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Mindful : February 2018
Therapy...coming to an app near you? A good-for-you vending machine Minimizing missed workdays Legal minds unite Mindful paths to a happy mood “All the changes throughout the history of our country come from just mindfulness, from awareness. You hear ‘awareness’ a lot. But that’s a real thing. The more you’re aware of something, the less scary it is and the less it feels like something that you have to protect yourself from. By protecting yourself, a lot of times what that is is people keeping other people from having rights.” SARAH SILVERMAN In September, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Pear Therapeutics’ app Reset for treating sub- stance abuse using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy—the first app to be approved for that condition. The FDA began regulating some categories of health-related apps in 2013 to promote innovation while protecting consumers from potential harm. Representa- tive Tim Ryan (D-OH) said of the recent approval, “Millions of Americans are suffering with drug dependency and addiction. Mobile technolog y may offer a means for imme- diate therapeutic inter vention that could make a tremendous difference in people’s lives at low cost. It may also pave the way for approval of apps employing mindfulness-based inter ventions.” “ Wellness to Go” vending machines are becoming common at US universities. The machines dispense common over-the- counter products, from allergy and pain relief to condoms. Stu- dents campaigned for the machines to be introduced because they offer slightly lower costs, more privacy, and longer hours than most campus pharmacies. Thanks to these improvements in accessibility, students express a sense of greater agency to make responsible decisions about their own well-being. In late 2016, lawyers and would-be law yers inter- ested in how mindfulness can help them reduce stress, perform better at their work, and promote caring and compassion banded together to form the Mindfulness in Law Society—with divisions for lawyers, law faculty, law students, and judges. In 2017 the MLS held its first conference, Mindful- ness in Law, August 3–4, in conjunction with the Association of American Law Schools. It focused on mindfulness in legal education, scholarship, and the legal profession, and on how mindfulness could help with the highly stress- ful experience of complet- ing law school. Traffic jams and phone glitches ruining your day? Two fac- ets of mindfulness may prevent daily aggravations from harshing your mel- low, says a study by psychologist Elisabeth Blanke of Humboldt Univer- sity of Berlin and her colleagues. Over nine days, they asked 70 col- lege students to answer questions on their smar t- phones several times daily about their feelings and levels of mindful- ness. The students reported happier emotions when they were atten- tive to the present moment—which may have helped them see the positives in a situa- tion—and fewer negative emo- tions when they were nonjudg- mentally accept- ing. Acceptance even seemed to prevent buoyant moods from being dragged down by ordinary hassles. Perhaps, say the researchers, short practices can be designed to boost the mindfulness components that enhance aspects of emotional well-being. If anxiety sometimes makes it tough to get to work, mindfulness may help. In a small clinical trial, 27 people with generalized anxiety disorder took a weekly course in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. After two months, the number of partial days missed at work slightly dropped in this group—but edged upward in 30 others who only received stress- management education. PHOTOGRAPHBYWENNLTD/ALAMYSTOCKPHOTO,AREKSOCHA/PIXABAY,GRAPHICBURGER February 2018 mindful 11