The Prevalence of Mental Illness
The World Health Organization states that one in four people will be personally affected by a mental health disorder. While mental illness is the foremost contributing factor to disability in the United States, research demonstrates that many mental health challenges are preventable, and intervention treatments are often highly effective. As the number of people struggling with mental illness increases, the demand for alternative, cost-effective, natural health resources will also increase.
The Brain’s Role
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to alter connections throughout a person’s lifetime. More research is supporting the ability for mindfulness meditation to alter brain connectivity. This non-invasive, inexpensive and powerful tool is increasing in popularity as more healthcare professionals acknowledge its ability to improve mental health.
Meditation Helps Reduce Anxiety
Anxiety is the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorder in the US, with more than 40 million adults affected. One recent study followed clinically diagnosed anxiety patients during an eight-week mindfulness meditation program and showed improvements in anxiety and depression scores post-intervention and at the three-month follow-up. We are still uncovering the exact ways in which meditation reduces anxiety, but studies are showing certain areas of the brain become active during meditation that relate to the ability to better control emotional responses.
Going Back to Basics
As our world speeds up, it’s up to us as individuals to take the time that we need to slow down. Think of mindfulness as an exercise for your brain. Just as physical exercise is a component of overall health, so too is mindfulness and meditation. As we continually find more efficient solutions to our everyday problems, sometimes it’s nice to have a reminder that going back to basics, and focusing on our breath, will help keep us evolving.
These are extracts from The Science of Meditation Report from UNYTE. UNYTE: Biofeedback and interactive meditation
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