Reducing pain, depression and wide range of diseases by half or even more, without taking pills – how is this possible?
Scientific proof has now found that ‘mindful meditation’ (MM) can reduce pain by at least half and more – in fact, an online medical journal JAMA has claimed that meditation can indeed be a powerful pain killer. Not only that but practicing MM can offer people with depression the same relief. The same study also highlighted its power to help people cope with the after-effects of cancer treatment, such as exhaustion, nausea and systemic pain. It does this by dissolving anxiety and stress with also boosting the immune system.
Scientific studies have now shown that MM not only prevents depression but it also positively affects brain patterns underlying day-to-day anxiety, stress, depression and irritability – allowing distressing thoughts to dissolve away more easily. Memory improves, creativity increases and reaction times become faster.
Just 10 – 20 mins per day of MM can have a significant benefit on overall mental health and well being. Hospitals have now started prescribing it to help patients cope with the suffering arising from a wide range of diseases such as cancer (and the side effects of chemotherapy), heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.
The writer of the article personally vouches that this is all true as he used MM when he had a terrible paragliding accident and it helped him cope throughout his ordeal. I (Liz) can also vouch for this also, as following an accident when I fell off a horse and split the back of my head open, I had to have stitches without any pain killing injections – I felt nothing – absolutely amazing
MM has its origins in Buddhism, but it is now an entirely secular practice, no more religious than yoga. This is good because it allows people of all faiths and atheists to follow the simple practice with a clear conscience.
How to do it – in Five Easy Steps
It takes a few minutes and leaves you feeling profoundly relaxed
- Sit erect but relaxed in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor. Or you can lie on a mat or blanket on the floor or on your bed. Allow your arms and hands to be as relaxed as possible.
- Gently close your eyes and focus your awareness on the breath as it flows into and out of your body. Feel the sensations the air makes as it flows through your mouth or nose, down your throat and into your lungs. Feel the expansion and subsiding of your chest and belly as you breath. Focus your awareness on where the sensations are strongest. Stay in contact with each in-breath and out-breath. Observe them without trying to alter them in any way or expecting anything special to happen.
- When your mind wanders, gently shepherd it back to the breath. Try not to criticize yourself. Minds wander – it is what they do. The act of realizing that your mind has wandered – and encouraging it to return to focus on the breath – is central to the practice of mindfulness.
- Your mind may or may not become calm. If it does, this may only be short-lived. It may become filled with thoughts or powerful emotions such as fear, anger, stress or love. These may also be fleeting. Whatever happens, observe without reacting or trying to change anything. Gently return your awareness back to the sensations of the breath again and again.
- After a few minutes, or longer if you prefer, gently open your eyes and take in your surroundings.