mindfulness in daily life

How being mindful can benefit relationships

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A friend has become a big believer in the power of mindfulness. Recently she said she thinks it has helped improve her marriage. I thought mindfulness was really just a new word for meditation. How can it help with relationships with other people?

While meditation can help a person develop mindfulness, the practice of being mindful is more than meditation. And some studies do suggest that mindfulness can help strengthen relationships.

Jon Kabat-Zinn is known as the “Father of Western Mindfulness” for his work with chronic pain patients at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, as well as for developing the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program and being the founding executive director of the Center for Mindfulness at UMass. He describes mindfulness as the ability to remain focused on the reality of the present moment and simply accepting it, without judging or evaluating it.

Mindfulness is seen as a way of life, not simply a method of how to react to different stressors. According to the center’s website, mindfulness involves purposeful action and focused attention that’s grounded in a person’s current experience and held with a sense of curiosity. While mindfulness is a core concept of Buddhism, it is something that anyone, regardless of belief system, can practice.

Being mindful prevents knee-jerk reactions toward other people that can often occur when you’re under stress. So, it seems logical that relationships can improve when one or more people adopt mindfulness techniques. And research lends support to that notion.

One study, published in Behavior Therapy in 2004, analyzed the benefits of an eight-week mindfulness training program on relatively happy couples. Compared with similar couples who hadn’t taken the training, those who did had improved levels of satisfaction, closeness, acceptance and other measures of their relationship, and they also showed higher levels of optimism, spirituality and relaxation as individuals. The results appeared to “take,” as the benefits were maintained in a three-month follow-up.

Two other studies, reported in an article in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy in 2007, also indicated that practicing mindfulness can help couples with communication and help them manage conflicts more smoothly.

To learn more about mindfulness, take a look at Ohio State University Extension’s “Mind and Body” page on the Family and Consumer Sciences LIve Smart Ohio website, livesmartohio.osu.edu. The posts, written by OSU Extension professionals, often incorporate aspects of mindfulness.

In addition, OSU Extension offers a four-week “Mindful Extension: A Guide to Practical Stress Reduction” group program. It was developed by Maryanna Klatt, an associate professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, who focuses her research on mindfulness and stress reduction. For details, see livesmartohio.osu.edu/mindful-extension.

Family Fundamentals is a monthly column on family issues. It is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Family Fundamentals, c/o Martha Filipic, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1044, or filipic.3@osu.edu.

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It had an impact.

“My teammates and I noticed that yoga and meditation improved our flexibility and focus, but also made us feel better, not just when we were rowing but in our everyday lives,” she recalled. “I wondered if yoga and meditation really have scientific benefits, especially if they have specific effects on the brain, and if so, how that works.”

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Why mindfulness will survive the backlash

Carolyn Gregoire, Huffington Post: First came the declarations that mindfulness was “having a moment.” Then came the backlash.

A number of publications (this one included) called 2014 the “year of mindfulness,” and a Time cover story went so far as to proclaim a “mindful revolution” in American culture. Everyone from Rupert Murdoch to Anderson Cooper to Lena Dunham spoke out about the virtues of meditation, and mindfulness — the cultivation of a focused, non-judgmental awareness on the present moment — swiftly made its way from spiritual retreat centers to public …

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How mindfulness changes your life

wildmind meditation newsMeditation MP3 – Mindfulness of Breathing Sarah Rudell Beach, The Huffington Post: Mindfulness is not a silver bullet. It’s not a magic trick that allofasudden eliminates stress and gives you the life of your dreams.

But here’s something I’ve noticed: Whenever I speak with people who have integrated a mindfulness practice into their lives, the phrase they almost always use to describe it is this:


It’s the phrase I’ve repeatedly used to explain the impact of mindfulness in my life, too.

I have a few theories about why mindfulness is so transformative, so powerful, so life-altering.

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Meditation helps quiet our overactive minds

Patrick Henry, The Buffalo News: Lately we’re hearing a lot about a simple technique scientifically proven to promote positive mental health, something I’ve been doing daily for some 20-odd years:


Well, that’s not quite true. It is definitely something.

Call it “meditation,” “mindfulness” or, simply, “sitting,” the practice of taking time to do what, at first glance, appears to be nothing is growing in popularity. Even Parade, the most widely read magazine in the country and a supplement to this newspaper, did a cover story on the subject (the article is …

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John Denley on using mindfulness to deal with stress, anxiety and depression

EchoLisa, Gloucestershire Echo, March 10, 2015: Picture the scene: You’re sat in a traffic jam and you’re late. The kids were playing up this morning, you couldn’t find your keys and you’ve got a long meeting first thing.

The tension is building in your head and then when you finally hit a clear stretch of road, the driver in front of you is dawdling and breaking for no apparent reason.

