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Mindful : August 2017
At the Etobicoke Humane Society in Ontario, Canada, cats had to sleep on the “cold, hard floor”—until IKEA donated a bunch of doll beds to the shelter. For her 3rd birth- day, a Missouri girl asked for a poop- themed party. Her parents chose to “embrace the weird” and throw one, with poop balloons, a poop piñata, and a poop cake. In Manitoba, Can- ada, an 18-year- old girl rode her horse an hour through a snow- storm to bring dinner and coffee to a stranded truck driver. Time for a Retreat? Intensive meditation retreats are great, but the question of whether or not they provide lasting benefits is on its way to being answered. Researchers recently studied the long-term effects of weeklong insight meditation retreats on a sample of 195 adults. After seven days, participants reported fewer symp- toms of anxiety and depression, were better at observing and acting with awareness, and were less reactive and judgmental. They also reported having fewer negative thoughts and atti- tudes. Even better, these benefits persisted one month later. Wait for It? Having to wait for food may make us healthier eaters. In an experiment at Rush University Medical Center, when people had to choose to either wait 25 seconds for vending machines to dis- pense typical snack foods, like chips, or immediately get healthier snacks, like nuts, 5% of the time they chose the healthy option. The effect “is not huge,” admits Brad Appelhans, associate professor of preventive medicine. But on a broad scale, over time, he says, “it could add up to something meaningful.” Silence Heals Being hospitalized is stress- ful enough, but the constant beeping, buzzing, ringing of hospital monitors—an aver- age of one every 11 minutes, according to a study—makes the experience downright nerve-wracking. And the effect extends to hospital staff: “Alarm fatigue” is so commonplace that doctors and nurses often stop noticing the sounds, diminishing their effectiveness. After her own hospital- ization, ambient musician Yoko K. Sen was determined to make hospitals more peaceful. Working with Johns Hopkins Sibley Inno- vation Hub, she’s experi- menting with adding music, aromatherapy, and moving projections to patient rooms and “tranquility” areas for hospital staff. A Tale of Two More Cities Storefront meditation studios/bars/spas keep opening in urban centers: Bar À Méditation is in the Opera district in Paris, and Inhere (inset) opened recently in the City of London. On the April 14, 2017, edition of the TV game show Jeopardy, the following clue appeared, for $1,000 in the category Shallow Thoughts: “Do the ‘Leaves on a Stream’ exercise to get this, defined by Psychology Today as ‘active, open attention on the present.’” Jeopardy champion Deborah Beams, a certified public accountant from Dallas, answered correctly, “What is mindfulness?” EXTRA ORDINARY ACTS OF KINDNESS August 2017 mindful 13 PHOTOGRAPHSCOURTESYBARÀMÉDITATION,INHERE,SVENSCHEUERMEIER