Over the last years there has been growing interest in mindfulness within the professional and scientific communities, wide spread media coverage, bestselling books and uptake of online resources.
Mindfulness is a skill that can be learnt and you can choose how and when to apply it. Practicing mindfulness helps us to enrich our lives, and also provides us with the tools of effectively dealing with modern problems.
By practising mindfulness we strengthen the pre-frontal cortex of our brain that plays a vital role in what we call “executive functioning, “which allows us to do things on purpose, plan for the future, make decisions, and handle strong feelings more efficiently. As we practice mindfulness we strengthen areas of our brain that help us improve:
- Recovery from stress
- Emotional balance and maturity, being aware of our feelings but not basing all of our decision and behaviours solely on them
- Improved communication and relationship skills
- Response flexibility as we develop more flexibility in how we choose to respond to a situation rather than being dominated by unconscious reactions
- Insight as we become more aware of our own thoughts, feelings and behaviours, as well as their consequences
- Fear modulation
- Morality as we live more in tune with our ethics and values
Links: be mindful website (website of the Mental Health Foundation), www.themindfulnessinitiative.org.uk (they host a report by the Mindfulness All –Party Parliamentary Group (MAPPG) published October 2015