Cindy Hoard

Inspirational Author and Psychologist

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As we continue our journey of mindfulness breathing let’s familiarize ourselves with other ways it is described and talked about and browse some data driven evidence of the impact of mindfulness breathing practices. It ALL comes back to conscious, focused, breathing!

What Else is Mindfulness Called?
The word mindfulness, continues to expand in our experience and knowledge of this important practice. Some other ways that we might hear about it:
    Meditation
    Mindfulness breathing
    Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction
    Sitting Practice
    Contemplation
    Breath-Awareness Practice
    Focus on Your Body
    Shift Your Focus
If you are interested in additional information, you could try googling any of the above words.

Some Other Ways to Describe Mindfulness
In the book Mindfulness: An 8 Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, Mark Williams and Danny Penman provide invaluable information about mindfulness. They describe some of the kinds of shifts we can experience from our mindfulness practice:
    Going from automatic pilot responses to making conscious choices
    Moving from analyzing (our brain at work) to sensing (awareness of what we feel in our body through our senses)
    Stop striving for something to accepting what is available in the present moment
    Avoidance of topics/issues versus approaching what arises with curiosity
    Instead of depleting our energy we nourish ourselves for a few minutes
    There is a decrease in negative moods
    You spend more time doing what you want to do!
P.S. – Mindfulness is NOT resignation or “giving in” to something.

Some Hard Core Evidence of the Benefits of Mindfulness Practice
The ever-evolving world of research technology has documented some specific examples of how our body is affected with ongoing meditation and mindfulness practices.
• Dr. Richard Davidson has investigated the amount of activity in specific parts of the brain with fMRIs. They found increased activity in parts associated with positive mood versus increased activity to parts associated with more negative mood.

• Dr. Sarah Lazar at Massachusetts General Hospital found literal positive changes in the brain structure in meditators over several years of following them.

• In some other studies specific changes were found in the insula of the brain and with that increased empathic connectedness and compassion with others.

• The National Institutes of Health in a long-term study followed meditators and found that they showed decreased mortality up to 30%. These included specific decreased mortality due to cardiovascular disease and cancer.

• Different aspects of overall well-being have also been documented in those with ongoing mindfulness and meditation practices, as well as increased resilience in dealing with daily stress.

• Investigators of the impact of meditation and mindfulness have found that depression can be diminished and in some cases can reduce the need for antidepressant medications with consistent practice.

As we continue to treat ourselves to breathing with intention, let’s keep in mind the difference it can make in our lives.

Just a Note: once you engage in your initial 3 deep slow breaths, you can let go into your normal breathing since you will have redirected your attention to the present moment.

I hope you are finding your conscious breathing as a free, available anywhere way to enhance our well-being.

I would love to hear from you about other topics or information you would like to see in my blogs!
Cindy