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Mindful : December 2016
Research gathered from Greater Good Science Ctr. at UC Berkeley, Ctr. for Healthy Minds at U of Wisconsin-Madison, Ctr. for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School, and American Mindfulness Research Association. A Model Mindful Office Meditation app company Headspace isn’t just sitting around doing nothing— they’re doing it well. The company’s Santa Monica headquarters is designed to inspire mindfulness in its employees. Complete with meditation pods, a tech- nology-free “silent” room, floor pillows, and carpeted stadium seating, the office encourages public as well as private meditation. And meetings start out with special 2-minute medita- tions recorded by company founder Andy Puddicombe. When Spending Is Good For Your Heart Recent research offers the first evidence that financial generosity may literally do your heart good. Ashley Whillans and colleagues at the University of British Columbia asked 186 older US adults—most of them receiving treatment to control high blood pres- sure—how much money they contributed each month to friends and family or religious, political, and charitable organizations. The more the participants gave to others, the lower their blood pressure was two years later. But such a correlation doesn’t estab- lish a cause-and-effect connection, so to explore further, the researchers did a six-week experiment with 72 elderly adults in Vancouver who were also being treated for high blood pressure. The investigators gave each of the seniors some money and asked them to splurge either on themselves or on other people. Afterward, the charitable givers exhibited lower blood pressure than the self-spenders, and the difference was on par with blood pressure reductions from exercise or starting new anti-hypertension drugs. Exactly how “pro- social” spending protects cardiovascular health is unknown, but it may help by reducing stress or social isolation. ● AD 14 mindful December 2016 PHOTOGRAPHCOURTESYOFHEADSPACE