The phrases “mindfulness” or “meditation” evoke pictures of a solitary period of serenity and tranquilly. We assume that mindfulness doesn’t have a place in healthcare because of the worry, suffering, and commotion we could encounter in hospitals and doctor’s offices. Some of the top medical experts want to change that.
They’re bringing mindfulness right into the center of the American health care system—from prevention to diagnosis to treatment to cure to palliative care and even health management and medical education—because they’ve seen the proof that it is profoundly restorative.
We brought together three of the top experts on the healing power of mindfulness and the advantages of integrative medicine for a discussion of the present and future of mind-body medicine with the assistance of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists and sponsor of the Lynn Lectures on integrative medicine.
How Awareness Helps
The healing or transforming power of practicing mindfulness is found in being in relationship to what you are going through, holding it, and, in some ways, becoming friends with it. We find deep internal resources we can draw upon when we can accept ourselves exactly as we are and stop attempting to change our mental state. My definition of healing is accepting things as they are.
The benefits of this kind of awareness on one’s health and well-being can be seen almost immediately. As absurd as it may sound, it is possible to become friends with your pain or your anxiety, as opposed to believing that you can’t move forward until this bothersome thing is turned off, walled off, or shut down. For someone to have that realisation is incredibly profound.
Realizing that you can have a more sensible relationship with your inner experience than simply being motivated by enjoying it or hating it is tremendously restorative, even if it happens only occasionally.
No matter what their diagnosis is, patients who participate in mindfulness-based stress reduction claim to have more positive traits than negative ones. We’ll put all of our efforts into making things right with them and watch what occurs. It’s a fantastic adventure, and it’s really rewarding to watch people’s faces light up when they realise that it’s good to be who they are.
Finding a spaciousness of mind where they see they are a part of the universal flow of things—that people become sick, that people do die, and that they are part of that great picture—is incredibly essential for helping individuals be with their pain, or with awareness of their metastasis, or of their death.
There is a wonderful clarity within that roominess that is distinct from relaxation. It isn’t just hanging carelessly. You move past the thought process of “I want to be better now.” Despite facing significant obstacles, it is possible to maintain a tremendous amount of composure and lucidity.
Less emotional reactivity and increased mental stability are two additional benefits of mindfulness. Greater mental clarity results from not overreacting emotionally, which is beneficial in and of itself. You are better able to handle the experience of disease and everything that comes with it if your mind is stable. That is a highly important and fruitful result.
Mindfulness as a way of being
With so many different perspectives coming to bear on it, including neuroscience and clinical medicine, we will be able to describe it more richly. I’m fine with calling it a practice, but we have to distinguish it from many other kinds of practice. It’s not exactly like practising the piano, for example. It does involve discipline in that way, but you’re not trying to become a virtuoso.
Being mindful is a state of being. Because it’s not about striving to be in a certain state, and if you’re not in that condition, then you’re doing something wrong, it offers individuals far more freedom in what they’re feeling. Instead, you can bring consciousness to whatever situation that you find yourself in. Being involved in challenging, stressful, angry, or perplexing situations is quite normal.
It can therefore be difficult to define mindfulness as a mental state. The notion that mindfulness is a certain mental state can be deceptive if we’re talking about improving health care or changing anyone’s relationship to their own body, particularly if they’re in pain or dealing with cancer or another life-threatening condition. The mind may get quite agitated and disoriented when we are going through these things. As Susan said, there will be emotional responses.
Therefore, a misperception of what mindfulness is would be the concept that there is a sought-after mind state and that if you were really good enough you would find it and everything would be perfect for the rest of your life.
Mindfulness Is Not Just Calm And Peace
Although a large portion of what occurs in the mind occurs outside of consciousness, these non-conscious processes nonetheless affect our health. Basic wellness involves bringing these bad thoughts—what my field refers to as unintegrated brain processes—to awareness since they are essentially like black holes. These negative thoughts include fear, aggression, betrayal, or despair. They have so much gravity that they drain the life of their energy.
They affect the condition of the mind, as well as its suppleness, fluidity, and sensation of joy and thankfulness. They affect relationships, resulting in stiff or explosive interactions. Additionally, they have an impact on the immune and nervous systems of the body.
So it can be really helpful to engage in an exploration method like mindfulness that makes those anxious, negative thoughts conscious. Sometimes naming something helps you control it. According to several studies, when you become aware of something and describe it, you can transform any negative energy—such as a draining idea or cognition—into a new form.
Why mindfulness is a state of being?
Because it’s not about striving to be in a certain state, and if you’re not in that condition, then you’re doing something wrong, it offers individuals far more freedom in what they’re feeling.
How can one get rid of negative energy?
According to several studies, when you become aware of something and describe it, you can transform any negative energy—such as a draining idea or cognition—into a new form.
What are some benefits of mindfulness?
Less emotional reactivity and increased mental stability are two additional benefits of mindfulness.