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Submitted by on Dec 9, 2021

Mindfulness is the skill of focusing one’s attention to the present moment without judgment, which may be learned through meditation or other methods. Mindfulness is based on Zen, Vipassana, and Tibetan meditation practices and stems from sati, a key feature of Buddhist traditions. Though there are many different definitions and strategies for mindfulness, Buddhist traditions describe what mindfulness is by explaining how past, present, and future moments originate and disappear as fleeting sense impressions and mental experiences.

Thích Nhất Hạnh, Herbert Benson, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Richard J. Davidson, and Sam Harris are among those who have contributed to the popularity of mindfulness in the current Western environment.

Since the 1970s, clinical psychology and psychiatry have developed a number of mindfulness-based therapy applications to aid persons suffering from a range of mental illnesses. Mindfulness meditation has been used to alleviate depression, stress, and anxiety, as well as to treat drug addiction.

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Mindfulness programs have been implemented in schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans’ centers, and other settings, and mindfulness programs have been used for a variety of purposes, including healthy aging, weight management, athletic performance, assisting children with special needs, and as a perinatal intervention.

Clinical research have shown that mindfulness has physical and mental health advantages in a variety of patient groups, as well as in healthy adults and children. Trait mindfulness (which may be cultivated via the practice of mindfulness-based therapies) and psychological wellbeing have been linked in research studies.

Mindfulness appears to have therapeutic advantages for persons suffering from mental diseases, including moderate benefits for those suffering from psychosis. Rumination and concern have also been linked to a number of mental diseases, according to research, and mindfulness-based therapies can improve trait mindfulness while simultaneously reducing rumination and anxiety.

Furthermore, mindfulness meditation may be used as a preventative method to avoid the onset of mental-health issues. Too much mindfulness, on the other hand, can have negative consequences, such as increased anxiety in persons who have a high level of self-focus or awareness of their body or emotions.

Mindfulness meditation has also been shown to have a positive impact on physical health. The psychological habit of repeatedly dwelling on stressful thoughts, for example, appears to amplify the physiological effects of the stressor (due to constant activation of the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis), potentially leading to physical health-related clinical manifestations.

Mindfulness meditation, which reduces rumination, has been shown in studies to affect several molecular clinical pathways. Furthermore, research suggests that mindfulness can have a positive impact on the immune system as well as inflammation, which can have a negative impact on physical health, especially because inflammation has been related to the development of a number of chronic diseases.

Other research backs up these conclusions. Furthermore, mindfulness appears to reduce brain activity in the default mode network, which may help to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Critics, on the other hand, have questioned both the commercialization and over-marketing of mindfulness for health benefits, highlighting the need for additional randomized controlled research, greater methodological information in published studies, and bigger sample sizes.

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