Translation from English

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Mindfulness-- the Rapidly Growing Field of Interest



Above: Me trying to be mindful while practicing Yoga this last Christmastime. I first learned mindfulness as a Yoga technique many years ago.

mind·ful·ness
ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/
noun
noun: mindfulness
  1. 1 1.
    the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something."their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition"



2.
a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

I have heard the word “mindfulness” bandied around about, especially as it has to concentration and work in articles fostered by The Huffington Post.

In researching this a little further, I found that I had “mindfulness” explained to me years ago in a simple class ( in which I was the only person not in a wheelchair—it was at the Institute for the Crippled and Disabled where I was being treated/ evaluated for Parkinson’s Disease)

The woman who led the class simply told us that in meditating in yoga, the goal was to keep our mind focused on something…and yet the human mind always had this tendency to stray away, like a dog on a leash. She used this to tell us that we would always have to be tugging our minds back to the center, just as we would be reigning in the dog on the leash….firmly but gently…

One study of mindfulness ( from heartwoodrefuge.org) states that 47% of the time our mind is straying, like the dog on the leash, away from what we are doing.

It is easier to be distracted and led off into different pathways while doing some activities rather than others: studies show this kind of correlation of  how prone your mind is to wander when:

--Brushing Your Teeth—65%

--Working—50%

--Conversation—32%

--Having Sex—10%

Research also shows that people substantially less happy when their mind is wandering  than paying attention to what they are doing ( 65% of people report they are happy when present-focussed as compared to 57% when mind-wandering,

When the quality of the wandering is only neutral, happiness falls to 58%, and when wadering negatively, to 43%.

Out of this comes the interesting proposition that if you are stuck in a traffic jam,
You will still be happier paying attention—mindfulness also reduces stress and improves your memory—

A study published by Oxford University published in 2013 looked at 273 participants in and concluded that a 10-session long 4-week session online reduced negative states as following: anxiety down by 58%, depression by 57% and stress by 40%.

More studies at the University of California produced similar results as did further study by British doctors— 68% of whom now endorse it.

A comparison was made in California between improved nutrition as opposed to just mindfulness alone and when the participants re-took the Graduate Records Exams, those with improved nutrition showed no improvement while the mindfulness coached group improved their average score from 460 to 520 ( on a scale of 800).

Incidentally, I took the Graduate Records exam years ago and got a perfect without every having heard of mindfulness. I know, though,   that I was calm and completely focused while taking the exam ( one downer note: the perfect score did not help me achieve other results I wanted, such as helping me get financial aid to continue my studies nor did it get me any particular respect from the people at  say, the University of Washington who seemed to regard getting the perfect score as some sort of scam on my part).


Well, the studies and stats go on and on ( I keep thinking of the old saying about lies, damn lies and statistics!) –but if the mindfulness approach really appeals to you,  there are plenty of  people and organizations that promise to help you achieve stellar results ( for a small fee, of course). And many educational and psychological programs have already included or integrated the mindfulness concept in what they do.