The mind and body are inseparable. We know the choices we make regarding diet, exercise, and sleep positively or negatively affect our mental states. It only follows that the reverse is true.
Some of the most powerful benefits of mindfulness relate to changes proven to take place in our brains. Research shows that even short-term mindfulness programs enhance the part of the brain associated with working memory and attention. This means we have the power to change our brains to increase focus and concentration. In addition, when we focus our attention on the present moment, we are happier, have less anxiety and have an increased sense of well-being.
Scientific studies reveal that mindfulness meditation can:
- Reduce the frequency and intensity of chronic pain
- Lower anxiety and stress
- Improve mood associated with depression
- Improve sleep
- Reduce inflammation
- Boost immunity
Studies with college school students show that mindfulness training enhances working memory and test-taking performance. Just a two-week mindfulness training program reduced mind wandering and improved GRE scores in reading comprehension and working memory.
Similarly, researchers testing mindfulness with the military found a brief mindfulness training program offered during high-stress pre-deployment periods resulted in higher levels of working memory.
The science behind mindfulness is well documented, and the results are clear. We have a capacity to build our mindfulness muscle with a goal to improve overall health and well-being.