2 Minutes of Mindful Meditation Can Make You Happier
New research in neuroscience confirms that the practice of mindfulness can literally re-wire your brain, turning down the volume on negative thought patterns associated with anxiety, depression, pain and addictions.
Mindfulness practices build mental and emotional resilience and can re-set our ‘happiness’ baseline so we feel happy more often, regardless of circumstances.
The study, conducted by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, demonstrated that mindfulness increases brain activity in areas related to emotional well-being. The results also showed that the group who practised mindfulness also experienced a reduction in inflammation, measured by blood tests before and after a 3-day retreat.
Being mindful means paying deliberate attention to whatever is happening in the present moment. We can develop the mindfulness habit by practising mindful movement, as well as lying, seated or walking meditation. Scientists use the term ‘interoception’ to describe the art of paying attention to subtle fluctuations in bodily sensations, a key component of any mindfulness practice. As well as increasing mental and emotional resilience, interoception also offers some surprising physical health benefits, such as:
- benefiting gut flora and boosting immunity
- strengthening the connective tissue matrix – bone, muscle, joint, tendon, skin
- improved circulation
Most of us think we have to practice for an hour a day to feel any benefit. In fact, just 2 minutes several times a day can begin to reverse the fight or flight response and improve your brain’s ability to manage stress.
Our special Samhain workshop, ‘Moving into Stillness’ (Sunday 30th October 14:30) will incorporate mindful movement and body scanning as well as seated and walking meditation. Through these practices, we will strengthen the mind-body connection, helping you to feel calm and centred.
Here’s a lovely guided meditation to get you started: