Why use Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a practice that makes it possible to cultivate and develop certain basic positive human qualities in the same way as other forms of training make it possible to play a musical instrument or acquire any other skill. It can help us to better recognise and understand the dysfunctional aspects of ourselves and to break out of the vicious cycle of negative behaviour patterns.
Mindfulness meditation can transform our experience of the world and enable us to better manage in times of stress, anxiety, fear and other negative emotional states. In addition, studies have shown that meditation has beneficial effects on our physical and mental health. For the last ten years, intensive studies on meditation and its long- and short-term effects on the brain have been conducted.
Among other things, experiments have shown that the region of the brain associated with mental states like compassion exhibits considerably greater activity among persons who have long meditative experience than among those who do not. These discoveries demonstrate that certain human qualities can be deliberately cultivated through mental training. Richard Davidson, a leading neuroscientist, acknowledges: “These studies seem to demonstrate that the brain can be trained and physically modified in a way that few people would have imagined.”
Other scientific investigations have shown that you do not have to be a highly trained meditator to benefit from the effects of Mindfulness Meditation. Even 20 minutes of daily practice can contribute significantly to the reduction of stress. It also reduces anxiety, the tendency toward anger and the risk of relapse for people who have previously undergone episodes of serious depression. It has been identified that just eight weeks of mindfulness meditation (of the type known as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, or MBSR) for 30 minutes a day, significantly strengthens the immune system, reinforces positive emotions and the faculty of attention, reduces arterial pressure in those suffering from high blood pressure, and accelerates the healing of psoriasis.
By using Mindfulness practice and regular meditation we can train our mind to work in a constructive manner–for example, by replacing obsession with contentment, agitation with calmness, resentment with acceptance or hatred with kindness. Mindfulness meditation can bring significant and lasting functional and structural changes in the brain. Mindfulness, altruism, and other basic human qualities can be cultivated and developed. In general, if we engage repeatedly in Mindfulness practice, modifications in the neuronal system of the brain can be observed within a month.
Therefore, it is highly beneficial for our mental and physical well-being to adopt a practice of Mindful Living and to include mindfulness meditation in our practice on a regular basis.