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19.09.2013
One of the most well-known and utilized tools in meditation and yoga is the practice of self-observation without judgment, or mindfulness. Mindfulness, something once practiced only in more closeted meditation circles, has recently become a greater mainstream interest.
However tenuous these preliminary studies are, they are augmented by current neuroscientific research that reveals how mindfulness meditation can significantly change the brain.
Mindfulness training has a notable impact on the limbic system, or the emotional system of the brain. Perhaps even more intriguing, however, is that mindfulness can actually change the size the amygdala.
Findings also show that mindfulness practices help the person reduce emotional reactivity by increasing activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Neuroscientific research has also found that mindfulness meditation changes how we experience ourselves in the world. While the cushion is helpful in mindfulness meditation, mindfulness can be practiced at any time and in any situation.
It has been a considerable period of time since I discussed the M Effect and reversing the negative influences of daily life and the ageing process.
Exercise is an effective physical means of managing stress but there are a number of psychological processes that can also be used. Mindfulness has only recently been embraced by Western society, despite being an ancient and highly successful psychological practice embraced in a number of Eastern philosophies, such as Buddhism, Jainism and Yoga.
In essence, mindfulness is the capacity to view something as it really is, devoid of prejudice, personal feeling or influence. Notwithstanding this, Meditation is an important part of mindfulness and they both have common objectives. Mindfulness is a broad and extremely diverse subject, which is hard enough for someone to grasp on a broad scale, never mind being able to perfect. Right mindfulness is the seventh path of the Buddhist Noble Eightfold path, which is the essence of the Buddhist practise.
The eightfold path consists of Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.
One of the most concise explanations of what Mindfulness Meditation isn’t comes from Mindfulness In Plain English by H. We all come to our first experience of mindfulness meditation with a mind full of hopes, fears and expectations. Even before we sit down on the mat, cushion or chair a million thoughts run through our mind, “Is this for me? A lot of people think that when they meditate they should feel something special and if they don’t they must being doing something wrong.
Mindfulness isn’t solely about being aware, or watching our breathing or seeing the rise and fall of our thoughts.
Have you ever been driving home or to work and you arrive there and for the life of you you can’t remember the journey. Mindfulness is about bringing your complete attention to the present experience on a moment to moment basis. With mindfulness, with that compassionate awareness we see that there is a world of thoughts and passions within us.
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Mental Workout’s Mindfulness Meditation app for iPhone, Android, and the web now has a group facilitation guide, enabling its users to form in-person “study groups” to learn and practice mindfulness meditation together with friends and colleagues.
Meditation groups can be an invaluable support in developing a mindfulness practice, The group facilitation guide ensures that they’re conducted according to the highest standards, in keeping with the true spirit and intention of mindfulness practice. Mental Workout®, a company that brings together the power of mobile technology and the benefits of psychology, today released a group facilitation guide for its Mindfulness Meditation app. Now anyone with an interest in hosting a meditation group and spreading the benefits of mindfulness can easily organize and facilitate a group, using the app, without years of training. The guide is designed for individuals who simply want to form a meditation group with friends and for businesses of all sizes looking for an effective and cost-efficient way to set up groups for their employees. Scientific studies have convincingly proven the benefits of mindfulness meditation in reducing stress and promoting happiness and overall wellbeing. The facilitator guide and certification cost $499, which includes 10 licenses to the Mindfulness Meditation app (a $170 value).
Mental Workout is bringing together the power of mobile technology and the benefits of psychology to improve people’s lives and empower them to reach their highest potential. Reach out to the author: contact and available social following information is listed in the top-right of all news releases.
Swami Kripalu called self-observation without judgment "the highest form of spiritual practice." Likewise, if you go to any yoga or meditation class you're likely to hear words like mindfulness and nonjudgmental awareness repeated throughout the class. Perhaps for this reason, research on mindfulness meditation has increased considerably over the last decade.
And these changes are not just seen in cave-dwelling monks -- they also occur in average hardworking, child-raising folks -- like most of us. Specifically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce activity in the amygdala, a region of the brain that determines how much stress we experience and that is central in modulating our fear responses. One study on overstressed businesspeople found that after eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training, the size of the amygdala actually shrunk compared to those who were not practicing mindfulness.


