By June 24, 2010 0 Comments

Mindfulness Increases Well-being

Photo by Shahriar Erfanian at NineteenMonths.com

In our pervasive ‘age of anxiety’, mindfulness-based clinical approaches to treatment are fast gaining recognition as among the most highly effective in addressing a wide range of emotional and psychological suffering, such as depression, anxiety, some personality disorders, etc.

Recent neuroscience research shows that meditation and contemplative spiritual practices tend to develop and strengthen a particular part of the brain, the medial prefrontal cortex, so that the more active that higher brain area becomes, the less people experience themselves as subject to the strong emotional reactions that we share with all mammals.

Along these same lines, the ancient healing practice of yoga has been recognized as highly effective in helping us learn to quiet our ‘monkey minds’ (as the Buddha referred to ordinary daily mental activity), and to access our inner wisdom. Those of you who have worked with me know the power of deep breathing to release ‘hare-brain’ compulsive thinking and to clear the way to more mindful self-understanding.

Nationally known yoga teachers like Amy Weintraub (www.yogafordepression.com) have developed successful approaches to address depression and anxiety through breath, stretching, and relaxation. Yoga and Eastern martial arts are wonderful antidotes to what appears to be the generic underlying cause for much of our ordinary suffering – a mind addicted to fear-based, overactive, compulsive thinking. As you will see in the research below, which was brought to my attention my Amy Weintraub’s newsletter, mindfulness-based yoga and meditation practices are now being found to increase immunity and stimulate the body’s resilience.

Enhanced Psychosocial Well-Being Following Participation in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program Is Associated with Increased Natural Killer Cell Activity

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