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Mindful : February 2017
What does a scientist in the esoteric field of telomere research have to say to us about improving the qual- ity of our day-to-day lives? Turns out, a lot. Elizabeth Blackburn won the Nobel Prize for determining that chromosomes are capped off by tightly wound telo- meres, which play a critical role in the aging process. The shor ter they become, Like so many elections, the 2016 national elec- tion in the United States was heavily influ- enced by citizens’ perceptions of their own prosperity and their prospects for the future. To measure how well we’re doing and what we can expect in the future, we’re asked to turn to economics, but economics is known as the dismal science for good reason. Most of us avoid it like the plague. Part of the problem is that economics has come to be defined as purely about money and mathematics. Yet, in the original sense of the word, in Greek, it referred to ordering of the household. And the household was understood to be the very earth itself. The ultimate economic question when the word was coined, and still to the present day, is: How do we manage, share, and exchange our resources for the good of all over the long term? Joel Magnuson’s ambitious work, Mindful Economics, tries to answer that question in the US context and to tackle the vexing question of rising income inequality. His mindful economics is not the simplistic variety where all we need is a few deep breaths before we make a big pur- chase. That might be a good idea, but Magnuson means mindful in the largest sense: being aware of how interconnected we are and how solu- tions may spring from paying close attention to that fact. It also tries to be an economics for real human beings with feelings, recognizing that money and emotion are deeply intertwined. The book is a bit of a door stopper, but a few of the chapters really make you think. It’s an admi- rable effort that hopefully will begin a trend toward books that examine mindfulness in a societal context. We need it. MINDFUL ECONOMICS How the US Economy Works, Why It Matters, and How it Could Be Different Joel Magnuson • Seven Stories the less capable they are of maintaining the integrity of our cells. Shor t telomeres are precursors of a host of ills, including dementia, heart disease, asthma, and lung disease. The good news is it’s possible to slow or even reverse that attrition. How? By reducing harmful stress, exercising, eating healthfully, meditating—in shor t, living mindfully. Don’t be misled by the book’s title. True, those of us under 30 would no doubt benefit from the suggestions here. But this is a book for all of us who would like practi- cal, clear, doable advice on starting or deepening a mindfulness practice. Perhaps its main value for younger people on the go is how pithy it is. Much of what Rogers writes about will sound comfortingly familiar to many readers. Anyone can live mindfully, she writes, “but it takes practice, and meditation is the way you practice mindfulness.” Her book serves as an effec- tive reminder of the value of mindfulness practices—and as a guide to keeping at them. THE TELOMERE EFFECT The New Science of Living Younger Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD; Elissa Epel, PhD • Grand Central THE MINDFUL TWENTY-SOMETHING Life Skills to Handle Stress... & Everything Else Holly B. Rogers, MD • New Harbinger 78 mindful February 2017 reviews Bookmark This read...listen...download