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Health benefits of mindful meditation

Sreve Jobs swore by and it and now mindfulness is fast emerging as the hottest meditative tool, which is known to contribute to our wellbeing and productivity.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : February 10, 2016 1:24 PM IST

steve jobSreve Jobs swore by and it and now mindfulness is fast emerging as the hottest meditative tool, which is known to contribute to our wellbeing and productivity. Mindfulness is all about being focussed on the present moment, which has the power to liberate one from the shackles of past failures or pointless day dreaming about the future. Given its global sweep and popularity, Time magazine featured mindfulness on its covers early this year as 'the science of finding focus in a stressed out, multi-tasking culture'.

'The key to success in a fast paced world is a calm, resilient and non-judgemental inner being, steeped in mindfulness,' Santhosh Babu, a leading life coach, author and business consultant, told IANS. 'So it boils down to choosing how you want to feel and be while you are doing what is required in your role,' added Babu, managing director, Organisation Development Alternatives (ODA), motivating corporates to change limiting beliefs. 'Some of the organisations that I am working with are already adopting mindfulness as a part of their leadership development programmes,' said the life coach.

Steve Jobs, Apple's iconic CEO, also vouched for mindfulness. 'If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse,' Jobs told his biographer Walter Issacs. 'But over time it does calm, and when it does... that's when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more,' he told Issacs. Retaining competitive edge, which requires long, fatiguing hours at work, could also mean burnout, sleep deprivation and exhaustion, which is currently afflicting the American workforce, according to Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of 'The Huffington Post'.

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However, meditative programmes could be an answer to existential crisis. Mindfulness, pursued vigorously by the General Mills, an American food processing giant, may explain why it ranks third in the Fortune list of 'Global Top Companies For Leaders,' and performing consistently well over the years. Meditative states decrease blood pressure and lower brain's hyperactivity, promoting mental peace, emotional harmony and optimal performance, as clinical studies by Ramesh Manocha, medical scientist at the University of Sydney, have established.

Closer home, Babu is anchoring the country's first-ever retreat on mindfulness at Palakkad in Kerala this month to help professionals tap its potential and take business to the next levels. Babu did odd jobs as primary school teacher, dog trainer, stage hypnotist and World Wildlife Fund volunteer, before teaming up with senior business leaders to help them overcome limiting beliefs. 'Increasing demands on our time and attention, besides being at the beck and call of cell phones and tablets, render the task of being in touch with our inner selves rather difficult,' said Babu.

'We learn that the only corner in this universe where we have complete control is ourselves. This explains the popularity of mindfulness as a concept, tool or a way of life,' added Babu. People tend to follow one of the personal transformational tools like yoga or meditation. 'But I am trying to achieve something more ambitious at the retreat, harmonising multiple methodologies to catalyse an inner shift and integrate body, mind and soul,' said Babu. 'This year we have therapists from New York and London along with their Indian counterparts at the retreat. I hope next year we have a larger population from all over the world coming to India, where mindfulness as a concept probably originated,' said Babu.

Health benefits of meditation:

Meditation makes you more liberal!

Besides conferring health benefits, meditation also fosters liberal attitudes immediately after a session, say Canadian researchers. 'There's great overlap between religious beliefs and political orientations,' says psychology researcher Jordan Peterson of University of Toronto. 'Inducing a spiritual experience through a guided meditation exercise led both liberals and conservatives to endorse more liberal political attitudes,' adds Peterson, a study co-author. 'While religiousness is characterised by devotion to a specific tradition, set of principles, or code of conduct, spirituality is associated with the direct experience of self-transcendence and the feeling that we're all connected,' says Jacob Hirsh of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, who led the study. Read more

Meditation makes you smarter!

Meditation does make the brain smarter, allowing it to process information faster and improve decision making, according to the latest study. Eileen Luders, assistant professor at the University of California Los Angeles Lab of Neuro Imaging, and colleagues have found that long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification (folding of the cortex, which may allow the brain to act faster, with a host of benefits) than non-meditators. Read more

Meditation suppresses info overload and eases pain

Mindfulness meditation helps regulate a vital brain wave called the alpha rhythm which suppresses information overload and improves memory, besides easing pain. It involves focusing your mind on the present, which is known to improve mood, decrease stress and boost immune function. The alpha rhythm is particularly active in the cells that process touch, sight and sound in the brain's outmost layer, the cortex, where it helps to turn down distracting sensations and regulate the flow of sensory information among brain regions. (Read:Meditation actually affects your genes!)

With inputs from IANS

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