How Does Mindfulness Improve Health and Well-Being? Part 2

O. Carl Simonton, M.D.

Mind training, such as mindfulness practice makes us more stress-hardy and resilient. Instead of being victims of environmental stressors or stressful situations, we can choose to respond in healthy ways to the stressors that are part of life. Thought processes below the level of our awareness become increasingly observable as we practice mindfulness. In a related concept, which I learned from one of my mentors—O. Carl Simonton, M.D.—energy is essential to health and mindfulness frees up enormous stores of energy. This is because, as psychologist Charles Tart explains, we no longer need to expend so much of it processing events that actually require no processing.

Another key health advantage of mindfulness practice is that it allows us to detect prodomes: early, subtle signs and symptoms of illness. This gives us the opportunity to care for ourselves in ways that can lessen the severity of illness—to rest instead of going out, for example. It also gives us a chance to see a doctor early, when treatment can often be most effective. Many types of illness, especially cancers, become more treatable the sooner you catch them, and in the very early stages can even be cured. Given the frequency with which colds and more serious diseases follow episodes of emotional distress, it is useful to view the signs of emotional distress themselves as prodromes of illness. Of course, we must first learn how to develop the awareness that we are in fact feeling distressed, and this, too, is where a mindfulness practice proves useful.

 And so we have seen that there are many benefits to be gained from a mindfulness practice—psychological, emotional, and physiological. These include profound and in some cases even life-saving health benefits, which is why the practice can be especially helpful in terms of health and well-being. 

In our exploration of mindfulness in previous posts, we saw that mindfulness is an activity, not a philosophy. Practice is the activity that will deliver its benefits, and will be explored in future posts. 

2 replies
  1. Marty Parrill says:

    Mindfulness for the novice present considerable issues. The count your breath model Bubuddhist say takes a decade just to learn how.

    count your breath is an abstract concept which when we close our eyes does not have form.

    That exact challenge faces many of us healed now trying to support others online. The intellectual side of mindfulness has little influence on say C-PTSD. Our trauma is woven in with of childhood development. Some parts and emotions become stuck. This is why we feel conflicted at times.

    I have heard and also described feeling like a child. This is because trauma is stored atthe time of the abuse with our capabilities at the moment. If you feel like a child you are handling your trauma or are triggered.

    I sat using mindfulness for four years four hours plus everyday. When I healed, my time was dedicated to perfecting the way out. VDistilling exactly what it takes to heal. trial and error and application worked.

    I came up with a breathing track a model specific, simple, concrete to assist novices to be able to focus on the breath easier. I always got lost at the end of the inhale or exhale. So, I connected them with flat arches. Immeditately this model was balanced.

    My mind never considered the breath and a balanced continuum with an easy flow. It has been used with success by people reading my blog. meditation I was not able to convey to someone to be able to practice from my blog.

    Now it is simple. My model brings in two more senses and allows us to trace our breath with eyes open at Firrst. The abstract doubt has been replaced by a concrete, we can now touch and see this model of the breath.

    maybe think of it like racquetball. Going outin a field distorts the game of racquetball. It is hard to practice or envision the angles with an enclosed court. Now if we enter the court our mind already expects the setting we will practice this skill upon. Same thing for mindfulness.

    Give them something they can hold, touch, feel the breath as it bends around the transitions. Everyone can do this with eyes open.

    Thanks for the great resources



    • Larry Berkelhammer says:

      That sounds very interesting. It’s great that there are so many varied ways of practicing mindfulness with the process of breathing. That way, many more people will be able to find a method that works for them.

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