Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Mindfulness is becoming a trending word. Nevertheless, it may have practical benefits. In “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” Jon-Kabat Zin describes the concept in these words:
Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally. This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity and acceptance of present moment reality. It wakes us up to the fact that our lives unfold only in moments. ... Mindfulness provides a simple but powerful route for getting ourselves unstuck, back into touch with our own wisdom and vitality.
As for practical benefits for the law firm or the business, consultant Frank Michael D’Amore identifies these:
• Reduced costs associated with absenteeism caused by illness, injury and stress.
• Improved cognitive function in employees.
• Increased productivity and overall well‐being.
• Reduced turnover.
• Reduced health insurance premiums for the business.
• Improved employer/employee and client relations.
As for the impact on the individual, he documents these benefits:
• Lower blood pressure, comparable to taking prescription drugs, for those who are normal to moderately hypertensive, according to "The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation," Michael Murphy and Steven Donovan, The Institute of Noetic Sciences, 1997.
• In a study of health insurance data, meditators had 87 percent fewer hospitalizations for heart disease, 55 percent fewer for benign and malignant tumors and 30 percent fewer for infectious diseases, according to D. Orme‐Johnson, Psychosomatic Medicine, 1987.
• Meditation has been endorsed by the National Institute of Health as effective for the relief of chronic pain. Chronic pain sufferers have experienced a reduction in symptoms of 50 percent or more, according to "Four‐year follow‐up of a meditation‐based program for the self‐regulation of chronic pain," J. Kabat‐Zinn, L. Lipworth, et al., Clinical Journal of Pain 2, 1986.
• Seventy‐five percent of insomniacs who have been trained to meditate and have made simple lifestyle changes typically fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed, according to Say Goodnight to Insomnia, Gregg Jacobs, Harvard Medical School, Owl Books, 1999.
• Brain scans of meditators show increased thickness in regions of the cortex associated with higher functions, like memory and decision‐making at Massachusetts General Hospital, as reported by Carey Goldberg, The Boston Globe, November 23, 2005.