Mindfulness – what is it and what are the benefits?

Meditation

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of directing your attention to the present moment, noticing your thoughts, emotions, body state and surroundings. It’s a skill you can practice to keep your mind healthy and navigate the range of feelings you experience everyday.

Practicing mindfulness encourages us to take a break from thinking about daily stressors, dwelling on events of the past or worrying about our plans for the future and directs our attention to the present moment.

Other benefits of mindfulness include:

  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced stress
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Improved mood
  • Improved emotional regulation
  • Clearer mind
  • Increased ability to focus

Here are some videos explaining mindfulness and the positive effect it has on our brain:

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness and how the brain works

How to practice mindfulness

Mindfulness can be practiced through a range of methods, such as:

  • Meditation – This involves focusing on a single thing, such as breathing. Listening to guided meditations can be a useful way of practicing meditation.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation – this includes slow breathing and muscle-loosening exercises
  • Body-based practices – such as yoga, combines a series of movements with breathing and meditation exercises to improve strength and flexibility while reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Art therapy – therapeutic activities such as painting and pottery are natural ways to practice mindfulness as the textures, colours and sounds of the activity shift our mind into the process of thought, concentration, absorption and flow.

Evidence of effectiveness during cancer treatment

  • Practicing mindfulness allows us to move from a high to a low frequency brain wave, which triggers certain areas of the brain such as the amygdala. This diminishes traits such as fear, stress and depression.
  • Mindfulness based interventions have been proven to be beneficial in reducing cancer related and treatment related symptoms such as reducing anxiety, depression, fatigue, and stress.

Useful resources 

We have collated a list of mindful activities you may be interested in. Check out the links below:

We hope you find the above resources helpful! Share with us how you practice mindfulness on our social pages:

@thechristinaghobadifoundation

https://www.facebook.com/Cghobadifoundation

References
https://blog.smilingmind.com.au/how-mindfulness-can-help-during-coronavirus
https://www.headspace.com/mindfulness 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6623989/ 
https://www.artofmindfulness.org.uk 
Xunlin, N., Lau, Y., & Klainin-Yobas, P. (2019). The effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions among cancer patients and survivors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Supportive Care in Cancer, 28(4), 1563–1578. doi: 10.1007/s00520-019-05219-9

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