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The Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness Meditation

July 20, 2020

Mindfulness can help you manage your stress through the ordinary and extraordinary challenges of life. The current pandemic is an unprecedented event. Practicing mindfulness can help you to cultivate greater balance and ease during these times.

What Is Mindfulness?

There are many ways to define mindfulness, and here are some descriptions that we find particularly helpful:

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. [Mindful.org]

Mindfulness is about paying attention in a particular way -- on purpose, in the present moment and with attitudes of openness, curiosity and kindness. [Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction]

While it’s a natural human ability to be fully present at times, in general we find that our minds are often lost in memories of the past or in worries or projections of the future. This often contributes to stress and anxiety. Practicing mindfulness meditation can help us cultivate and strengthen our ability to be present so that we can reduce reactivity and respond more skillfully and wisely in our lives.  

What are the Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness Meditation?

There are many scientifically documented benefits of practicing mindfulness for both clinical and non-clinical (healthy) populations. These benefits include:

  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • Reduced pain
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Improved immune function
  • Improved cognitive function (memory and concentration)
  • Improved emotional regulation

 

Ways to Practice Mindfulness Meditation

There are numerous ways to learn how to practice mindfulness meditation. One method is to take a course in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Participating in a course is beneficial because you’re supported by a skilled teacher, an evidence-based curriculum, and a group learning environment. There are hundreds of MBSR programs offered at medical centers and universities.

The Myrna-Brind Center for Mindfulness at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health at Jefferson has been offering MBSR for 25 years. For more information about our programs visit jeffersonhealth.org/mindfulness.

Another way to practice mindfulness is by listening to guided meditation recordings, many of which can be found online and through mindfulness apps. For guided meditations by Jefferson’s mindfulness teachers visit the website.