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The Power of Mindfulness
Posted by:   |  Sep 26, 2016

The Great Power of Mindfulness

Mindfulness as a State of Mind

The word mindfulness stems from Buddhist Psychology, and originates from Pali language, and is synonymous with awareness, retention, and discernment (Shapiro and S.L., 2009). In simpler terms, it refers to paying attention to one’s immediate experience. The word slowly integrated with western science and people started associating it with meditation. However, after several years of scientific research, mindfulness is now considered an inherent quality of a human being’s consciousness.

Human life is not static, and keeps on changing. Mindfulness helps us in understanding that things can change and that we shouldn’t evaluate every happening, because changes should not be feared. By being mindful, we reduce the desire to control uncertainty in our lives, and we learn that we shouldn’t engage in evaluations of self and others. Mindfulness basically helps a person to overcome analysis paralysis, which is the state of overanalyzing a situation so much that a decision can’t be taken, which eventually paralyzes the whole outcome (Jeff Boss, 2015).

According to Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founding member of ‘mindfulness science’, mindfulness refers to paying attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental way (Kabat Zinn, J, 1994). It is state of focused attention and  awareness that is directed to experience sensations, emotions, and memories.

The Benefits of Mindfulness

Empirical evidence clearly measure the tremendous benefits of mindfulness to include  a decrease level of depression and anxiety, an increase levels of empathy, greater relaxation and ultimately improve quality of life and relationships.

Affective Benefits

Emotional Regulation

Mindful emotional regulation refers to the state of complete mental awareness irrespective of the emotion that one experiences. In that regards, mindfulness improves emotional regulation (Corcoran, Farb, Anderson, & Segal, 2010). It promotes meta-cognitive awareness and decreases the levels of disengagement. Furthermore, it enhances one’s attention, which helps in effective emotional regulation, even during the times that a person is stressed (Chambers et al, 2008).

Decreased Reactivity and Increased Response Flexibility

Mindfulness, also, makes people less reactive and results in increased cognitive flexibility (Moore & Malinowski, 2009). Meditation causes activation of regions of the brain that is responsible for adaptive responding to stressful situations. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) also helps in regulating negative self-beliefs and emotional reactivity. It reduces negative emotion and increases attentional deployment.

Stress Reduction

Mindfulness leads to relationship satisfaction, ability to stay positive during relationship stress, easy communication of emotions to one’s partner, less negativity and relationship conflict, and increased empathy (Wachs & Cordova, 2007). Furthermore, mindfulness activates the area of the brain that is associated with morality, intuition, and self insight (Siegel, 2009). It also has several health benefits such as increased immunity, reduction of psychological stress, and general well being. (Carmody & Baer, 2008). Furthermore, mindfulness resulted in decreased task efforts and increases the speed of information processing (Lutz et al., 2009).

Interpersonal Benefits

Empathy

Mindfulness promotes empathy. Wang (2007) found out that mindful individuals scored better in measures of self-reported empathy than those who didn’t meditate.

Compassion

MBSR helps individuals  to be more compassionate (Shapiro, Astin, Bishop, & Cordova, 2005). There are two components of mindfulness, namely non-reacting and non-judging, and both of them have a strong correlation with compassion.

Thus, mindfulness has several mental benefits and helps one in improving the quality of their life. The following few additional benefits of mindfulness:

  • Mindful improve well-being
  • Mindfulness leads to emotional freedom
  • Improve relationship satisfaction
  • It improves memory and attention
  • Mindfulness cultivates wisdom and compassion
    • Wisdom is seeing the word as it is really is, being fully aware if it.
    • Compassion involved recognizing and being open to suffering, and wishing to help others in their pain.

References

Brown, K.W. & Ryan, R. M. (2003) The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84(4), 822.

Carmody, J., & Baer, R. A. (2008). Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31, 23–33.

Chambers, R., Lo, B. C. Y., & Allen, N. B. (2008). The impact of intensive mindfulness training on attentional control, cognitive style, and affect. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 32, 303–322.

Cohen, J. S., & Miller, L. (2009). Interpersonal mindfulness training for well-being: A pilot study with psychology graduate students. Teachers College Record, 111, 2760 –2774.

Corcoran, K. M., Farb, N., Anderson, A., & Segal, Z. V. (2010). Mindfulness and emotion regulation: Outcomes and possible mediating mechanisms. In A. M. Kring & D. M. Sloan (Eds.), Emotion regulation and psychopathology: A transdiagnositc approach to etiology and treatment (pp. 339 –355). New York: Guilford Press.

Daphne M. Davis and Jeffrey A. Hayes (2011). What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness? A Practice Review of Psychotherapy-Related Research Vol. 48, No. 2, 198 –208.

Goldin, P. R., & Gross, J. J. (2010). Effects of mindfulness-based stress 206 DAVIS AND HAYES reduction (MBSR) on emotion regulation in social anxiety disorder. Emotion, 10, 83–91.

Jeff Boss, (2015) How to Overcome The “Analysis Paralysis” of Decision-Making

KabatJZinn, J (1994) Wherever you go there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion Books.

Lutz, A., Slagter, H. A., Rawlings, N. B., Francis, A. D., Greischar, L. L., & Davidson, R. J. (2009). Mental training enhances attentional stability: Neural and behavioral evidence. The Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 13418 –13427.

Moore, A., & Malinowski, P. (2009). Meditation, mindfulness and cognitive flexibility. Consciousness and Cognition, 18, 176 –186.

Ramel, W. Goldin, P. R., Carmona, P. E., & McQuaid, J. R. (2004). The effects of mindfulness meditation on cognitive processes and affect in patients with past depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 28, 433– 455.

Shapiro and S.L (2009) The integration of mindfulness and psychology. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(6), 555.

Shapiro, S. L., Astin, J. A., Bishop, S. R., & Cordova, M. (2005). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for health care professionals: Results from a randomized trial. International Journal of Stress Management, 12, 164 –176.

Shapiro, S. L., Schwartz, G. E., & Bonner, G. (1998). Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on medical and premedical students. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21, 581–599.

Siegel, D. J. (2009). Mindful awareness, mindsight, and neural integration. The Humanistic Psychologist, 37, 137–158.

Wachs, K., & Cordova, J. V. (2007). Mindful relating: Exploring mindfulness and emotion repertoires in intimate relationships. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 33, 464 – 481.

Wang, S. J. (2007). Mindfulness meditation: Its personal and professional impact on psychotherapists. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: Science and Engineering, 67, 412



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