Research over the past 35 years has consistently shown that people who complete the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course and develop a mindfulness practice experience physical and psychological health benefits. These include improved immune system function, decreased blood pressure and migraine frequency, reduced systemic inflammation, and improved coping with pain and illness. Other benefits include decreased anxiety and depression and improved cognitive function. Practicing mindfulness helped physicians and other health care providers better cope with stress and it led to decreased rates of burnout; it also helped them better communicate, connect and care for their patients and improved their quality of life.
Body-Building for Your Brain
It’s hard to believe that something so easy can be so powerful. “Mindfulness looks like you are not doing anything, but when we watch the brain in these studies, we see greater integration of function,” says Dr. Dan Siegel, neuroscientist (UCLA School of Medicine) and author of the book The Mindful Brain.You can literally change your brain with mindfulness meditation! Dr. Sara Lazar (Harvard School of Medicine) and her colleagues have shown that mindfulness meditation can improve brain function by increasing gray matter in brain areas associated with learning, memory, concentration, emotion regulation, and empathy.