We’ve got to a point where science is able to prove what long term meditators have known for centuries — that the benefits of mindfuness and meditation are incredibly good for you. It has now been scientifically proven that practising meditation regularly can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. While this may be true, it should be looked at objectively and meditation alone should never be used to cure a serious illness that requires medical treatment.
Several studies have shown that regular meditation practise is effective for balancing high blood pressure. It has often been said that having good self-compassion is vital to preventing depression or overcoming depression.
There is now solid evidence that suggests that mindfulness meditation really does help to combat anxiety and help worriers to calm their thoughts.
Studies have shown that when people meditate, the areas of the brain responsible for processing empathy become highly active. The buzz of mobile phones, computer monitors and sounds of the city 24 hours a day can mean that many of us rarely switch off or take even five minutes out to do nothing. How many times have you let a jealous or angry thought consume you until it takes over and the problem is blown completely out of proportion? Meditation can also be used to heal old psychological wounds, unresolved issues and trauma; however, it would be best to see a trained therapist as well as practising meditation if this is the case. If you’ve ever felt that there is more to life than we currently experience in day to day life – whether you believe in a God, life force, higher power… or not, meditation can help you experience different levels of consciousness, states of being and connectedness to the World around you. Studies have shown that people who meditate regularly have increased amounts of an enzyme called telomerase in their white blood cells.
It is thought that meditation gives people a greater sense of meaning and purpose in life which leads to a feeling of a greater sense of control and happiness which results in more of the anti-ageing enzyme, telomerase being produced.
What began as one of the seven factors of enlightenment according to Buddhist teachings, Mindfulness Meditation is quickly spreading throughout Western society as a way to become more focused and relaxed mentally. Scientific research has confirmed many of the benefits of Mindfulness including motivation, empathy, and the regulation of emotions. In its simplest terms, Mindfulness involves living in the present moment, and paying special attention to whatever it is you are currently doing. As you eat the apple, free your mind from external distractions, such as what you need to do at work later in the day, or what you’ll wear to work.
This practice should be extended to all aspects of your life to maximize your focus on the task at hand.
It may not be possible for many of us to do this during the entire day, but it’s important to take at least a few minutes of every day to be present in the moment.
Mindfulness can easily be practiced by virtually anyone, at any time of the day, and it is recommended to be incorporated into everyone’s daily routine. Crammed schedules and an over commitment of time have led to a society filled with stress and depression today.

Cognitive Behavioral Techniques are now incorporating Mindfulness into daily practice because the research shows it works. Below is an infographic about Mindfulness Meditation from Health Central that how it works and what it helps.
As you can see from the information presented above, the benefits of Mindfulness show great promise from a holistic viewpoint for everyone.
I used to think that the practice of “mindful meditation” was exclusively the preserve of yogis, Buddhists and New Age hippies fresh back from an extended voyage of self-discovery around Asia. A recent review paper (in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, no less) evaluating the flurry of scientific investigations into the possible benefits of practicing mindfulness that have accumulated over the past ten years or so, has given me a fresh perspective.
Mindfulness is actually a very simple concept to grasp, if only we’d give it a half chance. These thoughts tend to focus on the past and the future: conversations, experiences and interactions that occurred in the past and hopes, ambitions, fears and other concerns regarding the future.
There are many different ways of achieving a mindful brain state but typically the beginner is encouraged to start by focusing on their breath. When thoughts pop into your head, as they invariably will, the idea is not to block them or force them out, but simply to acknowledge them without engaging too deeply; focusing attention back on your breath, or touch sensations in a certain body part. It sounds extremely simple (too straightforward to result in any meaningful benefits surely?!) but most of us are ingrained with deeply entrenched habits of thought such as worrying about events in the past or future or perpetually seeking some form of stimulation that it can take a while to achieve the goal of quiet contemplation of bodily sensations for more than 20 or 30 seconds at a time. If you love science geekery then my weekly science podcast Geek Chic’s Weird Science may well be right up your alley. AboutThis website contains everything you need to know about Dr Jack Lewis – brain scientist, television presenter, motivational speaker, writer and neuroscience consultant. You will find showreels, reviews of books and brain training products, tips on getting the most out of your brain, updates on television projects and a repository of brainposts describing groundbreaking developments in brain science made relevant, compelling and accessible for one and all (see Categories). If you require Dr Jack’s input as a presenter, consultant or speaker on a science-related topic, click here and get in touch! So, just taking as little as five to 10 minutes out of your daily routine to do nothing but focus on your breath or observe your thoughts can have  profound impacts on your health, well-being and long term happiness.
Studies have shown that the areas in the brain responsible for developing self-compassion and compassion for others, become more developed when you practise meditation regularly. Meditation works by increasing activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (an area at the front of your brain) which is thought to be responsible for triggering anxiety. Mindful meditation and taking time out to observe your thought patterns, will help you to view your thoughts and emotions objectively.
Meditation brings the balance back so you don’t end up being a slave to your thoughts and emotions. Telomerase is basically an anti-ageing enzyme responsible for the health of the chromosomes and cells in your body.
People of all ages and all walks of life can realize the mental and physical benefits of Mindfulness.

If you’re eating an apple, closely examine the color and texture of its flesh, the smell, and the crunch as you bite into it. As you become more in tune with the present, you will experience better concentration and more enjoyment of all aspects of your life. Being present in the here and now, free from distraction, can be a freeing and enlightening experience to a person, and will continue to spread throughout a person’s outlook on both work and play. But taking time out, even if only a few minutes a day to reflect on the present, can work wonders on the mind and body. Often times, it’s the simplest things that have the greatest impact on our health and well-being.
If you’ve ever found yourself caught up in a conversation with an over-enthusiastic traveler fresh back from their adventures you’ll know what I mean.
From the moment we wake to the moment we go back to sleep our minds are cluttered with innumerable thoughts.
Mindfulness encourages the development of attention directing and emotional regulating capacities that enable us to focus on the present moment.
They are asked to breath deeply, in and out, right into the belly to ensure their diaphragm is being used to full effect. But for those who stick at it – regularly, intensively and consistently over many weeks and months – and gradually build their ability to stay in this mindful state for 5, 15, 30, 60 mins at a time, a wide variety of benefits are achievable.
It’s available on iTunes, audioboom, libsyn and podbay, with the delectable Lliana Bird who presents every Fri and Sat nights on Radio X. Such folk have usually undergone a wholesale transformation from fairly conventional individuals into barefoot, sandalwood-scented, Thai-dyed, hemp shirt and trousers wearing, bead bracelet bedecked eccentrics who preach the stupidity of capitalism and the supremacy of the compassionate mind-set at any and all available opportunities.
Ultimately, by getting in the habit of focusing on what we target with our conscious awareness, rather than just allowing ourselves to be buffeted by whatever stimuli, thoughts or feelings happen to flicker through our minds, we can achieve a greater self-awareness.
Whilst performing these simple actions they are regularly reminded to bring their attention back to their breath whenever the mind wanders elsewhere, to notice the cool air passing in through the nostrils on the inhale and the warm air passing out again on the exhale.
And the latest neuroscience studies into mindfulness are homing in on what it going on inside the brain as a result of all this practice. After a few minutes of this, you are usually instructed to re-direct the focus of your attention on different body parts, moving systematically around the body.
Notice the feeling of clothing on skin, upward pressure of the floor (or the chair) on your buttocks – move your mind’s eye from your toes, gradually up through the legs, into hips, up your back, across your shoulders and down your arms to your finger tips.

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