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  • Writer's pictureChristoph Spiessens

How Can Mindfulness Meditation Actually Reduce Stress?

It might sound surprising, but despite the vast evidence base for the effectiveness of Mindfulness, there is no consensus in the psychological literature on the definition of Mindfulness or its “mechanisms” (the processes responsible for the changes).

However, the following mechanisms are widely recognised as influential and are being cultivated during (genuine) Mindfulness practice:

Attention Regulation (the ability to deliberately maintain attention on immediate experience)

Body Awareness (the capacity to notice internal body sensations)

Decentering / Change in perspective on the self (an increased clarity and objectivity in relation to one’s experience, internal and external)

Emotional Regulation (strategies for influencing the arising and duration of emotions and altering emotional responses)

Taken together, these mechanisms interact during mindfulness meditation to develop enhanced Self-Regulation; the effective modulating of one’s impulses and behavioural responses, which can mitigate stress by restoring psychological homeostasis or balance.

Learning Mindfulness takes dedicated practice and can feel like a lonely endeavour, but a supportive group environment can help. Every Sunday evening I offer 30 minutes of free, guided Mindfulness meditation practice via ZOOM. You can sign up for these “Sunday Sits” via my website. Suitable for beginners and more advanced practitioners. Hope to see you there!

References: Alsubaie et al., 2017; Bishop et al., 2004; Carney et al., 2023; Gordon et al., 2022; Hölzel et al., 2011; Lyall et al., 2021; Teasdale, 2022; Vago & Silbersweig, 2012.

Unfiltered picture for an unfiltered life (taken in RHS Garden Bridgewater)

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