Continuing the theme of mental health, here we explore the practise of mindfulness as a way of promoting health, improving performance and treating serious illnesses such as depression.
It’s an increasingly common belief that mindfulness is a tool with the potential to hugely impact our lives. Have you tried it yet? Before you read on, enjoy 10 mindful minutes with Andy Puddicombe.
How do you feel?
Did you know that by 2030 it’s predicted depression will surpass the second major burden of disease, heart disease. This is made even more concerning when we consider medication for treating and preventing relapse of depression isn’t very successful and doesn’t facilitate behaviour change or thought alteration for long-term improvement. Here is where mindfulness could play a key role.
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It’s a quality we all possess and can learn how to use to our advantage.
We are all already meditators but more often than not upon thoughts of resentment, anger, fear or regret for example. This type of meditation in our mind activates an evolutionary fight or flight response, whether the stress is triggered by our perception, imagination or reality. Frequent and inappropriate activation not only causes short-term anxiety-related problems but is also a risk for numerous chronic illnesses. Thankfully our brains neuroplasticity means mindfulness can protect against chronic illness, cognitive decline and poor performance.
“One cannot necessarily control whether trains of thought keep coming into our minds, but one can have control over the decision about whether or not to get on the train”.
An 11 year follow-up study comparing non meditators vs meditators found a significant reduction in illness, more specifically a 63% reduction in health care costs, 11.4 times less hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease, 3.3 times less cancer cases, and 6.7 times fewer mental disorders. As such, health insurance premiums can be 30% less in the US and Europe for regular meditators.
A number of our team currently use apps such as Headspace and Smiling Mind to support a healthy mind. Another suggestion is to use 5-10 minutes of mindfulness as a transition tool at the start or end of your working day, in the evening before bed if you struggle to switch off, or pre/post your resistance sessions to promote optimal performance. Our team found that to begin with lying down and doing nothing didn’t suit everyone and may not work for you, so try practising mindfulness during a walk out in nature or eating a meal (watch out for next week’s blog for more on mindful eating). A CP+R example of this comes from our amazing CEO Ivor, who includes ’10 minutes of coffee appreciation’ into his morning routine to stay in the present.
Finally, in line with the juggling example from the TedTalk video, each mindful experience is likely to be different and that’s ok. It’s a unique opportunity to gain a different perspective and to give focus, calm, and clarity to your life.
 Hassed, C. (2008). Mindfulness, wellbeing and performance. NeuroLeadershipJournal, (one).