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Mindfulness: A Tool to better health.




What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is term used to discuss eastern philosophy and eastern-derived meditative practises which are used to achieve a state of being mindful and mental wellbeing. State of being mindful can be in simplest, be explained as livening in present and being fully aware of one’s own emotions, environment and what they are doing with no judgements. In other words being mindful is to be aware of what you are currently doing and how you are acting proactively.


Benefits of Mindfulness?

Benefits of mindfulness have been established and these include:

Improvements in physical health.

Lower Blood pressure:

Most of us have heard the terrify effects of high blood pressure and the havoc that it can cause on our circulatory systems.


In a research investigating the efficacy of mindfulness based interventions for stress-management and anxiety significant differences were observed in ambulatory blood pressure measurements (ABPM). The researchers of the study have suggested that mindfulness could be a safe and effective alternative in management of blood pressure via reduction and management of stress and anxiety.


Improved Sleep:

At night it is time to unwind and get some sleep. However, it is often that we find our thoughts racing in the silence of the night to haunt us. At those time we need to calm our minds and anchor ourselves in the present firmly.


Mindfulness has been established as an effective remedy for insomnia and to improve sleep quality. Memory-loss, Tiredness and exhaustion are common symptoms of insomnia or poor sleep quality. Sleep issues are reported by employees and entrepreneurs alike and result in lost productivity. However, Due to the demanding lives and work of entrepreneurs the effects are much more pronounced.

Elon Musk is well-known to openly admit to getting less than 7 Hours of sleep per night and logging 120 work hours a week. In the same interview with New York Times he admitted that lack of sleep had taken a toll on his health. In her open letter to Elon Musk , Arianna Huffington has emphasised the importance of sleep and have also suggested that sleep is a feature of humans rather than a downtime. Yes, yet again mindfulness has been shown to be a reliable intervention to provide relief from insomnia and improve sleep quality.


Epilepsy:

Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder. It can be hard for those who suffer and their loved ones.



Epilepsy is a chronic disease characterised by seizures. Seizures a rush of electrical activity in the brain. Mindfulness has been proven as an effective measure to reduce the seizure frequency.


Pain-management:

Pain is something that all of us have experienced and are well-aware. We may have fallen playing, Tipped over, or missed a stair. However, some suffer with chronic pain and this can be devastating. Managed by pain-killers but side-effects of long-term use are no little matter.

Mindfulness have been shown to be an effective remedy for management of chronic moderate pain. Neurological investigations looking at the activation of neural networks using fMRI have revealed that fewer neural pathways are activated in mindful states. It can be concluded that when individuals are practising mindfulness they experience less of "unpleasantness" associated with emotions, anticipation and memories associated with the pain.


Improved mental well-being.


Depression and Anxiety:

"Instead of getting sucked into our emotions or our thoughts, which is what happens when we’re depressed or anxious, we see them as those thoughts again, or those feelings again, and that disempowers them"

Sadly, Anxiety and depression is a grim reality to millions who suffer. It can be daunting and isolating. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is considered to be gold standard in treating Depression and anxiety disorders. Goleman in his book suggests that when we are depressed we get sucked into our thoughts and are stuck in the emotional state associated, and being to judge ourselves and engage in negative self-talk and worsen our situation. However, when CBT is combined with mindfulness This can be avoided. Therefore greatly improving the efficacy.

In a review of nine clinical trials to determine the efficacy of Mindfulness based CBT (mCBT), to was found that mCBT had significantly lower risk or relapse or recurrence for next 60 weeks in comparison to normal interventions regardless of the age, sex, gender or the participants.


Stress-Management:

Living itself is a sensor, we live in constant worries about paying bills, meeting deadlines, being punctual and following our busy schedules. We ave been taught that stress is bad, it increases risk for everything from common cold to the flu, wrecks the hormonal balance and causes autoimmune disorders and cancer. Fear not mindfulness is the saviour.

Stress is a reality for everyone rich and poor, young and old alike. Living itself can be stressful. Mindfulness is a great tool to help you manage stress. Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction (MBSR) is a term used to describe the practice of using mindfulness for interventions or stress-management. MBSR was first developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn to help patients to manage stress.

Since then, MBSR have proven itself to be a reliable means of intervention for stress-management and today is used widely for the same.



Conclusion

  1. Mindfulness or Mindfulness mediations appears to have an overall improvement in physical health, mental health and general well-being of its practitioners. Therefore, Mindfulness can be considered as a tool to improve overall health and well-being.

  2. Mindfulness is an effective means of intervention to lower blood pressure, management of epileptic seizures and pain-management (And many more. Due to the nature of blog and time not all could have been discussed here.).

  3. Mindfulness is effective in management and improvement in mental health.

  4. Efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions have been established in management of but not limited to depression, anxiety and stress-management.

Books to read:














Reference List:

  1. Abbott, R. A., Whear, R., Rodgers, L. R., Bethel, A., Coon, J. T., Kuyken, W., ... & Dickens, C. (2014). Effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness based cognitive therapy in vascular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Journal of psychosomatic research, 76(5), 341-351.

  2. Anheyer, D., Leach, M. J., Klose, P., Dobos, G., & Cramer, H. (2019). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for treating chronic headache: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Cephalalgia, 39(4), 544-555.

  3. Bauer, P. R., Poletti, S., Lutz, A., & Sabourdy, C. (2019). Coping with Seizures Through Mindfulness Meditation: a Qualitative Study of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention in Epilepsy. Mindfulness, 1-16.

  4. Day, M. A., Jensen, M. P., Ehde, D. M., & Thorn, B. E. (2014). Toward a theoretical model for mindfulness-based pain management. The journal of pain, 15(7), 691-703.

  5. Grant, J. A. (2014). Meditative analgesia: the current state of the field. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1307(1), 55-63.

  6. Kuyken, W., Warren, F. C., Taylor, R. S., Whalley, B., Crane, C., Bondolfi, G., ... & Segal, Z. (2016). Efficacy of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in prevention of depressive relapse: an individual patient data meta-analysis from randomized trials. JAMA psychiatry, 73(6), 565-574.

  7. Murnieks, C. Y., Arthurs, J. D., Cardon, M. S., Farah, N., Stornelli, J., & Haynie, J. M. (2019). Close your eyes or open your mind: Effects of sleep and mindfulness exercises on entrepreneurs' exhaustion. Journal of Business Venturing.

  8. Ponte, P., Castella, M., Filella, D., Feliu, A., Matas, L., Soler, J., ... & Roca-Cusachs, A. (2018). Benefits of mindfulness meditation in reducing blood pressure and stress in patients with arterial hypertension. Journal of Hypertension, 36, e294-e295.

  9. Reiner, K., Tibi, L., & Lipsitz, J. D. (2013). Do mindfulness-based interventions reduce pain intensity? A critical review of the literature. Pain Medicine, 14(2), 230-242.

  10. Shapiro, S. L., Oman, D., Thoresen, C. E., Plante, T. G., & Flinders, T. (2008). Cultivating mindfulness: effects on well‐being. Journal of clinical psychology, 64(7), 840-862.

  11. Veehof, M. M., Oskam, M. J., Schreurs, K. M., & Bohlmeijer, E. T. (2011). Acceptance-based interventions for the treatment of chronic pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PAIN®, 152(3), 533-542.

  12. Wood K, Lawrence M, Jani B, Simpson R, and Mercer SW. Mindfulness-based interventions in epilepsy: a systematic review. BMC Neurology, 2017; 17: 52.