Is Mindfulness Meditation Any Good?
Mindfulness meditation has been proven in some cases to be more effective in depression treatment than medication and cognitive behavioural therapy.
MRI scans of prolonged mindfulness meditators show that experienced meditators’ cortical brains have a different shape. Certain areas are more developed and certain connections are stronger, making it easier to access inner states of gratitude, compassion, and joy. Mindfulness Meditation works.
How Mindfulness Meditation Changes the Brain
Consistent mindfulness meditation alters the brain in a process called neuroplasticity which can improve your mood, reduce stress, improve health, and increase feelings of peace and happiness, allowing people often to self-heal and treat anxiety, depression, grief, and addiction in conjunction with psychotherapy. Mindfulness meditation is worth the struggle, but it’s hard, and there are good reasons for that.
Why Mindfulness Meditation is Hard
We are used to a busy, distraction based and ‘outside’ focused life. We are exposed to loads of external commotion, traffic, stress, stimulating foods like caffeine that push around and rattle the nervous system’s balance.
If you watch a movie on silent, you will notice that the scenes change about every five seconds, and we are used to not being in prolonged concentration on any one single thing.
How to Improve Your Mindfulness Meditation
Therefore, we are not used to holding the quality of presence that meditation teaches. Patience and consistency is the only remedy here, practice with focus on a candle flame is a good training technique.
Also, help the body to relax, this will help you to relax your mind. Earthing, avoiding stimulating foods like caffeine, avoiding overstimulating your mind with excessive netflix binging.
The body and mind are connected. Stress in the mind will translate into physical tension in the body and vice versa. You can help your mind to relax by bringing your focus back to your body, your breathe, following the movement of your body with the breathe for example
You can also pay attention to the different sensations on your body that arise and pass away. You can also experience your thoughts as an observer of the thoughts rather than the thinker of the thoughts. This will help you to focus your mind in a healing way.
Don’t fight the thoughts, try not to engage or react. You are training yourself to 1) focus and concentrate your attention while 2) be detached from what you observe, as a non-judgmental witness.
Psychotherapy and Mindfulness Meditation
Emotions get in the way of comfortable meditation. When we finally turn our focus inwards through meditation, we encounter our uncomfortable emotions, physical pains, and uncomfortable thoughts that we have become so used to avoiding.
This typically does not feel good. You can practice maintaining your presence with with discomfort, and you may even find that this helps to clear it away. It can also help to work with a trained psychotherapist to unpack and clear away the uncomfortable emotions, memories, and thoughts.
Rachel (BA, BSW, MSW) is a spiritual psychotherapist practising in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, and remotely online. She facilitates sessions for individuals and couples who want to heal and grow. She uses a combination of energy work and psychological intervention to provide emotional and spiritual healing.
51a/42-46 Wattle Road, Brookvale NSW 2100
0420 737 965