Why do you think everyone is talking about Mindfulness lately?
One reason: It really works, it does make you happier.
And I’m going to give you here all the scientific evidence you need, because there’s plenty!
Mindfulness – Definition
But let’s start at the beginning: What is mindfulness? Basically, mindfulness is an ancient form of meditation. Scientists describe it as “full attention to the present moment without elaboration, judgment or emotional reactivity.” Although it has its roots in Buddhism, is an entirely secular type of “brain-training,” and scientists are fascinated with the people who practice it.
Mindfulness training, traditionally practiced through sitting meditation, attempts to bring about this mental state by quieting the mind of extraneous thoughts. It is deceptively simple and can even be practiced while you’re walking to work or sitting on a bus.
Simply pay full, wholehearted attention to one single thing at a time – such as your breath, as it flows into and out of your lungs, the flicker of a candle, or a small, repetitive sound. Focusing on each breath in this way allows you to observe your thoughts as they arise in your mind and, little by little, to let go of struggling with them. If your brain looks like a wadded-up tangle of string, mindfulness relaxes it until it is free of tangles. You keep the contents, but not the mess.
Because we believe in the powerful transformation Mindfulness can bring to your life, we launched Whispers of Joy. A complete audio program with over 50 sessions (more than 4 hours of recordings!) that’ll help you feel more relax, happier, and bring back joy into your life.
Is Mindfulness For You?
Mindfulness can be good for people from all walks of life, even youngsters, but is especially helpful for people with really fast-paced, stressful, 9-to-5-grind types of lives.Mindfulness can be good for people from all walks of life, even youngsters. Click To Tweet
Don’t worry! This isn’t just a mindless, happy-go-lucky kinda new buzzword. And it’s not a crazy fad. Science comes to the rescue for those skeptics about mindfulness out there.
Here you’ll learn about 11 powerful new scientific studies about mindfulness, and the results could shock you. When practiced consistently, mindfulness can have a truly positive effect on your life. Can you argue with scientific research? I doubt it.
Let’s dive right in. Let’s take a deep breath and put a nice, big smile on your face… you’re gonna like this.
#1 – Mindfulness Makes You Smarter And Helps You Make Better Decisions
What do the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Academy of Sciences, the University of Oregon, and the Neuroimaging Institute of Texas Tech University have in common? They’re all intensely studying the effects of mindfulness and other forms of meditation.
They want to know if mindfulness training can improve attention, a key component of intelligence. They also want to know if it can improve performance in untrained challenges and fluid intelligence, the ability to solve novel problems and identify patterns.Mindfulness Makes You Smarter And Helps You Make Better Decisions Click To Tweet
Physiologically, mindfulness increased both the density of axons connecting neurons in the brain, as well as the myelin sheaths around those axons in an area of the brain important for attention and self regulation. Mindful participants also had an increase in immune system strength.
The increase of fluid intelligence was statistically significant, although not superhuman. But the decrease in stress-related cortisol was significant.
Lower levels of cortisol are thought to increase self-confidence and decision-making abilities. High cortisol levels can decrease effectiveness due to the many physical problems it causes.
#2 – Mindfulness Helps You Sleep Better
A February 2015 article in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that mindfulness improved sleep quality for older adults compared to another sleep improvement program. To compare apples to apples, researchers scored the participants before and after the treatment. Both groups started with a score of 10.2. The mindfulness group improved by 2.8 points, and the other group only improved by 1.1 point.Mindfulness Helps You Sleep Better Click To Tweet
This could be quite significant for North America, where an estimated 50 percent of individuals over 54 years old have problems sleeping, which triggers a host of other physical and psychological problems.
The benefits of finding sleep relief in a treatment that does not involve medication is exciting, because the use of mindfulness is scalable and accessible to people from all walks of life.
#3 – Mindfulness Improves Your Sex Life
Sorry guys, this works mostly for women. But anyway, I know what you’re thinking, “How on earth is meditation going to help me have a more enjoyable sex life?”
It’s actually pretty simple.Mindfulness Improves Your Sex Life Click To Tweet
It was found that self-judgmental chatter is often what fills a woman’s mind during sex, screwing everything up. So, by helping bring thoughts to the present moment, women can significantly enhance their sexual experience and pleasure.
If you want to keep your thoughts from ruining your sex life, give mindfulness a try.
What’s there to lose?
#4 – Mindfulness Slows Down Neurodegenerative Diseases
The positive brain changes associated with mindful meditation (such as stress reduction) may be the answer for slowing the progression of age-related cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, according to a pilot study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.Mindfulness Slows Down Neurodegenerative Diseases Click To Tweet
Alzheimer’s patients who took part in the study showed less cognitive decline after an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program than a second group who did not take the program.
What’s more, patients who took part in the mindfulness-based program reported higher levels of well-being, which incidentally also helps accelerate recovery.
#5 – Mindfulness Helps You Be A More Compassionate Person
Mindfulness was found to have very positive effects on interpersonal harmony, compassion, and empathy.
Basically, it’ll help you feel better about other people, and that’s not a small thing in this very individualistic world we seem to be living in.
A recent study by the Northeastern University College of Science invited participants to complete eight weeks of meditation training. After the sessions, they were put to the test.Mindfulness Helps You Be A More Compassionate Person Click To Tweet
Two actors sat in a staged waiting room, and the participant sat down and waited to be called. A third actor, using crutches and appearing to be in great physical pain, entered the room. The two seated actors would ignore her by fiddling with their phones or opening a book.
Among the non-meditating participants, only about 15 percent of people acted to help. But among the participants with the meditation training, it was 50 percent.
#6 – Mindfulness Helps You Deal Better With Negative Environments
Basically, mindfulness provides you with a powerful “mental armor.” If you’re living under stressful conditions, how handy would it be to be able to wear mind armor and protect yourself from negative influences?
We all experience negative environments, whether it’s in the office with a less than collaborative co-worker (to say it nicely), or at home.
The researchers of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine teamed up with the Naval Health Research Center to test four platoons of Marines at Camp Pendleton, California.
They found that mindfulness training made a big difference and might be a good practice to help returning veterans who suffer from depression and anxiety.Mindfulness Helps You Deal Better With Negative Environments Click To Tweet
In the study, 147 Marine infantrymen took an eight-week course in mindfulness, tailored for individuals operating in highly stressful environments. They meditated for 15 minutes per day for eight weeks.
During stress tests, they weren’t any calmer than the control group, but proved to be more resilient and recovered faster after the tests were over.
Descriptions of the effect of mindfulness varied, but all the feedback was positive.
It was described as an inoculation to make them more stress resistant, a way to stay more calm and focused in battle, a boost for overall mental and physical fitness, and a reducer of being “scatterbrained.”
It made them more resistant to anxiety, stress, depression and insomnia. “It’s like doing pushups for the brain,” one general concluded.
If you’re working in a very stressful environment, give mindfulness a shot. If it helps Marines, it can surely help you.
#7 – Mindfulness Makes You Much More Creative
According to researchers at Leiden University, mindfulness can promote creative thinking.
The findings support the belief that meditation can have a long-lasting influence on human cognition, including how we think and how we experience events. Mindful meditation significantly improved both divergent thinking (coming up with lots of ideas) and convergent thinking (solidifying those ideas into one brilliant concept.)Mindfulness Makes You Much More Creative Click To Tweet
Interestingly, the type of meditation performed had an impact on which type of creative thinking was improved. For example, free association meditation improved divergent thinking more than focused attention meditation.
#8 – Mindfulness Can Relieve Back Pain And Neck Pain
Mindfulness helps you release body pains. That’s a fact. I even experienced it myself. I’m 44 years old now, and this isn’t my first rodeo. That’s why spending long hours writing and working on the computer takes a toll on my body: specifically, in my lower back.
So, if you’re experiencing back pain, mindfulness can help you a ton.
Because, did you know that part of the pain you experience is mostly in your mind? Say, what??Mindfulness Can Relieve Back Pain And Neck Pain Click To Tweet
I know. Bear with me. That was the finding published in April 6, 2011 by the Journal of Neuroscience. The actual study found out that pain could be a matter of perception, and you can cut it in half if you meditate.
Using a very creative title (that I wished I’d come up with myself, to be honest), LiveScience.com posted about the benefits of meditation in “From Ouch to Om, Meditation Reduces Pain.”
They found out that 80 minutes of mindful meditation could eventually cut the perception of pain by up to 50%. To be more accurate, participants in the study reported that, after meditating, the same pain was 40 percent less intense and 57 percent less unpleasant.
That’s a reduction of a lot of pain perception, let me tell you! Not bad for a few minutes per day of mindfulness exercises.
The results imply that meditation could somehow be more effective for certain kinds of aches and pains than many drug-based pain relievers out there.
Mindfulness and meditation are so easy to learn and practice that brief periods of time could make a significant change in your daily happiness.
#9 – Mindfulness Eases Stress, Anxiety, And Depression
Stress problems are an epidemic. But because it’s so widespread, we started to take it as normal. Not good! How widespread, you ask?
The latest stats show that over 73% of the American workers experiences stress that causes them psychological or physical damages. 48% of them feel that their stress level has gone up over the last 5 years. And 54% of them say that stress has caused fights with loved ones. And an alarming number (almost 50%) say stress keeps them awake at night.
