Making Mindfulness Work for You

Brain Health & Mental Health, Cultural Capital

On mindfulness and traditional forms of mindfulness

Our lives can either be an expression of joy or an expression of discontent; it depends on the content of the mind. Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Meditation, mindfulness or relaxation techniques can have a an incredible impact on brain health particularly because of the significant impact that stress has on our brain performance. Research reports have shown the impact of meditation on keeping the brain tissue healthy including:
1. Reducing thinning of the grey matter of the brain. The grey matter thins normally as we
age and is more severe with certain illness such as Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Improving psychological resilience ( our ability to cope with stress and work out how to move beyond these situations)
3. Alters pain processing
4. Improves problem-solving , creative and critical thinking, and the ability to focus.
They are incredible techniques. Their benefits are beyond the health benefits, beyond the
mundane or profane and in its original form was part of many religious, spiritual or sacred

Mindfulness works best as part of a
systematic approach to manage stress and find calm

One of the challenges with current approaches is that it looks at the benefits of meditation as a stand alone tool. It can only really work well enough as part of a systematic approach which can be gentle. Adopting habits for calm such as healthier food, less caffeine intake, exercise helps.

Second challenge is that it is portrayed in a specific way and sometimes we forget that we may have approaches to mindfulness and meditation that is embedded in our cultural systems, traditional knowledge, our communities or our families.

Do you feel constantly stressed and fatigued?
Do you want to transform your life?

My beautiful grandmother, who is the inspiration for the work I do, used to pray every morning. She would light a lamp communicating with the sacred. There was a discipline, a regularity and a rhythm to the practice. This is mindfulness as part of a tradition, woven into the way people live.
There are many examples across different cultures and communities.

A friend of mine, Nonhlanhla Vilakazi also expressed a way of lighting a candle to communicate with ancestors and again focused attention and communicating with the sacred. Similarly, when I was in Dublin at Trinity College, completing a fellowship on brain health equity, I was invited into a Catholic church is the city centre, and given a candle to light at the altar and to say a prayer. Exploring these intersections between different systems, people and knowledge system is so important as we navigate this increasingly complex and complicated world, as we try to inspire change to a healthier community

Their benefits are beyond the
health benefits, beyond the mundane or profane and in its original form was part of
many religious, spiritual or sacred traditions.

There are different ways to approach mindfulness and meditation, relaxation or stress management. Find the way that works for you, that resonates with you , that is practical for you to do and choose lifestyle habits that support this. You will feel healthier and will improve mental wellbeing and reduce your risk of illness and more.

Think better. Feel better. Love and live better with better brain health.

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Do you feel constantly stressed and fatigued? Do you want to transform your life?


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