Cultivating our capacity for mindfulness can have many benefits. It can help us be more present in our lives as they are unfolding rather than being lost in our thoughts about the future or memories of the past. Mindfulness can help us be less reactive to difficult thoughts, emotions or sensations, and we can observe through experience that everything changes. Thoughts, feelings and sensations come and go rather like the weather. This realization can bring with it an increased sense of inner calm and decreased emotional reactivity, even when what we are experiencing is not very pleasant. In this way, we can have greater capacity to navigate the difficulties in our lives and a greater range of choices available to us when we pause and respond skillfully through mindful awareness.
A large body of scientific research is available on the benefits of mindfulness in general and on MBSR specifically.
Some of the recognized benefits of mindfulness practice include:
Reducing stress and improving coping with the difficulties of life: this may include work, school, family or financial stress.
Improving coping with medical conditions such as chronic pain, insomnia, skin disorders, infertility, high blood pressure and diabetes
Decreasing psychological distress such as anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder and panic
Maximizing wellness: improving performance and concentration at work, school and in sports, improving ability to listen to your own body’s signals and respond wisely
Increasing spiritual health: increasing kindness and compassion for yourself, others and the world