Western medicine has questioned the medical benefits of meditation.
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“People are increasingly turning to mindfulness mediation to manage health issues, and meditation classes are being offered through schools and hospitals. But doctors have questioned whether this ancient Eastern practice really offers measurable health benefits. A fresh review of the evidence should help sort that out. Meditation does help manage anxiety, depression and pain, according to the 47 studies analyzed in JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday, but does not appear to help with other problems, including substance abuse, sleep and weight. “We have moderate confidence that mindfulness practices have a beneficial effect,” wrote the author of the paper, Dr. Madhav Goyal of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in an email to Shots. He says the positive effects on anxiety, depression and pain can be modest, but are seen across multiple studies.”
“When I first I learned about the importance of mindfulness practice in reducing stress and improving health, I inwardly whined, Another thing for the to-do list! As a committed transcendental meditation disciple, I thought I was doing enough to train my brain for optimal functioning. Then I interviewed Dr. Ron Siegel, assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School (where he has taught for more than 30 years), and my perspective shifted.
Mindfulness isn’t a must-set-time-aside-to-do activity. As Dr. Siegel (a longtime student of mindfulness meditation who also serves on the board of directors and faculty of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy) explained it, mindfulness is as easy as breathing and can be incorporated into your life without feeling like a chore.”
I am very encouraged to see frequent articles and tips about the practice of “mindfulness” or better said, learning how to “live in the moment.” Lately there seems to be a thread of living in the moment in many of my own posts, including during speaking events, where my personal experience is referenced connecting the dots strongly to focusing on mindfulness. Just this week my blog post, including video clip, is pointed directly to checking in with your senses consistently to allow life right now to be your preoccupation rather than triggers of pain from the past… Practicing mindfulness is not easy, however. We have to learn to dig in on what is going on in the moment, especially things you are passionate about. For me writing about the subject of children and families in life after trauma gets me going each day…very passionately. When we experience the pain of trauma, it is often a life changing event or many events over a longer period of time. In my case, growing up in a toxic home ripped me apart for many years before getting a handle on a specific path of healing. After revisiting my past during the “too terrible to remember 1950’s and early ’60’s it became obvious why living in a toxic home with emotional neglect and child abuse stick around until you confront the past and begin to heal. But it becomes a daily practice of learning how to “take your medicine” by keeping the focus on human connectedness and helping others. When I am able to stay close to the moment of the day and keep my senses connected to the future, the positive things and making a difference for others in my life, I feel fantastic! I can say with confidence that the pain of the past keeps a safe distance from my mind and heart as long as my thoughts are into this day and moment. Take a look at the reference links in my post today and explore the benefits of meditation, mindfulness, living in the moment, human connectedness (people, pets, prayers), and helping the greater good. This approach to healing from traumatic experiences and events in your life really works. But you have to use discipline and make it a daily practice. Find your passion and start practicing mindfulness today. There are plenty of resources and references and others you can talk to to get started. Best wishes on you own journey of healing! Steve Sparks Author Reconciliation: A Son’s Story click to order…
About the author
Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.