The Mindful Index
1. Big brain benefits: Magnetic resonance (MR) images have shown that daily meditation for eight weeks increases grey matter density in the hippocampus – the part of the brain associated with learning and memory. Meanwhile it decreases in the amygdala, which is responsible for feelings of stress and anxiety.
2. There are now some 1,300 mindful apps available. Headspace, has been downloaded over 11 million times and has 8.5m active users. Worldwide fans include Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson.
3. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and self-aware. Originating in buddhism and the vedas tribes from ancient india, it was popularised in the west for the treatment of stress by U.S. Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn.
4. The increase in online searches for ‘mindfulness’ over the last five years is 67%.
5. Mindful sex involves being able to observe and describe what’s happening inside your body and mind without sorting experiences into ‘bad’ and ‘good’. In a study, women who practised it reported feeling much more aroused, much more quickly.
6. Mindful colouring books generated £18.4million in revenue during 2015, in the UK alone.
7. The world’s most mindful cities are:
- Aarhus (Denmark)
- Lucerne (Switzerland)
- Reykjavik (Iceland)
- Bergen (Norway)
- Turku (Finland)
Analysed data included attributes such as social tolerance, work-life balance, civic engagement, healthcare, ecological footprint and income levels. (The World Economic Forum)
8. 30% of British GPs refer patients at war with their thoughts for mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.
Try this. Slowly breathing in through your nose and then exhaling for longer through your mouth stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system – your body’s natural stress reliever.
Mind-Body medicine pioneer Deepak Chopra estimates that people who meditate for many years have a biological age five to 10 years lower than their actual age.
Just four days of mindfulness meditation has been found to cut pain perception in half for those taking part.
A different perspective
Heartfulness is an approach to life that focuses on what your heart is telling you rather than your mind. It’s about cultivating compassion and connecting with the world through the qualities of the heart.
Three mindful companies
- Google offers its employees daily practice sessions in more than 35 offices worldwide, and day-long meditation retreats in five locations. It has embedded mindfulness at meetings and has introduced initiatives to encourage both teams and offices to practise mindfulness together.
- Transport for London offers its staff a six-week programme – which teaches CBT and other techniques as well as mindfulness – to help them develop a healthier approach to life. This has led to a 71% reduction in days off for stress, anxiety and depression; absences across the board fell 50%.
- Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust launched the Staff Mindfulness Project in 2012 for those who have experienced depression or are stressed. Since then, 12 mindfulness-based cognitive therapy eight-week programmes have been delivered a year and 150 staff have completed courses.
Read more: Are millennials more mindful?