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Mindfulness and the Body

Researchers continue to build a case for the importance of engaging the body for stress-reduction and mindfulness. Two separate studies this year support what body- psychotherapies, like core energetics, bioenergetics and somatic experiencing, have long promoted—that certain body practices can be critical factors in mental health and happiness.

A recent article in the Journal of Adolescent Health reported findings by researchers at UCLA that a four-week program of body, mind and lifestyle techniques, including practices like yoga, helped high school students feel less impulsive.. This suggests the importance of having tools to respond to “challenging situations in constructive and mindful ways, rather than impulsively,” according to Dr. Dara Ghahremani who conducted the study.

Another recent report in Health Psychology by scientists at University of California–Davis Center for Mind and Brain added to the growing body of evidence for physiological reasons that mindfulness and focusing on the present can directly reduce stress levels. The study assessed a small group of individuals before and after a three-month meditation retreat.

In the study, mindfulness was measured by questionnaire responses. Cortisol levels in saliva also were measured. The results? Increased mindfulness was associated with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Though this was only early-stage research, as the study did not include a control group and involved only a small sample of people, the results suggest positive effects on the body-mind state when the body itself is engaged in mindfulness.

Diana Buonocore runs a Core Energetics practice in Nyack and NYC, applying a system of body-movement, breath-work and mindfulness techniques to support her clients in overcoming stress, anxiety, depression and family and relationship issues and in reaching full-body states of happiness. For more information, contact 521-0030 or or visit

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