From the desk of J D Faccinetti, co-founder – I was first seriously exposed to mindfulness a few years ago when an expert on the subject made a remarkable presentation at an international conference in Italy. I was instantly hooked and wanted to learn more, so I set out to dig and discover.
It turns out mindfulness has been around forever. I read somewhere around 2500 years. For its popularity in the US, we can thank Jon Kabat-Zinn. He founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and developed the Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program by adapting Buddhist teachings on mindfulness.
Mindfulness – this from the Mayo Clinic – “is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.” I’m not going to explain it here, but I am going to suggest you read this excellent article from Berkeley Wellness, Bringing Mindfulness to Work by Peter Jaret. I would also recommend looking at this article in Greater Good Magazine “What is Mindfulness” for another excellent definition and explanation. I think it will give you a good idea of what I’m talking about and provide a unique perspective on the practice and its benefits. There are thousands of articles explaining and musing on mindfulness. One of the best mindfulness definitions I found comes from a piece in Psychology Today, Mindful Sex is Mind-Blowing Sex by Laurie Mintz Ph.D., published in September 2017. The article aptly describes mindfulness as the ability to turn your brain to “Off Mode”.
I’m also going to suggest you read this article: “What We Still Don’t Know about Mindfulness Meditation” by Hooria Jazaieri. The article quotes a recent meta-analysis study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, which examined 47 randomized controlled trials of mindfulness meditation programs that included 3,515 participants. They found that meditation programs resulted in small to moderate reductions in anxiety, depression, and pain. The authors note that although these effects are small, they are “comparable with what would be expected from the use of an antidepressant in a primary care population but without the associated toxicities.” The scientific review showed “low evidence of improvements in stress, distress, and quality of life” and “no evidence of meditation programs’ effect on positive mood and feelings, attention, substance use, eating habits, sleep, and weight.” Although it showed no more benefit than active treatments – such as exercise, therapy, or taking prescription drugs – according to the authors, meditation programs did not seem harmful.
Whether helpful or not, I liked learning to relax, disconnect, and be more in the moment. It works for me. Try it and see if it works for you.
“A day thinking about what could happen, should happen, or what might have been, is a day missed.”
As I was researching this article, I came across thousands of pages of advice, books, videos, and how-to guides; you would think you can solve every world problem with mindfulness if you listen to some people. However, after all that reading, I realized that if you learn to be in “Brain Off” mode, you decide how to make it work for you, and YOU decide how to bring mindfulness into your life. So, we’ve enlisted fellow patient, friend, triathlete, and author Marisa “Risa” Heidt to help us with mindfulness tools and advice.
Look for Risa’s mindfulness contributions here, and check out her videos with helpful tips on exercises. You can view practice videos here, and stay tuned to PWN for more useful tools and contributions.
As always, please send us your comments, experiences, and suggestions.
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