Achieving mindfulness through mediation can help you relax and even assist you in achieving a more fulfilling life. Recent fMRI studies have shown that this can be proven by looking at the brain itself; indeed, structures inside your brain tend to alter based on how much meditation one does! This is really neat stuff because it means you can change the way you think and process the world through a very simple practice!
What should the average person take away from your study?
Mindful self-awareness is a non-judgemental, present-moment awareness of body and contents of the mind. On the neural level, this form of awareness quietens regions related to inner speech, thinking about the self, and ruminating, while regions related to the perception of the body are activated. In our study we found that the neural pattern during mindful self and body awareness was stronger in less depressed, healthier individuals. Thus, mindful self-awareness seems to represent a particularly healthy mode of self-perception.
We also found – as expected – that neural activations related to mindful self-awareness were particularly strong in expert mindfulness meditators. More interestingly, we also show that when we instruct untrained participants to enter relatively short periods of mindful self-awareness in the MRI scanner, these patterns can also be seen in untrained participants.
This means, meditation training increases the ability to perceive the self in a more healthy, present-moment, body-centered way, but also that already in untrained individuals, short periods of mindful self-awareness are possible and offer the potential to enter a healthy self-perception state.
What’s the key to happiness? Not thinking about yourself.
Matthieu Ricard is a Tibetan Buddhist monk who has been deemed the world’s happiest man. Researchers scanned his brain to prove it. He has used his training to hone his brain to be ‘light’ and not carry burdens – something we can all learn from. A fundamental aspect of his approach is that he tries his best to not think about himself and to be as caring to others as he possibly can.
6. You can then use meditation to gain some space from negative emotions. Ricard says: ‘You can look at your experience like a fire that burns. If you are aware of anger you are not angry you are aware. Being aware of anxiety is not being anxious it is being aware.’ By being aware of these emotions you are no longer adding fuel to their fire and they will burn down.
7. You will see benefits in stress levels and general wellbeing as well as brain changes with regular practise in a month. Those who say they don’t have enough time to meditate should look at the benefits: ‘If it gives you the resources to deal with everything else during the other 23 hours and 30minutes, it seems a worthy way of sending 20 minutes,’ Ricard says
Mindfulness meditation is already pretty great, and it keeps getting better! Not only can it help you go amongst your day in a more thoughtful, productive, focussed manner, it can even help you sleep!
A six week trial of getting people who had trouble sleeping to mediate proved to help them get better rest.
Sleep disturbances are most prevalent among older adults and often go untreated. Treatment options for sleep disturbances remain limited, and there is a need for community-accessible programs that can improve sleep.
To determine the efficacy of a mind-body medicine intervention, called mindfulness meditation, to promote sleep quality in older adults with moderate sleep disturbances.
Conclusions and Relevance
The use of a community-accessible MAPs intervention resulted in improvements in sleep quality at immediate postintervention, which was superior to a highly structured SHE intervention. Formalized mindfulness-based interventions have clinical importance by possibly serving to remediate sleep problems among older adults in the short term, and this effect appears to carry over into reducing sleep-related daytime impairment that has implications for quality of life.