Mindfulness Practice Improves Mental and Physical Health

Mindfulness Practice Improves Mental and Physical Health

Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Utah reviewed published studies of mindfulness-based practices and found definitive mental and physical health benefits.  The study is published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice.

Mindfulness is “the practice of learning to focus attention on moment-by-moment experience with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance.”

Another description is “practicing mindfulness is simply experiencing the present moment, without trying to change anything.”

Researchers assessed three popular techniques:

  • Zen meditation, a Buddhist spiritual practice that involves the practice of developing mindfulness by meditation, typically focusing on awareness of breathing patterns.
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a secular method of using Buddhist mindfulness, combining meditation with elements of yoga and education about stress and coping strategies.
  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), which combines MBSR with principles of cognitive therapy (for example, recognizing and disengaging from negative thoughts) to prevent relapse of depression.

Investigators discovered that MBSR and MBCT can help to relieve general psychological distress and ease depression and anxiety.

Researchers also discovered that both MBSR and MBCT are effective adjunctive treatments for anxiety.

The findings also support the effectiveness of MBSR to help reduce stress and promote general psychological health in patients with various medical or psychiatric illnesses.

On its own, MBSR was helpful in managing stress and promoting general psychological health in healthy people. There was also evidence that Zen meditation and MBSR were useful adjunctive treatments for pain management.

Go to HealThySelfNow.com and view the Stress Management Course and Consciousness Hygiene Course under Free Health Courses for free online guides on the subject with additional resources.