The view from within the mind studied from without

Posted on June 23, 2014

Paying attention or mindfulness comes naturally to all of us and is our birth right yet many humans have to be taught all over again how to stay anchored and undistracted in the present moment. This has presumably always been the case but in the early 21st century, where time pressured, hyper kinetic workplaces and lifestyles are the norm, the need for mindfulness practices has never been greater.

Dr Craig Hassed, GP and Senior Lecturer at Monash University, describes the many life-changing benefits of mindfulness, he points out that not paying attention has all kinds of detrimental effects on our body and mind. For example, he refers to one UK study that found workers distracted by email and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers.

Indeed, our lack of mindfulness defined by Hassed as our neurotic tendency to either worry about the future or dwell regretfully in the past, is the reason why so many of us complain of stress and stress-related disorders. He says, "The long term activation of this [stress] response produces physiological wear and tear on the system that’s called 'allostatic load'," adding that this is associated with everything from immune dysregulation and bone demineralisation to atrophy of nerve cells.

Conversely, the happiest people are those whose minds don’t endlessly wander, certainly a conclusion reached by researchers at Harvard University who observed: "A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost."

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Category(s):Adult ADHD, Mindfulness

Source material from Think and Be Happy