The picture is really alarming.
Mindfulness helps you because it reduces your body’s cortisol levels, which quickly will lower your stress on a neurochemical level.Mindfulness Eases Stress, Anxiety, And Depression Click To Tweet
If you’re hurrying, wondering about a million things, and juggling 100 balls in the air all the time, then welcome to the group.
Psychiatrist Elizabeth Hoge of the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital, and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says that mindfulness meditation makes perfect sense for treating anxiety. “People with anxiety have a problem dealing with distracting thoughts that have too much power,” she explains. “They can’t distinguish between a problem-solving thought and a nagging worry that has no benefit.”
Dr. Hoge says that you can train yourself to experience unproductive thoughts completely differently. If you’re constantly worried about losing your job, mindfulness will teach you to recognize that same old thought and realize that that’s all it is — a thought. It’s not part of your core self.
#10 – Mindfulness Dramatically Reduces Feelings Of Loneliness
For adults 55 and older, loneliness is a major risk factor for health problems — such as cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s.
A recent study (October 2012) led by Carnegie Mellon University’s J. David Creswell offers the first evidence that mindfulness meditation reduces loneliness in older adults.
The researchers also found that mindfulness meditation lowered inflammation levels, which is thought to promote the development and progression of many diseases. These findings provide valuable insights into how mindfulness meditation training can be used as a novel approach for reducing loneliness and the risk of disease in older adults.Mindfulness Dramatically Reduces Feelings Of Loneliness Click To Tweet
“We always tell people to quit smoking for health reasons, but rarely do we think about loneliness in the same way,” said Creswell, assistant professor of psychology within CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “We know that loneliness is a major risk factor for health problems and mortality in older adults. This research suggests that mindfulness meditation training is a promising intervention for improving the health of older adults.”
So if you know someone that’s 55+, maybe you can recommend a daily practice of mindful meditation. It’s easy, only a few minutes a day, and can have concrete benefits in our health.
#11 – Mindfulness Makes You Powerful
In Tibet, a test of monks reaching a certain level of expertise in mindfulness would shock most people. High in the Himalayas, the monks sit outside in the snow with no protective clothing, and their teachers dip sheets into the icy river nearby and set the sheets on the shoulders of the monks sitting in the snow.
The monks in the snow go into a mindful meditation and visualize a fire and heat. They focus their minds on that picture without regard for the surroundings or judgments. As time goes on, one can see steam rising from the shoulders of the monks as the sheets begin to dry rather than freeze.Mindfulness Makes You Powerful Click To Tweet
Fascinated with this phenomenon, researchers brought a group of monks to the U.S. to study. Sure enough, they discovered that the monks could change their metabolism through mindfulness. Their rate of oxygen use decreased. They could increase their body temperature. The wet sheet experiment was tested in a lab and the steam coming off the sheets was videotaped. The room temperature was reduced until a normal citizen would have suffered from hypothermia. And they could still do it.
Powerful, huh? Anyways, these were the 11 powerful things Mindfulness can help you with.
If you’re eager to get started, I just came up with these two exercises:
#12 – BONUS: Two Mindfulness Exercises You Can Do NOW
1. One Minute Breathing
For one minute, focus on your breath. Watch/feel your breath moving in and out of your body. Let your body tell you the right timing rather than trying to control your breath. Feel your muscles and let them relax. What it does: Slows your heart rate and thinking to give you a one-minute vacation from your worries. Puts you in closer harmony with your body and spirit.
2. Tune In
Listen to any sound in the environment without judgment. it could be a bird, car alarm, cars going by on the freeway… whatever. If it’s something too annoying, focus on something else. Do this for 30 seconds. What it does: makes you aware of your environment and your true place in it. Allows you the power and time to focus on sounds, making you more aware and sensitive, increases cognitive awareness and appreciation of your environment.
Now that you had a glimpse of the positive impact it can have in your life go check out Whispers of Joy, our Mindfulness Program. You’re going to love what you’ll achieve. Only for those who are serious about living a happier life thru Mindfulness.
To sum it all up, mindfulness can do a lot for you, and that’s proven scientifically.
It can concretely help you:
- Make better, smarter decisions and increase brain power
- Get better sleep
- Get a better sex life
- Slow down neurodegenerative diseases
- Make you more compassionate
- Deal with negative environments
- Make you more creative
- Relieve your back pain, neck aches, and other painful body parts.
- Ease stress, anxiety and depression
- Reduce loneliness
- Unleash more power than you ever thought you had.
Now it’s your turn…
I’d love to know how great are your results with Mindfulness, please do share! Or maybe you have questions you’d like to ask, or share your feedback about the post, please do so. We build the Inspower Community together. Don’t be shy, leave your comments below please.