Meditation and “Mindfulness” can be interpreted as two particular ways of entering an altered state of consciousness. Hypnosis is another way to achieve a similar state and benefit from the aspects mentioned in the article below. The greatest difference between these techniques is that, different from meditation and mindfulness, hypnosis’ methodical work encourages the use of imagination. Thus, instead of looking for a “mental emptiness” as meditation suggests, or staying in the present- the core objective of mindfulness, hypnosis entertains consciousness quite deliberately in order to distract it. We learn to create mental landscapes where we can design what we need, we may create them consciously and / or let our imagination, through the subconscious mind, present us with our own resources. From here, we use techniques from different fields of psychology (psychodynamic, behavioral and cognitive behavioral mainly) in order to address specific issues that may be causing us inconvenience. If you wish to find out more about hypnosis, contact us, read the rest of this blog’s sections or contact your nearest hypnotherapist.
If you’ve ever interested in meditation, you may have noticed that its fruit is a practice which is not collected overnight. Meditation requires months of practice, perseverance and, even though apparently not very physically demanding, also requires an effort.
If we add the fact that the supposed benefits of meditation are not always well supported empirically and sometimes consist of simple “New Age” slogans, is not surprising that some of us may leave after the first day of practice, exhausted and discouraged by the apparent lack of immediate incentives.
However, between the oceans of opinions and value judgments on meditation we can also find some scientific publications that serve to clarify the issue that everyone wants to know: What are the benefits of meditation which have a scientific basis?
Some benefits of meditation that probably exist
Although meditation has been engendered in philosophy and culture away from Western rationalism, yes there are some studies which show the possible effects of meditation, probably for their possible therapeutic application at very low prices. Below are listed some of the possible benefits of meditation that are supported by research groups in science.
However, keep in mind that these scientific articles describe correlations and give them an interpretation, though they do not quite know how changes occur in our bodies through these practices.
1. mitigate the effects of stress
Some research indicates that continuous practice of meditation helps combat stress and its effects. For example, a research involving cancer patients gave information about improvements not only in regard to stress, but also with respect to depression symptoms, confusion and other aspects, both for men and women .
2. It could have positive effects on the immune system
It has been proven how a number of volunteers subjected to a program of Mindfulness developed more antibodies from the flu, which means that one of the benefits of meditation may have an impact on the immune system. The article was published in Psychosomatic Medicine.
3. Improving attention
It has been proven in multitasking tests and in a study on the attentional blink, what happens when a stimulus is overshadowed by another preceding it with little margin of time between them and therefore the individual realizes only of the first. People who had been meditating showed reduced attentional blink, which means that they learn to better manage the resources upon which the brain’s attention depends.
4. Helping to empathize and connect with others
Another probable benefits of meditation is in relationship with others. A few minutes of meditation have proven effective when intending to establish closest personal contact with strangers.
5. Increasing pain tolerance
Practicing mindfulness for four days has been enough to show a reduction in pain sensation and to produce changes in the brain associated with pain processing.
6. Improving memory and other cognitive functions
A few sessions of mindfulness can be translated in an improvement in working memory and visuospatial processing.
7. Encouraging the emergence of positive thoughts
Amongst the benefits of meditation we could not miss one that refers to positive psychology, one of the most common techniques in relaxation practices. Certain types of meditation have been shown to help when practicing to disregard unadaptive beliefs, reinforce positive habits which may hold a significant meaning to ourselves, and generally think positively.
Article by psychologist Adrian Trigla, for Psicología y mente. To read from original link-in Spanish – please click here.