Mindfulness is Becoming Mainstream in the US
- Breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation and yoga are making their way into schools where they are sometimes offered as an alternative to detentions and punishments.
Yoga and meditation are becoming increasingly mainstream according to a new report issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As compared to data collected in Y 2012, rates of involvement with these 2 complementary health approaches were on the rise in Y 2017, with more women than men taking advantage of these activities and the health benefits associated with them.
“Many people turn to complementary health approaches, such as yoga and meditation, in order to help with symptom management, such as pain. As well, they turn to these approaches for a general sense of well-being,” noted report coauthor Richard Nahin, PhD., lead epidemiologist at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) says.
When comparing the results of the Y’s 2012 and 2017 surveys, Dr. Nahin and his colleagues observed the following:
- The use of yoga as a complementary health approach increased from 9.5% in Y 2012 to 14.3% in Y 2017
- Meditation use increased more than threefold from 4.1% in Y 2012 to 14.2% in Y 2017
- The use of chiropractors edged up a bit from 9.1% in Y 2012 to 10.3% in Y 2017
About the survey outcomes, the NCCIH said: “Over the past five years, more Americans of all ages are rolling out their yoga mats and meditating. A large nationally representative survey shows that the number of American adults and children using yoga and meditation has significantly increased over previous years and that use of chiropractic care has increased modestly for adults and held steady for children.”
Dr. Nahin says that 3 methods of complementary medicine are believed to have health benefits.
Specifically, he noted the following:
- Yoga is thought to improve not only one’s general well-being, but also mental health and stress management
- Yoga has been shown to relieve lower back and neck pain.
- Meditation can help one deal with some medical problems
Yoga is a powerful mind/body practice
Yoga has been around for 1000’s of years, it is a form of exercise one can perform at any age or skill level. It provides both mental and physical benefits. Beyond being a form of physical exercise, yoga can be a lifestyle practice that integrates mental and spiritual elements too.
I learned about it 20 yrs ago and have been practicing it since.
Yoga can be viewed as a form of meditation that demands one’s full attention as you move from 1 position to another eliminating all monkey thoughts.
As we learn new ways of moving and responding to our body and mind, other areas of your life begin to shift and change. So, in a sense, we become more physically flexible, and our mind/body and approach to life also gains flexibility.
A report by the Institute of Science in Society details how meditative practices such as yoga can actually alter one’s genetic expression through the impact on the mind. And we now know the 1000’s of genes have been identified that appear to be directly influenced by our subjective mental state.
Stress is one of the biggest challenges facing US adults, with many reporting the negative impact stress has on their mental and physical health.
The American Psychological Association’s 2018 Stress in America survey revealed the average reported stress level of American adults on a scale of 1 to 10 is 4.9.
Given the extent of stress and its far-reaching effects, meditation is a simple technique you can practice anytime, anywhere to alleviate stress. If you are not sure where to begin, gratitude can be a great focal point for lower stress.
By reflecting on things for which we can be thankful. Vs what is irritating or lacking in life, can do wonders to energize your mood and dampen our stress levels.
One type of meditation easily applied to virtually any activity is called “mindfulness,” which involves paying attention to the moment you are in now. Rather than letting your mind wander actively choose to live in the moment, while letting distracting thoughts pass through your mind without getting caught up in them. I call it ‘Living in the Now’
People can incorporate mindfulness into almost every aspect of daily life; eating, driving or working by reining in the mind and paying attention to the sensations being experienced in the moment.
Mindfulness meditation has been making inroads to schools where disruptive children are no longer sent to the Principal’s office or stood in the corner and made examples of by teachers for misbehaving.
Instead, they go to what has come to be know “Mindful Moment Room” and rather than staring at a wall or sitting in a corner, children are encouraged to engage in healthy practices like breathing and meditation designed to help them calm down, focus and center. An a trained adult helps them calmly talk through what happened.
The result, when children learn to meditate, they do.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
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