Mindfulness for Busy People

In our earlier post ‘Your Smart-Phone May be Harming Your Brain Without You Realizing‘, we shared some research on electronic distractions from Time Magazine’s Special Edition on Mindfulness. However, digital distractions were just one of the many topics covered in this issue. Time also brought together a team of reporters to share research on ways that mindfulness techniques (breathing, meditating, taking control of our hectic brains, etc) can increase our focus, effectiveness and physical health.

Here are a few more nuggets from the Time issue:

“Mindfulness is about putting down our juggling balls for a little bit. It’s about embracing the beauty of monotasking.”

“Research out of the University of California, Irvine, reveals that not only do people tend to switch activities an alarming every three minutes during the course of a typical workday, but it takes them significantly longer to get back on the original task. And as U.C. Irvine professor Gloria Mark told Fast Company in 2008, all that ricocheting leads to ‘higher levels of stress, frustration, mental effort, feeling of time pressure and mental workload.’

“…if you’re the kind of person whose immediate reaction to meditation is an insistence that your brain just works too fast and you simply can’t, you’re exactly the kind of person who needs it most.”

“Mindfulness for me has meant purging a slew of apps from my phone and my notifications from almost everything. It’s meant overcoming my dread of boredom and sometimes going out for a run without listening to music. It’s meant similarly giving myself permission to not eat lunch in front of my computer. It’s [meant] taking a moment to sniff a tomato before chopping it for a salad or to take a few slow, steadying breaths when I’m feeling overwhelmed.”

“One study from Pennsylvania State University discovered that people who got distressed by little annoyances were more likely to have chronic health conditions such as arthritis-induced pain 10 years later.”

“Any kind of exercise is a stress reducer, but strolling in nature is ideal. One Japanese study found a link between chemicals released by trees, called phytoncides, and lowered levels of stress hormones.”

“Breathing exercises–a staple of mindfulness and yoga practices–have been shown to help control blood pressure, improve heart rate, make arteries more flexible and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which tamps down the body’s fight-or-flight response to stress.”

 

Further Reading

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