Mindfulness improves health

My post is related to health because I am interested in that subject. According to Langer, “Mindfulness results in an increase in competence; a decrease in accidents; an increase in memory, creativity, and positive affect; a decrease in stress; and an increase in health and longevity, to name a few of the benefits” (Langer, 2000, p.220). I decided to find out more about the connection between mindfulness and health. Mindfulness can be described as “living in the moment” (Schwarb, 2012). A University of Utah study examined three techniques: mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and Zen meditation (Schwarb, 2012). “The treatments were found to be effective weapons against depression, anxiety and psychological distress. And in healthy people, some mindfulness techniques helped manage stress and improve psychological health and well-being. Other recent research has suggested that these mindfulness practices can improve brain function and structure, which could help explain their benefits to the human psyche” (Schwarb, 2012). I think it is important to recognize connections between our ways of thinking and our health, which can impact learning.

Langer, E. (2000). Mindful Learning. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 9(6), 220-223. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20182675

Schwarb, A.W. (2012, October 18). Practicing mindfulness improves physical and mental health. University of Florida Health Podcasts. Retrieved from http://news.health.ufl.edu/2012/20140/multimedia/health-in-a-heartbeat/practicing-mindfulness-improves-physical-and-mental-health/

6 Replies to “Mindfulness improves health”

  1. It almost sounds like the authors are using mindful learning and such as a synonym for relaxing. I’m not saying like kick back and have a beer relaxing, but not stressing out relaxing. I get the sense that mindful learning may involve some introspection from time to time. If we can afford to sit there for a moment and think about the day, I feel that this could help us become more relaxed, focused, and in some aspects a bit healthier.

    Just to be a pessimist though, I bet there is a certain struggle with just sitting there thinking over your day. It doesn’t seem like anything is happening, but it is. That sense of always have to be doing something productive pervades us. Maybe it is hard to chill, without the Netflix even. Personally, I take a few walks around campus each day to afford myself that opportunity. It also has the health benefit of getting off my butt so I’m not sitting all day.

  2. Thank you for your post related to health. I agree with you as far as the health aspects of mindfulness. I would however like to know what you think about mindful learning as in how Langer presents it in her book. There are some nuances there that are different from the general idea of “mindfulness” as people usually think of it.

    1. Jyotsana,

      I agree with Langer’s portrayal of mindful learning as being an effective learning method. Mindful learning allows students to expand beyond “the basics.” For example, “Most of us are not taught our skills, whether academic, athletic, or artistic, by the real experts. The rules we are given to practice are based on generally accepted truths about how to perform the task and not on our individual abilities. If we mindlessly practice these skills, we are not likely to surpass our teachers” (Langer, 1997, p.14). Thus, mindful learning is important for intellectual growth.
      Langer, E. J., 1947. (1997). The power of mindful learning. Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley.

  3. I also think health is a major factor in education. In terms of mindfulness I have to agree with what you have posted, because of sources. Our ways of thinking should contribute to our own state of health, and not cause to much stress and fatigue. Of course it is a good thing in small doses, I believe that having a healthy mindset and body can prevent many problems we associate with stress and overuse. Taking breaks, going outside, doing other things that are not school related have major impacts for me and my sanity.

  4. I think learning with mindfulness is an excellent method. I’ve had troubles with anxiety in the past, and mindfulness is an excellent way to deal with the issues. When we live our lives in a mindful way, like you said, we remember more. If we can be mindful in school, learning, and everyday life, I think we will maximize our learning potentials.

  5. Thank you for your post. This is a really important and valuable connection between mindfulness and health. Actually, when I consider my own and my friends’ experiences, traditional learning styles are not as effective as mindful learning. If mindfulness is that much effective on our mental health especially, I do not understand why we are still using other traditional teaching/learning styles.

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