Mindfulness - Benefits for Mental Wellbeing
Meditation and mindfulness approaches have become quite popular in mental health and in our culture. It is important when considering these to understand both the benefits and limitations of a mindfulness approach to general wellbeing.
In our busy and high pressure culture we find that it is hard to turn the “monkey mind” off, it can be hard to settle a busy mind. Maybe this is why it is hard at times to appreciate a sunset or the people around us even though we try. My personal experience with mindfulness meditation has been a meaningful part of my own life, and prompted me to consider more deeply the contribution that a more or less grounded “state of mind” can have on mood, choices, and interpersonal relationships. Many clients have found it to be a useful part in combating stress, aiding sleep, and feeling a more focused throughout the day.
Mindfulness can be tried by anyone, however it certainly takes discipline to make it into a practice, and some may say even say it takes training to “do it right.” Neuroscience suggests there are brain benefits of mindful meditation through brain scans of experienced mediators who show specific brain correlates of activity that characterize a meditative state. Studies have even gone as far as to suggest that seemingly beneficial and long term changes in the brain can occur with a practice of consistent meditation.
It is important when considering complimentary health approaches to understand that ADHD/ADD, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health have biological underpinnings and are not the result of lack of discipline or moral failings. For many, mindfulness meditation can be very practical and of much value. However, some also find that focusing too much inward can take away from energies that connect us with others.
Despite the benefits, for someone with ADD, Depression, or Anxiety, sitting alone with ones thoughts is not necessarily beneficial for everyone. For example, if they take the place of other important mental health practices including medication or therapy, or other modalities. The biological underpinnings of such disorders make it so that it is very difficult to “see” outside of a dark mood or worries, and spending more time with these feelings can sometimes even intensify the stress they cause and prolong seeking treatment.
It is difficult to slow or stop the mind chatter, negative self talk, and the replays of yesterdays problems in our minds, but a worthwhile challenge that many of us find adds to our lives. Mindfulness.org is a website that offers a preview of topics in mindfulness and certain exercise.
Lastly, Neurofeedback and Biofeedback have been used for relaxing the body and mind and some practices have been developed in these modalities to achieve more focused or meditative state. They are used to compliment meditation practices or sometimes are used as the vehicle for meditation itself. Contact Better State of Mind to learn more about such services and if they might be a good fit for you.