Breathing-space for your Brain – the science of mindfulness

 

mindfulness-at-work-compBy Celia Kozlowski – science writer

Celia Kozlowski is a freelance science writer and editor based in Somerset who completed the Mindfulness-based stress reduction training at The Terrace in Taunton and has written, through the ‘scientific lens’, how mindfulness works.

The World War II slogan is everywhere these days—tee shirts, mugs,: Keep Calm and Carry On . But how do we do that amidst a high-stress life? A popular answer is “Mindfulness.”

The U.S. Marines are testing mindfulness to help soldiers function better under fire. Studies suggest mindfulness training may help prevent or improve recovery from combat’s emotional traumas.

Google’ Inc.’s headquarters — a high-stress workplace–has offered employees mindfulness since 2005. Their “Search Inside Yourself” improves workers’ performance, productivity, relationships, and job satisfaction while lowering stress, absenteeism, and employee turnover.

Scientific reports on Mindfulness show it can help people with a range of health challenges – anxiety, depression, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, insomnia.

Mindfulness can ease symptoms of multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain, eating disorders, hypochondria, mental fatigue following stroke, and recovery from substance abuse. Data show Mindfulness improves quality of life after treatment for breast cancer and blocked arteries.

The teacher at The Terrace, Psychotherapy and Complementary Health Centre, Dr Miranda Bevis, a former NHS doctor, told us her first exposure to Mindfulness was through her late husband. As he coped with motor neurone disease, he tried Mindfulness, which transformed his experience of the rest of his life.

Scientists are starting to understand how Mindfulness works. By studying the brains of Mindfulness practitioners, researchers detected changes in structure and function supporting theories that could explain the benefits. These suggest Mindfulness reshapes the brain for better control in sorting out emotions and signals from the body – like pain.

Instead of reacting automatically, a brain toned by Mindfulness chooses more deliberately what impulses get attention, and then crafts a healthy response. But there IS a catch. To realize the benefits of Mindfulness, you have to keep practicing.

Miranda Bevis Mindfulness Groups

Dr Miranda Bevis

The Terrace is running taster sessions Tuesday 9th April 6.30pm and Wednesday 10th April 9.15 with Dr Miranda Bevis. Book on 01823 338968, email post@the-terrace.co.uk
http://www.the-terrace.co.uk

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