in addition to mindfulness practices to assist people in becoming more aware of and accepting of their thoughts. According to research, MBCT can not only treat depression but also prevent a relapse of depressive symptoms as efficiently as antidepressant medicines.

Improved Emotional Control

Another advantage of mindfulness is that it may assist you in recognizing and managing your emotions. The ability to control your own emotions is referred to as emotional regulation. This means that, depending on the context and need, you can either increase or suppress emotions. This ability is vital for mental health, and problems managing emotions have been related to a variety of illnesses, including depression and borderline personality disorder (BPD).

Mindfulness-based activities have been shown to improve emotional regulation skills studies. Mindfulness training appears to change the parts of the brain that are active and deactivated in response to emotion-inducing stimuli, according to neuroimaging research.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that combines mindfulness with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and emotional regulation training to help people with conditions like borderline personality disorder. DBT appears to be beneficial in helping people manage their emotions, according to research. It’s also been shown to help with anxiety, sadness, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Mindfulness’s emotional regulation benefits can make it easier to cope with your emotions, which can enhance many aspects of your life, including your relationships and well-being.

Anxiety and Stress Are Lessened

For many individuals, chronic Stress is a major issue that can lead to a range of health issues, including an increased risk of melancholy and anxiety. Mindfulness, according to the American Psychological Association, can help to alleviate anxiety and Stress. Mindfulness methods have also been developed for the treatment of stress symptoms.
The mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program, for example, is an eight-week program that combines aspects of mindfulness and yoga to help people address the thoughts, feelings, and actions that lead to Stress.

According to research, MBSR can be a beneficial technique to reduce stress levels. Mindfulness-based therapy was also found to be highly beneficial in the treatment of anxiety in one review of the literature. 

Mindfulness was found to be a simple and cost-effective technique to reduce negative emotions, tension, and anxiety in a 2016 study. However, mindfulness may not always be the most effective strategy for reducing Stress, especially in stressful situations. According to one study, utilizing mindfulness techniques to cope with a stressful experience had no effect on how participants reacted to the event. In times of crisis, tried-and-true techniques like deep breathing are frequently more useful, whereas mindfulness may be best applied after the event has passed.

Improved Memory

Mindfulness has the potential to help you remember things better. If you’ve ever forgotten an important meeting or misplaced your vehicle keys, you know how inconvenient even minor memory issues can be. Many of these instances of forgetting are caused by proactive interference, which occurs when older memories obstruct your capacity to access newer memories.

Participants in one 2019 study received either four weeks of mindfulness training or a creative writing session. Those who had been taught mindfulness techniques exhibited the most reductions in proactive interference, which resulted in gains in their short-term memory, according to memory tests. However, the participants didn’t merely exhibit gains in memory. Their brains also showed signs of alteration. Participants in the mindfulness training group also had volume changes in their hippocampus, a memory-related portion of the brain, according to brain imaging.

Improvements in Cognition

Evidence suggests that mindfulness can help you think more flexibly and clearly, in addition to helping you focus on your thoughts and remember things more easily. It’s understandable that mindfulness can help you think differently. After all, the goal of the exercise is to become more aware of your ideas without passing judgment on them. 

Mindfulness requires a number of important cognitive abilities, including the ability to focus your attention for an extended period of time (sustained attention), the ability to shift your thoughts and attention in the face of distractions (cognitive flexibility), and the ability to suppress distracting thoughts (cognitive inhibition). These cognitive abilities are necessary for a wide range of daily tasks. They provide you with the ability to think rapidly and adapt to changing circumstances. Such abilities also make it easier to go from one work to another and concentrate on tasks and solve difficulties more efficiently.

Relationships That Are More Solid 

Mindfulness appears to have a good impact on interpersonal relationships, according to accumulating studies. People who were more thoughtful were also more accepting of their partner’s defects and imperfections, according to a 2018 study. People who accept their partners more readily are also happier in their relationships. Rather than focusing on their partner’s imperfections and attempting to change them, mindfulness allows them to understand that their companion isn’t flawless all of the time.

Mindfulness-based relationship enhancement (MBRE), a therapeutic strategy, has been demonstrated to promote partner acceptance, relationship satisfaction, empathy, and well-being. It includes mindfulness techniques like mindful touching to promote intimacy, becoming more aware of daily routines, and practicing partner-focused loving-kindness meditation.

