Mainstreaming Mindfulness

What is it and why should it be of interest to me?

Mindfulness is a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. Originally having its roots in Buddhist meditation, the practice of mindfulness has been found to reduce stress and anxiety, unlock creativity, and boost performance in the workplace. General Mills recently installed a meditation room in every building of its Minneapolis campus. Google has a program called “Search Inside Yourself” for employees to learn and practice mindfulness on the job. Even the Pentagon is currently experimenting with it to make soldiers more resilient and less susceptible to stress disorders like PTSD.

Four decades of research have proven that mindfulness leads to the following outcomes:

  • Boosts performance: Makes it easier to pay attention and remember information.
  • Enhanced health: Lowers blood pressure and levels of cortisol, and increases the immune system’s ability to fight off illness.
  • Greater sense of well-being: Individuals experienced less stress, anxiety, and negative emotions.
  • Changes in the Brain: Increases the density of grey matter in our brains that are linked to learning, memory, creativity, emotion regulation and empathy.
  • Enhances relationships: Couples who practice mindfulness report being more optimistic and relaxed while feeling closer and more accepting of each other.