Your face turns purple and you start shouting, even though the motorist in front can’t hear you.

Does any of this sound familiar?

These are the sort of problems modern life foists on us on a daily basis. Life has become so busy and our senses are assaulted with so much information, it’s sometimes hard to cope.

One simple anxiety-busting way of dealing with it has increasingly become a standard operating procedure for stressed-out people – that of practising mindfulness.

Cheltenham-based motivational speaker, John Denley, teaches people in the county how to recognise the signs of stress, anxiety and depression and offers strategies on how to deal with them.

“We all have really busy lives and busy heads,” said the former Dean Close school pupil.

“We now have such a visibility of the whole world that we never had before.

“We all have this negative chatter going on in our heads. People are getting depressed because they are looking at the world around them and thinking ‘I should be better. I should be doing more and I’m not.’

“We have all this pressure to be thinner and more successful and better at our jobs. It’s all because we are being fed an image or expectation from outside.

“We can’t all be high fliers or super mums and that’s when so many people have negative chatter.

“When you are anxious, you don’t breathe properly and not enough oxygen is getting to your brain to allow you to think.

“It’s important to learn to breath better.

“Something as simple as counting allows you to stop that negative chatter.

“Mindfulness is about being present in the moment. If you are spending too much time thinking about what happened in the past, you may be depressed.

“Anxiety is when you spend too much time worrying about the future.

“Once you have the hang of being in the present, you can be mindful of the here and now.

“Shouting at people in the other cars when you’re in a traffic jam isn’t going to help. It’s a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness.

“Notice the feel of your backside on the seat, feel the vibration of the car, notice the birds flying past and suddenly your brain isn’t thinking about your road rage.”

John knows more than most what an effective weapon the ability to practice mindfulness is to have in your arsenal.

The IT expert was faced with financial ruin in 2012 when a business deal gone bad left him £300,000 in the red.

Yet the 44-year-old has been able to bounce back from the depths of despair and turn his misfortune into a business venture.

He said: “I helped an ex girlfriend set up a play centre and 12 months later we had to go into administration.

“That left me with about half a million pounds in personal guarantees.

“People ask me how you come back from that kind of blow, but you battle on and keep going.

“I was having low moods and feeling a bit rubbish. It was like uphill skiing. I got lower and lower.”

The pressure had been piling for a while, as John began suffering from depression and society anxiety after moving back to Cheltenham from London in 2001.

John undertook a number of training courses in London to overcome his issues, which began a journey of self-discovery, then transforming into helping others through his Find Your Fire Workshops.

They are aimed at helping us perceive the world around us, how our brains process what we see, hear and feel and how to change the negative stories we tell ourselves about our lives into positive alternatives.

And the next one is due to take place at the Landsown Pub, Cheltenham on April 25.

“Now I’ ve got these issues, I know how to deal with them.

“I had a massive anxiety attack in 2012 when I realised I’d run out of money and couldn’t pay my bills.

“I’ve been through the whole gamut of picking myself up. I’m now almost through the other side.

“I’ve been on a big personal journey where I’ve read lots of books and undertaken lots of training.

“I like the idea of talking to people and helping them so I put on a workshop last October and 50 people attended for a day of personal development.

“I looked back at my business career and realised I wanted to help people all along.”

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a mind-body approach to well-being that can help you change the way you think about experiences and reduce stress and anxiety and depression.

John’s 14 surefire ways to improve your mood every day:

  1. Every night, write down three things that you are grateful for
  2. Challenge your negative thoughts
  3. Make a positive music playlist
  4. Get outside into nature
  5. Get out of breath every day
  6. Learn to breathe better
  7. Practice meditation and mindfulness
  8. Spend more time with good friends who lift you up
  9. Do things you enjoy
  10. Avoid excess alcohol or other crutches
  11. Read more positive books (at least five pages a day)
  12. Stop watching news and rubbish on TV
  13. Take control of your finances
  14. Don’t let the outside world invade your thoughts before getting dressed in the morning and after undressing in the evening

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George Dvorsky, IO9: Mindfulness meditation, or focused attention, turns out to bring a surprising number of health benefits, including stress reduction, better attention and memory, and even increased creativity and feelings of compassion. It can also alleviate disturbed sleep, restructure our brains for the better (including developing more grey matter), and help you lose weight. It’s also incredibly relaxing and reinvigorating.

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These are examples of being mindless. In contrast, when we are mindful, we are aware of what is happening within and outside us.

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The company took the results of over 75 studies and meta-studies and created this visualization. The larger the text, the stronger and more promising the evidence. As you can see, there are positive benefits across all aspects of our lives, emotional, physical, cognitive, and social.

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Both victories were close calls – Lahiri pipped Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger by one shot in Kuala Lumpur and overcame compatriot SSP Chawrasia in a playoff in New Delhi.

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