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Mindful : April 2016
SLOWER TO SAY “OUCH!” Add to the list of benefits mind- fulness meditation can offer: an increased ability to withstand pain. Previous research has shown that mindfulness can alter the percep- tion of pain, effectively enabling people to tolerate higher levels. But what happens when the pain—or heat in this instance—gets dialed up? When researchers in Israel exposed two groups of participants to higher temperatures, and com- pared their reactions, those with meditation experience were able to tolerate the pain of higher heat, and shed the painful feelings more quickly, than those who hadn’t had such training. In another study, in the US, mindfulness was introduced to a group suffering from migraines, mostly college students. Those who were exposed to standard- ized mindfulness had signifi- cantly less pain-related stress than did students practicing simple relaxation. Research gathered from Greater Good Science Ctr. at UC Berkeley, Ctr. for Investigating Healthy Minds at U of Wisconsin-Madison, Ctr. for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School, and American Mindfulness Research Association. DIALING DOWN STRESS Employees at a financial institution’s busy call center seemed natural subjects for mindfulness training. Canadian researchers gave one group of such workers short guided meditations twice a day on headsets, while a control group got none. Then the groups were switched. Following sessions in mindfulness, employees felt less stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and negativity. Not only that, the clients on the other end of the calls repor ted greater satisfaction. 3Extra ordinary Acts of Kindness An anonymous person hung coats, hats, and other garments on trees in Boston last winter, with notes like, “I am not lost. If you are stuck out in the cold, please take what you need to keep warm.” Local commu- nity groups have installed bright red “kindness meters” in towns and cities across Canada. Coins inserted go to local charities. Syrian refugee Alex Assali offers free hot meals to Berlin’s homeless. Every Saturday, he sets up a table and a sign that says “Give something back to German people.” He usually feeds around 100. ● PHOTOGRAPHS:©MODUSTOLLENS,NATHANGRIFFITH,JEANSCHEIJEN/DOLLARPHOTOCLUB,©LINNELLESLER/FREEIMAGES.COM April 2016 mindful 15