The PFC, a brain region particular to homo sapiens, which is in charge of activities such as decision-making, planning, abstract thinking, and regulating emotions. Specifically, a study showed that mindfulness practice increased activity in the PFC such that attention span improved. It teaches us to notice how the body feels, right now, paying attention to the breath and observing, without grasping onto our current state of mind.
Through mindfulness practice, activity in the CMS, the part of the brain related to our personal narrative decreased, and activity in the insula, the part of the brain related to subjective awareness and body awareness, increased.
Mindfulness is an opportunity for the brain to strengthen and enhance itself -- it's like taking the brain to the gym. In every moment, we can choose to bring our attention back to the present and to know that when we do, we are actively involved in shaping our brains to foster more peace and inner ease.
Healthy lifestyle choices and fitness, are vital components on the positive side of the scale but mental wellness and state of mind, can also play a crucial role on long term wellbeing. I have become increasingly interested in mindfulness as a psychological therapy, which has become extremely popular in recent times.
Focussing on the present helps to reduce stress and at the same time boost emotional intelligence and improve productivity.
If done correctly, it can reduce stress, treat depression, improve overall health and even enhance performance. There are, however, a series of basic exercises that can be undertaken to start  developing the skills of mindfulness practice. Mindful Breathing – The exercise is simply to focus on our breathing and to be acutely aware that the in-breath is an in-breath and the out-breath is an out-breath. Concentration – This involves following the act of breathing from the beginning to the end. Releasing tension – When we become aware of our body, we also awaken to the tension and pain that exists, as well as the stress. Walking Meditation – The final exercise is mindful walking and involves bringing our mind home to your body and being totally aware of each step as well as our surroundings.
Some of the benefits that have been identified include stress relief, improved self-esteem, physical plus emotional wellbeing, increased self-awareness and acceptance as well as a general improvement in health. I also learnt a fair bit whilst researching this topic and hope that I can take something from what I have learnt. This process will help to lay the foundations of your practice and give you a clear understanding of mindfulness. Whether or not mindfulness meditation is going to help you become stress free, give you greater focus, or help you feel whole again. But in reality mindfulness and the practice as a whole peels back the layers of mind-stuff to reveal the deep calm and tranquility that lives within us already.
Thoughts, feelings, events are like clouds passing along and in front of our consciousness.
This guide enables users to learn and practice mindfulness meditation by following the app in a study group setting with friends and colleagues. Facilitators complete a brief certification process consisting of a 2-hour webinar or in-person course plus a quiz, and follow clear-cut guidelines provided by Mental Workout’s mindfulness expert, Stephan Bodian, based on more than 40 years practicing and teaching mindfulness meditation. It offers an 8- to 12-week plan with daily or weekly group sessions and includes guidelines for conducting group meetings, an opening statement for each meeting, a FAQ to enable the facilitator to respond to questions, and relevant email templates. Recent research using the latest imaging technology has found that regular mindfulness practice actually grows more gray matter in regions of the brain associated with positive emotions, attention and memory, cognitive processing, stress management, empathy, and emotional integration.
The fee covers certification for 1 year after which a re-certification is offered for a fee of $99.
Even the National Institutes of Health has grown increasingly more interested in mindfulness meditation, funding a number of large studies which investigate the effects of mindfulness on emotional and physical health outcomes. For example, people with very active amygdalae tend to experience more depression and anxiety.
People with post-traumatic stress disorder, for example, have an overactive amygdala and an underactive PFC. Another study revealed that mindfulness increased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex -- a part of the brain that is closely connected to the PFC and is correlated with empathy and decision-making. We obsess about the future, we dwell on that conversation we had with our spouse last week, or last year, and we remain entrenched in the storyline of our life. By definition, mindfulness moves us away from our personal narrative about how our life should be and into how life actually is, moment to moment. Researchers postulate that this may contribute to some of the subjective benefits of mindfulness practice: When we move out of the story of our lives and into the actual lived experience of it, we feel better. From our experience of working with health-care professionals -- some of the most highly stressed individuals in today's workforce -- you don't need to spend hours on a meditation cushion to reap the benefits of these practices. From this view, a touch of mindfulness practice each day becomes a tremendous investment in our physical, mental, and emotional health. Stress and a poor state of mind can lead to many health related problems and increases the risk of obesity, heart problems, diabetes, accelerated ageing, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and a host of other life threatening maladies. For example, meditation requires us to sit, whereas mindfulness can be brought into any daily activity. The objective of mindful breathing is to block out thoughts from our mind and to remove mental discourse. Inhale and concentrate on tracking the breath all the way through and then do the same when exhaling.
