Linked below is an interesting Ted Talk video on mindfulness from Andy Puddicombe, a meditation expert and former Buddhist monk who writes for the Huffington Post, Guardian newspaper, and is co-creator of Headspace, an online company that specializes in meditation. In it, Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing absolutely nothing – not even thinking – for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment.

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future or getting caught up in making judgments about what is happening around you. We are big proponents of mindfulness at Marathon Health. In fact, our own employee MJ Gilmer, the nurse practitioner at Chico’s in Fort Meyers, Fla., is going to be teaching a 6-week mindfulness course to Chico’s employees.

The University of Rochester developed a checklist of signs that you might benefit from being mindful, including:

  • I find it difficult to stay focused on what’s happening in the present.
  • I snack without paying much attention to what I’m eating.
  • It seems I’m “running on automatic” without much awareness of what I’m doing.

According to HelpGuide, Mindfulness improves mental and physical health. Scientists have found that mindfulness techniques improve physical health in a number of ways, for example, it can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties. Psychotherapists have relied on mindfulness meditation as an important treatment to numerous problems like depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and many more.

One of the best ways to cultivate mindfulness is to focus on the breath, according to the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Try practicing for 10 minutes, 3 times a week. You’ll be happy you did.

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