Mindfulness and physical health: the link between a mindful approach and improved physical health outcomes

Mindfulness and physical health: the link between a mindful approach and improved physical health outcomes

Introduction

Have you ever felt like your body just isn't functioning properly? Perhaps you've had a cold that won't go away, or perhaps you're dealing with chronic pain. In both cases, mindfulness may be able to help. Research shows that mindfulness can enhance physical health in a variety of ways, including increasing immunity and reducing symptoms of disease.

Summary: the correlation between mindfulness and enhanced physical health

Mindfulness, as defined by the [National Health Service](https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mindfulness-meditation/leaflet/page-3), is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. The practice of mindfulness has been found to be beneficial for various health conditions such as depression and chronic pain; however there have been few studies investigating its relationship with physical health outcomes in general populations...

In this study we aimed to investigate whether mindfulness predicts physical activity levels in people with no evidence of disease or disability who have not participated in any structured exercise program or received any specific medical advice relating to physical activity over the past year (non-exercising).

Scientific research proves the link between mindfulness and physical health

If you're not already aware of the benefits of mindfulness, here's a brief introduction. Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment that can help you manage stress and anxiety, improve your quality of sleep, manage pain and more. The scientific research supporting these claims is impressive.

For example: in one study published by The Journal of Health Psychology in 2013, researchers found that participants who engaged in MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) experienced lower levels of depression than those who did not take part in the program after six months. Additionally, they also found improvements in overall health among those who participated—such as reduced fatigue and better control over blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Researchers are examining specific traits of mindfulness to understand their impact on physical health

With so many different definitions of mindfulness, it can be difficult to understand how the concept is being studied by researchers. Mindfulness is a broad term that encompasses many specific traits, and it's possible to measure these traits using self-report scales. Researchers are now looking at how these specific traits of mindfulness affect physical health outcomes.

A study published in 2017 examined whether self-compassion was related to physical health outcomes in patients with chronic pain. The authors found that higher levels of self-compassion were associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression, which corresponded to improved physical health outcomes over time (McCracken et al., 2017). Another study tested whether or not increasing mindfulness would improve eating behaviors in adolescents (Johansson et al., 2016). Participants who completed an 8-week mindful eating program had greater improvements in their BMI than those who didn't participate in any intervention at all (Johansson et al., 2016). In another recent study comparing two different doses of mindfulness training on blood pressure readings over time found that higher doses had better results; however this effect was only significant for participants who also practiced daily meditation after completing the program (Holsinger et al., 2018).

The role of meditation in enhancing physical health

The practice of meditation has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including stress reduction and a stronger immune system. In addition to these well-established benefits, there is also evidence that mindfulness may have an impact on physical health in general. A recent study published in Frontiers of Public Health found that practicing mindful reflection can result in improved heart rate variability (HRV) which can be indicative of better physical health outcomes. The researchers also found that participants who completed the MBSR program had higher HRV than those who were not enrolled in the program; this suggests that MBSR may be beneficial for individuals already experiencing some form of chronic illness or other forms of mental distress (Ostafin & Kassman, 2018).

  • The role of meditation in enhancing physical health

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More research is needed to fully understand the physical benefits of mindfulness

More research is needed to fully understand the physical benefits of mindfulness. However, current research suggests that mindfulness may reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while increasing positive emotions. These effects in turn can help improve your health by improving sleep quality and reducing pain.

In addition to these physiological changes, the practice of mindfulness has been shown to have a positive impact on your brain's structure as well. For example, in one study on meditators who had been practicing for an average of 25 years (compared to non-meditating controls), researchers found significant increases in cortical thickness among those who meditated regularly compared with those who didn't meditate at all or only did so occasionally.* This means that over time there will be a measurable change in how your brain looks—and it could help you stay mentally sharp as you age!

Mindfulness has numerous benefits for our mind and overall quality of life.

Mindfulness is a concept that has been studied for decades and shows promise in helping people deal with stress, sleep better, handle pain, and many other aspects of their lives. In fact, mindfulness has been shown to benefit the mind in a variety of ways.

  • It can help you feel less stressed and more calm by allowing you to accept things as they are rather than letting your thoughts get carried away with them.

  • It can help you sleep better at night by giving your brain something positive to focus on instead of letting it run amok into worries or anxiety about the day ahead.

  • It can help you handle pain better when it comes because you're able to stay present in the moment rather than letting yourself race ahead into worry or fear about what could happen next.

  • The practice also helps people feel more in control of their emotions by allowing them space away from negative feelings so they don't spiral out of control—which allows those feelings eventually dissipate (or at least become manageable).

Conclusion

While mindfulness has been proven to be a powerful tool for mental health, it also has clear benefits for physical health. From reducing stress to improving sleep quality and managing pain, mindfulness practices may be able to help you feel better than ever before. The key is finding the right approach and sticking with it long enough for it take hold!

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