Better Physical Health 

Mindfulness has also been shown to aid with the symptoms of a variety of medical illnesses. Lower back discomfort, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Type 2 diabetes, and fibromyalgia have all been linked to mindfulness activities. Because mindfulness can assist persons with chronic illness in improving their mood and reducing Stress, it may be beneficial to them.

When Should You Exercise Caution?

Any kind of self-reflective inner activity has the potential to bring up uncomfortable feelings or thoughts. This is especially true if you’ve experienced trauma before or if you’ve been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or complicated PTSD. 

There are limited standards for probable side effects or instances in which caution is advised. 

Researchers had observed cases when participants had distressing side effects from mindfulness and meditation that were severe enough to necessitate further therapy. According to one study, roughly 6% of mindfulness practitioners suffered negative effects such as increased anxiety, dissociation, social isolation, and emotional numbness. The authors do add, however, that these effects were accompanied by considerable improvements in depression symptoms.

This isn’t to say that mindfulness isn’t worth a go. Instead, it just indicates that you should proceed with caution and recognize that it is not a cure-all for immediate happiness. It’s possible that mindfulness and other forms of inner work will make you feel worse before they make you feel better. Focusing intensely on your inner self might lead to unpleasant or even distressing feelings, so you should be aware of this possibility and be prepared with emotional tools to help you manage. Consider engaging with a trauma-informed therapist if you’re worried that practicing mindfulness will be challenging or painful for you. A mental health expert with competence in this area can assist you in navigating the process, integrating your experiences, and developing coping strategies.

What Effect Does Mindfulness Have on One’s Health and Well-Being? 

We produce a distinct state of brain activation during mindfulness meditation when we consciously place our internal focus of attention. 

This purposefully generated condition can become a persistent feature over time, leading to long-term alterations in brain function and structure. This is a key feature of neurocysticercosis, which describes how the brain adapts to new experiences. The experience of mindfulness meditation is one of focusing your attention in a specific way.

What is the “active ingredient” in MBSR’s powerful effects? This is a question that has been raised in regards to the specific features of MBSR. Naturally, gathering others to reflect on life’s difficulties, listen to poetry, and practice yoga may all add to the program’s statistically established success. 

But, exactly, what role does meditation play in the MBSR program’s favorable outcomes? One clue is that those who practiced mindfulness meditation while receiving psoriasis light treatment saw four times the pace of healing
In other research, long-term gains were observed and maintained in direct proportion to the amount of formal reflective meditation time that participants spent at home as part of their daily practice. More study is needed to confirm the findings of previous studies showing long-term effects are linked to mindfulness practice, not only the effect of gathering in a reflective manner as a group.

Sara Lazar and her Massachusetts General Hospital colleagues discovered that people who have been practicing mindfulness meditation for decades have anatomical traits in their brains that are proportionate to the number of hours they have practiced. However, this conclusion, like those of “adepts”—people who have spent tens of thousands of hours meditating—must be taken with caution in terms of cause and effect. Is it merely those who have chosen to meditate who have different brain activity and structure, or has meditation genuinely transformed their brains? These questions are being researched right now in labs all across the world. Because it allows novices to engage in new practices that may then be recognized as the factors that cause the beneficial changes that follow, MBSR has shown to be a valuable source of insight into these questions.

What Exactly Are These Changes, Whatever Their Origins? 

Several major advances have regularly been discovered in MBSR studies, demonstrating its effectiveness as a health-promoting practice. 

The “science of mindfulness” may rely on them. 


Very Well’s Message

Lowering Stress, enhancing emotional regulation, expanding cognitive ability, and strengthening relationships are just a few of the possible benefits of mindfulness. Mindfulness has also been linked to changes in the structure and function of the brain, according to research. In some circumstances, negative side effects can develop. Therefore people should see their doctor or therapist before choosing if mindfulness is good for them. Mindfulness isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to happiness. It might be a powerful wellness tool with several advantages, but that does not mean it is appropriate for everyone. If you want to attempt mindfulness, there are many manuals, apps, and other tools that can help you get started, but you can also talk to a therapist about mindfulness-based therapy alternatives.

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