There’s an interesting piece in the Guardian this week about the beneficial health effects – both physical and mental – of “mindfulness meditation“.
3Di has consistently advocated the need for education and awareness – in schools and elsewhere – of meditation and of techniques for achieving “mindfulness”. This equates with what we call “personal intelligence” – knowledge of one’s inner self, awareness of strengths and weaknesses, inner thoughts and feelings, and so on. Personal intelligence, we believe, is an essential component of “emotional literacy”, as is the ability to become aware of inner thoughts, feelings and emotions, and the ability to let go of them.
We’ve also been consistent supporters of Goldie Hawn’s efforts to introduce mindfulness meditation into schools and homes through the Hawn Foundation’s MindUP programme and through Goldie’s book, “10 Mindful Minutes”. We urge anyone who’s interested in the benefits of meditation and its importance in education and personal development/personal health to read the four posts within our 3D Eye archive on this subject:
Mia Hansson says this:
Scientists have now discovered how mindfulness meditation can give patients control over levels of depression, anxiety and chronic pain.
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to give patients control over their own depression and anxiety levels and levels of chronic pain, according to a paper published earlier this month in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
Previous studies have found that mindfulness meditation can cut the recurrence of depression by 50%, and neuroimaging scans have shown significant positive change in brain activity of long-term meditators. But while scientists knew mindfulness was having an effect, they have not known how until now.
Catherine Kerr, lead author of the new study and director of translational neuroscience at Brown University in Providence, in the US, says that when we are depressed, attention is “consumed by negative preoccupations, thoughts and worries”. Instead of disengaging and moving on, we find ourselves digging deeper into negative thought patterns.
I came to mindfulness on a 10-day Buddhist meditation retreat in Thailand. Letting go of thought felt as impossible as tearing off a limb; particularly when the leg and back pains started from sitting cross-legged.
Years later, I came to see that it was unacknowledged emotions that gradually manifested as pain, on an emotional and sometimes physical level. Turning towards them, and accepting them fully, helped to resolve them.
Thankfully, the secular antidote that the NHS has rolled out is far easier than the one the Buddha taught. You don’t have to sit cross-legged, and the sessions, usually run by a clinical psychologist, take place once a week over a period of eight weeks.
Having recognised the health and cost benefits, some NHS trusts accept self-referrals, others accept referrals via GPs. The Mental Health Foundation, which has produced a list of some of the NHS-funded courses, estimates that as many as 30% of GPs now refer patients to mindfulness training.
However, these programmes are often bundled under “talking therapies” treatment, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is misleading since talking is exactly what mindfulness practitioners aren’t doing.