Issue 9, Week of November 5 

This Week's Goods...

Kindergartners taking part in the Mindfulness program at Marsyville School in Southeast Portland, October 17, 2017 (KOIN)

Kindergartners taking part in the Mindfulness program at Marsyville School in Southeast Portland, October 17, 2017 (KOIN)

Building an "Ecosystem of Care." Spring does come after winter. Here, connection and community came after a devastating fire that burned down a Maryland school. When the school reopened three months later, the students and teachers were still struggling with trauma. It prompted administrators to try something new: embedding mindfulness in their curriculum through a program called MindUp (founded by actress Goldie Hawn). The school principle says what has resulted is a "school-wide ecosystem of care."  The results are pretty heartwarming and you can check them out for yourself.  An elementary school with "music and soft lighting" where everyone practices kindness? That's one way to curb the bullying culture.  KOIN6

Oh, that Flimsy Research. "Treatment for depression: mindfulness therapy is still unproven because of flimsy research." Newsweek seems to be all about the sensational titles these days, even though further down in the article the author admits that the research has been improving.  (And we can see that in two of the studies below.) We need the research because it validates clinical programming and operational budgets, but for many of us, the research is our own personal experience.  Anecdotal, I know. Newsweek  

Mindfulness for Traders.  Really, it is.  Perhaps not surprisingly, it's all about the focus and not so much about the love and compassion. Finance Magnates 

And the Studies Show...

Patients and Partners. A two week partner course with "the goals of cultivating mindfulness, interpersonal connection, gratitude and purpose" showed very promising results for patients with metastatic lung cancer. "Seventy-five percent said that they “benefitted greatly” from the program. The biggest improvements were seen with patient sleep disturbances, psychosocial distress and partner depressive symptoms." Cure

Add a Yes. Being aware of the present moment may have some benefit, but a Carnegie Mellon University study found that accepting the moment yields the most benefit. One technique is involves saying ‘yes’ to each experience. “For example, your back hurts, you say ‘yes,’ you welcome these experiences … they could be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. You welcome it." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A No-Go for Teens. The long and short of this study: a carefully controlled study, based on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), showed no benefits of mindfulness for teens on any measure, "and furthermore indicated an adverse effect for some participants." The final para lists some of the study's limitations. And based on the two previous examples, we might consider that adding elements, such as gratitude and acceptance, might change future outcomes.  Scientific American 

On the bookshelves...

Mindful Running. Runners often equate running with a kind of meditation because according to this piece:"both draw from the same characteristics for success: focus, discipline, structure, repetition." Now's there a whole book about it.  The author claims that mindfulness is more than a fad because "its benefits gives the practice an enduring credibility."At the same time, true contemplative practices are designed to lead to greater insight or altered traits, which aren't addressed in this article (more on this here: We Can Change, But How Much). The piece does however, include tips for making your run more mindful. We'll leave you with this takeaway: "Pain is in the neurons of the beholder.”  Minnesota Star Tribune


A Personal Reflection...

Ever do anything you really regret? Or behave poorly in a situation and felt guilty about it later? And then despite best intentions, do it again? And again? Well, that’s the motley human condition for you. The Mindful Goods  

Something to Take Forward...

"I have to disagree with Franklin Roosevelt and so many others who have said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I would turn the phrase on its head and maintain that the only thing we have to fear is our fear of fear." Gerald G. May