The Miracle Cure of Mindfulness
By Chris Brown
Modern-day mindfulness isn't just for the Zen-like hermit or spiritual guru but can improve the health, productivity, and overall life of even the most secular businessperson. Mindfulness, in short, means focusing your awareness away from the worries of the past or future and onto the present moment. The most well-known mindfulness practice is meditation. However, everything from controlled breathing to yoga can be considered exercises in mindfulness. Learning to be more mindful in your daily life has a number of real-world, measurable health benefits.
Reduced depression and anxiety - A type of group therapy called "mindfulness-based cognitive therapy" incorporates mindfulness activities like meditation, yoga, and body scan exercises, and has shown to be as effective at treating and preventing depression as anti-depressant medication. The same is true for anxiety, where mindfulness therapy was "highly-effective" in treating anxiety, according to a 2016 study.
Stabilized emotional states - A key contributor to depression is an inability to regulate one's emotional state. Mindfulness strengthens your ability to stay calm by altering the emotional-reaction centers of the brain, according to neuroimaging.
Improved memory - Participants of a 2019 study not only showed improvements in short-term memory following four-weeks of mindfulness training, brain scans found that they also underwent physical changes in their hippocampus (the memory center of the brain).
Protects against cognitive decline - Mindfulness's ability to improve memory and attention span is thought to be the causal reason behind its benefits in improving cognition for Alzheimer's patients and preventing age-related cognitive decline (according to two studies from 2016 and 2017).
Stronger immune system - Various studies have found increased levels of T-cells and interleukin-10 (disease fighting cells and proteins used by the immune system) following multi-week mindfulness programs. These suggest that mindfulness boosts the resting immune system, allowing for quicker identification and elimination of diseases.
Extended lifespan - The length and condition of our telomeres (proteins that protect age-related, genetic code degradation) can determine our cellular (and personal) aging. Long-term mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce telomere shortening while increasing telomere activity and integrity in our cells. This translates to reduced cellular aging on a body-wide level and, potentially, an increased lifespan.
Live a longer, healthier, more mentally stable life by adding mindfulness exercises to your daily routine. A simple 10-minute meditation can have life-altering effects -- just don't expect them all at once. It takes a patient consistency of practice to experience the true power of mindfulness. However, once the effects take hold, the life improvements will be well worth the time taken.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Simi Valley, Calif.