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Dr Michael Mosley on the importance of routine for sleep
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Although your day-to-day routine might be packed, it could help to press the pause button on a busy day. Taking just 10 minutes to practice this easy task could improve your sleep, memory, boost your mood as well as “reduce pain”. The practice the doctor is describing on his podcast Just One Thing is mindfulness, also known, as mindful meditation.
Even though mindfulness has become very popular in recent years, its roots go back to some “very ancient ideas”.
Dr Mosley said: “When I took up mindfulness meditation a few years ago, I was surprised to find that just a few weeks of 10 minutes a day really seemed to help my mindset.
“The clinically proven benefits really are both widespread and impressive.
“Taking some time each day to focus on your breath and checking in with your body can reduce pain and stress levels as well as boosting your immune system and wellbeing.”
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The podcaster invited a guest, urinary tract infection men home treatment Dr Sara Lazar, an associate professor in psychology at Harvard Medical School, to explain further what the link between pain and meditation is.
Dr Lazar said: “There’s some evidence that it also helps with sleep and with pain.
“Definitely, there’s some decrease in pain with meditation, but the big change is how you respond to the pain for people with chronic pain.
“Often times, the chronic pain is not going to go away.
“And so if you can change the relationship to the pain, that’s tremendous.”
The guest expert also explained how to dive into mindful meditation. Fortunately, it’s very easy and you don’t need any prior experience.
Dr Lazar said: “Mindfulness is often defined as present moment awareness of experience in this open, curious non-judgmental way.
“And you can be mindful anytime, anywhere, 24/7.
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“Meditation is a formal way of training the mind where you choose one object and you focus on it.”
The expert suggested focusing on something like breathing and paying attention to it in an “open, non-judgmental way”.
However, she also warned that if you experienced any trauma in your past, you should approach this practice carefully.
The doctor added: “If someone has a lot of trauma in their background, they should start with five or 10 minutes and definitely under the guidance of a good mental health professional, and also a good meditation teacher who has experience working with people with trauma.”
This isn’t the first time Dr Mosley explained that your mind may play a bigger role in pain than you think.
He has previously penned about how “tapping into the power of placebo effect” could work for reducing aches.
The expert conducted research that showed that people were able to reduce their back pain when they thought they took painkillers.
And mindful meditation seems to be another way of using your mind to combat pain.
Dr Mosley added: “So there it is mindful meditation, just 10 minutes a day, and you could improve your mental health, reduce pain and actually change the structure of your brain for the better.”
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