Updated: Mar 14, 2022
Mindfulness is being. Being aware of your environment. Being in the moment. Being in touch with your body. Again, as I have said before, mindfulness is not sitting crossed legged humming, that is meditating, a bridge to mindfulness. Being in the moment through mindfulness has been associated with experiencing more in every moment and increasing our quality of life.
A quality of life can be hard to find when something traumatic happens to you. People who have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) from a split-second incident are a good example. I cant even contemplate how hard it must be for someone to come to terms with a completely new way of living (different mobility, cognitive functioning, pain, relationships, etc). A mindfulness intervention may be beneficial to everyday lifestyles, but what about someone who has to adapt to a completely new lifestyle, someone who has to cope with being a completely new person?
Michel Bedard from Lakehead University looked to investigate just that. He was interested to see whether Quality of Life would be influenced by implementing a mindfulness-based intervention for people with TBIs. Michel Bedard and colleagues recruited 10 TBI individuals with mild to moderate brain injuries at least 1 year after their injury had occurred. They measured their quality of life and psychological status before and after the mindfulness-based intervention. The results were compared to 3 control individuals.
The mindfulness-based intervention involved a weekly group mindfulness session for a 12-week period. The mindfulness group went through insight meditations, breathing exercises, guided visualisations and group discussions. The main aim of the sessions was to encourage the individuals to consider a new way of thinking about disability and to create a sense of acceptance. The researchers used the SF-36 Health Survey questionnaire which considers physical and cognitive health to assess quality of life. They also used Beck's Depression Inventory as a measure of psychological status.
The results showed that after the 12-week mindfulness-based intervention individuals quality of life increased by 15.6 points on the SF-36, which is a huge increase (maximum score of 100) compared to the control group which increased by 1.67 points. The results also showed a statistically significant decrease on the Beck's Depression Inventory in the mindfulness-based intervention group, supporting the idea that mindfulness improves psychological wellbeing in TBI individuals.
In conclusion, it seems that research supports the view that mindfulness increases quality of life, not just for the general population, but for those who have suffered from a very traumatic experience. A Mindful Life IS a Quality Life.
At The Neuro PT, we offer a mindfulness group, incorporating breathing exercises, group discussion and different mindfulness practices focusing on our different sense, similar to the research discussed. Mindfulness practice should be discussed and considered more. Everyone can do it, just sit down, be still and be mindful.