It is important to release this stress and tension by relaxing in a comfortable sitting, lying or even, a standing position.


There are vast benefits that can be derived from mindfulness and as such, it should become part of our daily lives. Or maybe something you weren’t expecting like back pain, numbness, or a million thoughts a second. It’s not going to solve all your problems, get rid of all your stress or give you super-powers to see into the future. Thoughts and feeling arise and staying within our present moment awareness we acknowledge what is.
The guide is designed to provide what no app can deliver by itself – in-person peer support and community. This course of instruction is intended to maintain the integrity and quality you expect from Mental Workout’s Mindfulness Meditation app. Users can choose how they engage and receive personalized content based on their unique profile and situation, and they can access their programs seamlessly on all their devices by using the same account details. In those eight weeks, subjects were actually able to change their brain and, consequently, reduce their stress.
As these regions show more activation, subjects tend to report greater emotional stability and less reactivity. Researchers call this the "default network" and it's dominated by cortical midline structures (CMS). Our participants experience results with just five minutes a day of seated breath-awareness meditation or 10 minutes of mindful chair yoga. It is a totally open but focused state of mind and awareness, of which meditation is a single component, utilised to develop the desired condition. Another distinct difference, is that meditation is focused within the body as opposed to mindfulness, which is focused on our surroundings. This results in mindfulness becoming uninterrupted, and the quality of concentration will improve.
Like a person standing on the shore gazing in silent wonder at the rise and fall of the ocean. We hold the moment within our awareness because we have the compassionate and curious power to do so.
The app is required for all group participants for in-between sessions and after the group ends, and can also be used stand-alone by those employees who prefer not to join a group.
Aggregate usage data enables Mental Workout and its experts to improve the experience and effectiveness over time.
It is arguably these changes that contribute to many of the benefits reported by current research.
While this "default network" has its benefit, when we spend too much time in self-referential thinking, especially if we are caught up in negative thinking, it can lead to poor emotional and behavioral outcomes, including depression and anxiety.
The way you laid them out, the 5 exercises for improving mindfulness seem very doable… Big thanks for sharing this! Just as you wouldn't expect to see much benefit if you went to the gym only once a week, the same is true of mindfulness training.
Most things can be done in a mindful manner, ranging from eating mindfully to learning, working and exercising mindfully.
And that awareness, that insight into the inner workings of our minds gives us the keys to our freedom. He further adds, “Important part of mindfulness is reestablishing the connection with our body and sensations it experiences. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment”In our daily fast paced lives, it is easy to stop noticing the world around us be detached with the way our body feels or experiences. And over time we’re no longer ruled by the goings on of the external or internal worlds. We end up being caught in our thoughts and not noticing how those thoughts is driving our emotions and behavior in the present moment. Most often these thoughts are of incidents that have happened in the past or anticipation about the future. Mindfulness practice teaches awareness, to be aware of our thoughts, whatever they may be and be fully present in the moment.Mindfulness is a form of meditation, where in you are practicing to be fully aware and focused in moment. It would seem very obvious or too simple to have this awareness or being in full control of your thoughts, but it is not.
A very good analogy is standing on the curb and watching the cars pass by, where cars are your thoughts. As a simple task, try closing your eyes and just try not to think anything or focus on your breathing. You will notice that in the span of 5 minutes, your mind would have wandered off into different thoughts before you even realized or were aware of. Over the decades, we are trained to live our life, chasing future or pondering over the past.
Ironically only thing that we have in our control is this “moment”, Past has already happened and future is unknown. Yet, we forget this and spend days, months, years clogging our mind with contemplations, analyses, worries and speculations.Mindfulness is a form of meditation where we try and live the present, with a simple goal of “being aware”. Mindfulness meditation is grounded on rational and scientific plane and now there are many studies and trials that have shown to have a significant impact on various issues like OCD, PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, etc.Whatever maybe your goal, dedicating 10 minutes of your daily life to a formal practice of mindfulness meditation can greatly bring that mental peace and awareness.



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