Mindfulness Meditation practice can have benefits in many different areas of your life. Research points to connections between e.g. mindfulness and peak performance, mindfulness and relationship quality, mindfulness and physical health, mindfulness and emotional reactivity, and mindfulness and mental health. This article provides a snapshot of some of the research.
Mindfulness and peak performance
To achieve peak performance, at work or at play, you obviously need to be fully present in the moment where/when you perform. But this can be difficult, since you are constantly bombarded with distractions from the surroundings. Emails, social media alerts, and text messages, all try to take your attention off the task at hand. So, not only do people mostly under-perform, but they also rarely give themselves the optimal circumstances for learning from their mistakes.
In order to learn from your mistakes, you need to be present to what you are doing. You need to be fully aware of what is happening in your activities, and also of what the outcome is of each activity. For this to be at all possible, you need to be able to keep our attention in the present moment. But in general that is something people struggle to do. Apparently, Microsoft have established that the average attention span for a human being – certainly in front of a computer screen – is about 8 seconds! Shorter than that of a goldfish, in other words. Not a good starting point for peak performance.
Human beings are so, so easily distracted. A study, reported in Science magazine a few years ago, found that people’s minds are wandering 47% of the time, rather than being focused on what they are doing. And if this wasn’t bad enough, the researchers also found that the more people’s minds wander, the less happy they are! Daydreaming about being happy is NOT the same as actually being happy!
Mindfulness meditation practice is explicitly training your mind to be present in the moment, to maintain your attention on the task at hand, and hence to achieve peak performance. A study published in the Consciousness and Cognition journal, for example, found that meditators performed significantly better than non-meditators on all measures of attention. Mindfulness appears to be intimately linked to improvements of attentional functions and cognitive flexibility.
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation practice
Other than to achieve peak performance, benefits of Mindfulness Meditation practice also show up in many other areas of our lives.
Two studies published in the Journal of Marital Family Therapy found that couples with higher mindfulness scores also showed higher scores for relationship satisfaction and greater capacity to respond constructively to relationship stress. They also demonstrated better communicationquality in discussions.
Enhanced physical health
Even a short course in Mindfulness Meditation can have demonstrable effects on brain andimmune function, as a study published in the Journal for Psychosomatic Medicine showed. Other studies, see articles on my website, have also demonstrated that Mindfulness practice decreases the risk of heart failure.
Decreased emotional reactivity
A thorough research project published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience involved functional MRI scans on subjects that were exposed to emotional triggers. What they found was that even brief Mindfulness Meditation training can decrease the intensity of emotional reactions – not only while in a meditative state, but also in everyday life situations!
Improved mental health
There is an overwhelming number of research studies that have established the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation practice in helping people who struggle with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. A preferable option to many, as it is no less effective than pharmaceutics and have no negative side-effects. Again, you can find several articles on this subject on my website.
Learning mindfulness meditation
People learn mindfulness meditation for many different reasons. Perhaps none of the benefits of Mindfulness Meditation practice mentioned above are exciting enough for you, but what about better sleep, being in harmony in your day-to-day life, peace of mind? Would that be of interest to you?
Of course it would!
You can read more about mindfulness on the mindfulness page, or you can read more articles about mindfulness and meditation on my main Integrating Awareness website. And if you are interested in learning the practice of mindfulness meditation, click on this link now to find out more about the Integrating Awareness Meditation Course.
This course has evolved out of 30 years of practice and research. It integrates profound traditional mindfulness meditation techniques into an easy-to-follow formula that anyone can learn and practise. The course is equally suited to beginners as to long-time meditators.