Mindfulness and your health

They go hand in hand, say Ed Halliwell and Jonty Heaversedge. 

photo © flickr.com/perpetualplum

Stress has a huge impact on our society. Mental health problems cost the British economy around £100 billion a year, and seven million UK adults are so tense they’d qualify for a diagnosis of anxiety disorder. Many of the physical ailments that overwhelm our health services are also stress-related—whether we suffer from heart disease, headaches or high blood pressure, our fast-paced lives tend not to be good for us. We want to be happy and well, but despite all the technology of our modern world, not many people find real peace.

Perhaps that’s why psychology and healthcare experts are turning to a strategy developed in a much earlier age. Mindfulness meditation has been around for over 2000 years, and courses which teach it are springing up everywhere. As we describe in our book The Mindful Manifesto, this is largely because a growing body of scientific research shows that mindfulness can make a real difference to people’s quality of life. Studies have found that mindfulness training can protect people from depression, reduce their stress levels, help them manage chronic pain, let go of compulsive behaviours like smoking and over-eating, and even enable them to cope better with cancer and other serious…