According to the article "Top Ten Tips", it is recommended that mindfulness is expanded by practicing meditation and/or contemplation. The underlying purpose of mindfulness is to become aware of feelings. Feelings are the driver of our behavior, the source of either health or dis-ease.
While both mindful tools increase awareness, it is important to know the difference between meditation and contemplation. Meditation means to sit-down in a quiet place and become the focus of awareness of the mind. To witness the mind as a phenomenon without identifying with its activity. Meditation is an activity that is carved out for a specific time outside normal daily routine. By comparison, contemplation is a way a being throughout the normal activities of the day. The feeling or affirmation is set by intention at the beginning of the day and is held in mind with focus throughout the day. Contemplation doesn't disrupt the daily activity. It enhances life experiences.
Holding in mind a positive feeling throughout the day reduces physiological stress according to the latest research. In the research article “Giving to Others and the Association between Stress and Mortality” the researchers from the University of Buffalo found that “helping others reduced mortality by specifically buffering the association between stress and mortality (1).” Giving to other despite experiencing stressful experiences (i.e., death of a spouse, job loss, financial worries, etc.) has a positive effect on health.
Heart rate variability is a measurement that we use to analyze physiological stress. We know that when we measure a patient’s heart rate variability while he is holding a positive feeling in mind, the heart rate variability is coherent and sends a harmonizing tone to the brain. adrenal glands, and digestive system. This neurological field may even change the expression of DNA (2) . Clinically, we see improvement in the immune function.
Whether mindfulness is expanded with meditation or contemplation, making the tool a consistent daily practice yields positive health and well-being benefits.
(1) Michael J. Poulin, Stephanie L. Brown, Amanda J. Dillard, Dylan M. Smith. Giving to Others and the Association Between Stress and Mortality. American Journal of Public Health, 2013; e1 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300876
(2) McCraty, R. Modulaltion of DNA Conformation by Heart-Focused Intention, HeartMath Research Center, Institute of HeartMath, Publication No. 03-008. Boulder Creek, CA, 2003)