Mindfulness:

 

 

When awareness is cultivated by paying attention, on purpose, in present moment, non -judgementally

(Jon Kabat-Zinn).

  • aware of present moment

  • not swept up by prior expectations, judgements or thoughts where all is coloured through our likes and dislikes

  • without being imprisoned by the past or by worries about the future

  • without wanting it differently

 

Making space for the present moment leads to happiness and well-being. It is a prescription for unhappiness to always be somewhere else – in the past or future but not here now. We are so often driven by the urgent and miss the important and then we look elsewhere for the solution.

 

The science of mindfulness:

 

Paying attention changes the way the brain is wired, functions as well as the brain structure.  With repetition, an intentionally created state can become an enduring trait of the individual as reflected in long-term changes in brain function and structure. This is a fundamental property of neuroplasticity—how the brain changes in response to experience. 

 

Some benefits of mindfulness:

  • improvement in immune function, resilience, and an internal sense of stability and clarity

  • prevention of chronically relapsing depression

  • decreases burnout

  • improves decision making

  • decrease anxiety and binge eating

  • reduce perceived stress  

  • improve general well-being

  • less emotional reactivity and faster recovery from upsetting emotions

  • can also increase empathy 

 

Elizabeth Blackburn, is a professor of biology and physiology at UCSF. Blackburn shared the 2009 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine for discovering telomeres and telomerase.Telomeres are sequences of DNA at the end of chromosomes that tend to get shorter every time a cell divides. When telomeres drop below a critical length, the cell can no longer divide properly and eventually dies.

Telomerase is an enzyme that can rebuild and lengthen telomeres. Other studies suggest that telomerase activity may be a link between psychological stress and physical health.The research team measured telomerase activity in participants in the Shamatha Project at the end of a three-month intensive meditation retreat.  Telomerase activity was about one-third higher in the white blood cells of participants who had completed the retreat than in a matched group of controls.The retreat participants also showed increases in such beneficial psychological qualities as perceived control (over one's life and surroundings), mindfulness (being able to observe one's experience in a nonreactive manner) and purpose in life (viewing one's life as meaningful, worthwhile and aligned with long-term goals and values). In addition, they experienced decreased neuroticism, or negative emotionality.The researchers concluded that high telomerase activity was due to the beneficial effects of meditation on perceived control and neuroticism, which in turn were due to changes in mindfulness and sense of purpose.

 

 

Come and discuss how mindfulness can change your life. I offer individual or small group sessions on the power of mindfulness.

 

 

 

 

 

by Petro Booysen Creative living.

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