Issue 3, Week of September 34

This Week's Goods...

Who's Afraid of Cuddly Nonsense?  By the sounds of this title - How To Make Mindfulness A Working Advantage (And Not Just Cuddly Nonsense) - perhaps someone at Fast Company? Nonetheless, the article does get into the "cuddly nonsense" at the end, citing a program undertaken at Deloitte that worked with 100 executives on "core mindfulness principles like vulnerable communication, reflective listening, and gratitude." It may just be semantics, but why do we need to qualify mindfulness programs - as if to make them sound serious enough - or dare we say, masculine enough? In addition to showing how mindfulness doesn't have to be a solitary affair, there are some useful tips in here, including this one: “Throughout the day, create a kind of balcony in your mind where you just watch your thoughts come and go. This transforms impulses into choices.”
Fast Company

What the Gold Standards Reveal. This article and the one above both highlight the same book: Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Body, and Brain).  One of the authors, Daniel Goleman, writes in this Harvard Biz piece that while there are new mindfulness studies coming out all the time, they are often less rigorous than other studies and shockingly only about one percent of several thousand articles “fit gold standards for medical research."  However, the solid studies reveal mindfulness does indeed help in four areas: stronger focus, staying calmer under stress, better memory, and good corporate citizenship.
Harvard Business Review
Too Cynical for Meditation? While over 4000 teachers in the UK are now trained in mindfulness, some studies on mindfulness in schools aren’t looking so hot. In one case 13 year olds in Australia participated in a nine week program that involves “stopping, feeling your feet, feeling your breathing and being present; training in how to be more mindful in everyday activities; and relaxation practices.” Yet, the article says, participants who completed the program “showed no benefits on any measure, either immediately or after the program or at follow-up.”  The researchers, who are “mindfulness enthusiasts,” wonder if perhaps the early teens just aren’t into it – because of their age.
The British Psychological Research Society Research Digest
Getting Med Students to Meditate. An injury with an HIV needle stick prompted a Stanford Medical Prof to rediscover her meditation practice.  It helped her so much that she decided to see what it could do for burned-out medical residents. Dr. Louise Wen introduced 43 residents from general surgery, anesthesia and obstetrics and gynecology to the Headspace app and they were asked to use it at least 8 times over a month. While she found that residents showed increasing benefits correlated with more app usage, one of the biggest challenges was actually getting them to practice.  She is now looking at whether or not having attending physicians “share their personal meditation and gratitude practices” increases interest.
Scope, Stanford Medicine

From the tech world...

Meditation app, Simple Habit, made an appearance on ABC’s hit reality-TV- entrepreneurship show Shark Tank.  Founder Yunha Kim didn’t make a deal with her high valuation, but she nabbed some publicity and an offer from Richard Branson. Business 2 Community
And another new app is soon to launch – Masters of Mindfulness – and this one seems to have everything and the kitchen sink: a mood tracker, gratitude journal, “upspirations,” video interviews, and of course, meditations.
Daily Telescope
The Next Wave in meditation and tech is coming. Los Angeles-based VR software development company TRIPP is creating ‘mindfulness’ VR software that “can deliver a more-focused brain stimulation that could improve a person’s well being and mental health.”  Quoted from their press release, TRIPP intends to use “visuals, sounds and targeted interactivity to first create a state of calm [and] then take you on a journey that can stimulate a number of different feelings and moods.”  The goal is for users to “step back from their busy lives and enjoy a sensory experience unlike any other.” Road to VR

A personal reflection...

A friend was recently telling me about a leadership conference she attended, which included a session called, Mindfulness and Race Relations. “Lots of people wanted to be part of the session,” she said. “But they were having a hard time making the connection between mindfulness and race relations — or even relationships with other people at all.” The Mindful Goods

Something to take forward... 

"When you flip the switch in [an] attic, it doesn't matter whether it’s been dark for ten minutes, ten years or ten decades. The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see the things you couldn't see before. @SharonSalzberg

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