As simple as mindfulness can be to incorporate into your daily life, it is backed up by hundreds of years of empirical practice and dozens of studies that reflect the stunning health benefits of living in the present without judgment.
Doctors and researchers led by Dr. Jeffrey Greeson at the Duke University Medical Center launched a project in 2008 that reviewed 52 prominent studies about the health benefits and side effects of mindfulness. The review showed overwhelmingly that mindfulness can dramatically increase quality of life, reduce stress, strengthen your immune system, cause better eating, and even improve your quality of sleep.
For new mothers, these are some of the first things that suffer, and practicing mindfulness can be a great way to stay healthy during the transition to motherhood!
Neuroscientists believe that mindfulness is one of the most powerful tools an individual can harness to improve their lives. Dr. Daniel Siegel, published a book called The Mindful Brain in 2007. In the book, Siegel presents some of the research done in his field proving that mindful awareness and incorporating mindfulness into your daily life can change deeply rooted beliefs that we have about who we are and how the world around us works. Mindfulness doesn’t just change how we see ourselves: it makes us better communicators and can make each of relationships healthier!
Siegel comments in The Mindful Brain that mindfulness is actually the root of most practicing psychotherapy. Carl Rogers, Ph.D., the founding father of client centered psychotherapy began incorporating this practice into his therapeutic techniques in the 1940s. He believed creating a safe space, without judgment for the client, was crucial to the healing process.
For us to be able to change and grow as individuals, we have to feel safe, and research has conclusively backed this idea. The relationship that you build between yourself and your therapist is the single most important factor in terms of predicting the successfulness of therapy.
Doctors like Dr. Ronald Epstein at the University of Rochester set out to prove that mindfulness is something that can affirmatively be taught and learned. Dr. Epstein believes that one can learn mindfulness by practicing intense self-observation, observation of the context around you, continued curiosity, and being present in the moment. Crucial to each of these steps is coming to a situation without any judgments or preconditions to burden you along the way.
Imagine that, if you practice mindfulness for just eight weeks for just 10 – 20 minutes a day, you’ll see benefits in improved mood and less tension in your body!
Stay tuned for Part Three: A Mindfulness Exercise