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Mindful : April 2017
Ben Carter, a 14-year-old boy with severe autism, has drunk only from a Tom- mee Tippee sippy cup—now discon- tinued—since he was two. When his cup started to fall apart Tommee Tippee responded by making Ben 500 cups. While working across from a chil- dren’s hospital in Indiana, construc- tion worker Jason Haney wanted to help cheer up the kids staying there. So with the help of his daughter he made an 8-foot cut-out of the chil- drens’ book char- acter Waldo, and planted it around the construction site each day for the kids to find. Education In California, the Insight-Out program engages victims, prison administrators, community members, and inmates to find new ways of “doing prison” that are more humane and effective than the current punitive model. As par t of the program, inmates mentor at-risk youth and receive cer tification in domestic violence training, which allows them to educate others about domestic abuse. In San Quentin alone, more than 400 prisoners have signed up for the program. Resilience In a maximum security prison in Naivasha, Kenya, inmates learn self-awareness and mindfulness techniques to help them become more EXTRA ORDINARY ACTS OF KINDNESS Seeking Happiness? Lend a Hand A New Generation of Mindful Doctors The US has the highest rate of prisoners in the world. In fact, though the US has only 5% of the world’s population, it has 25% of the world’s prisoners—at a cost of anywhere between $30,000 and $60,000 per prisoner per year. But there’s some good news: Programs are popping up both here and abroad to help men stay out of prison or prepare them to better ser ve their communities once released. emotionally resilient, improve their mental wellbeing, and increase their desire to be more helpful, honest, and responsible. Three other prisons—Langata, Kamiti, and Kisumu—are looking into using the program. Yoga “We firmly believe in the inherent goodness of every human being,” says Rosa Vissers, executive director Yoga Behind Bars, which offers yoga and meditation to inmates in Washington prisons and jails. The program’s popularity has led to a teacher shortage. The solution? Offering teacher-training to inmates. “ We believe in transforming our prisons into places of healing and rehabilitation,” says Vissers. PRISON REFORM Pampering yourself with a shopping spree won’t make you as happy as treating someone else. That’s the word from psychologists who ran a six-week experiment with 347 adults. Results revealed that performing acts of kind- ness for others (or for humanity) led to higher happiness levels in par- ticipants—but indulging in oneself did not. The prosocial giving boosted the do-gooders’ positive emotions. Teaching mindfulness to future health-care providers was a win–win bet for the University of Ottawa’s medical school. Students will now receive mandatory meditation training as part of the curriculum. While elective mindfulness classes are available, including them in the required coursework got high approval from students and faculty. “[This change] carries the hope that increased expo- sure will result in greater wellbeing for students, and, ultimately, their patients,” says assistant professor of neurolog y Heather MacLean. April 2017 mindful 11 ILLUSTRATIONCOURTESYVECTEEZY,PHOTOGRAPHBYROBCA