High levels of chronic stress affect every system in our bodies. However, studies show that mindfulness practices help to break this harmful cycle! New research from Carnegie Mellon University (February 2016) provides a window into the brain changes that links mindfulness meditation training with the health of stressed adults.
According to the World Health Organization, stress in the workplace costs American business approximately $300 billion per year largely in the form of higher health care costs, employee absences, and reduced productivity. There is a substantive toll that psychological stress-related disease places on individuals and families!
Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was one of the first scientists to take the anecdotal claims about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation – and to test this in brain scans. What she found was incredible! Meditation can literally change your brain! By studying adults who meditated for 40 minutes daily over the course of eight weeks, Lazar’s data showed significant changes in their brains. There is also a bit of controversy around the time spent in meditation, as some students suggested that just 10 minutes a day could have substantive benefit.
According to Lazar, mindfulness is like exercise – it is a form of mental exercise. She believes that just like exercises is good for health, stress, and longevity, so does regular meditation provide these same results.
I have been fortunate to experience several MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) workshops, from 8-week workshops to 5-day silent retreats. The founder of MBSR, Jon Kabat-Zinn developed the program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center where it started in their Stress Reduction Clinic. Developing a mindfulness practice is a great way to cultivate greater mind and body awareness together with ways that one’s unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors impact emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Additionally, MBSR brings together mindful meditation and yoga practice.
Our DBT Intensive Outpatient Program begins each day with Mindfulness/yoga practice because we firmly believe in the power of mindfulness meditation and yoga. We have seen that incorporating this type of practice into your daily life can bring you powerful results.
Mindfulness & Meditation Apps
Below are some of our favorite mindfulness apps so you too can begin this powerful practice to help reduce stress in your life. We like them because you can choose from 2 minutes of mindfulness practice to 60 minutes or more.
We also highly recommend watching the following videos: