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Mindful : December 2017
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. PHOTOGRAPHBYRAWPIXEL Step out of the salt mines Want to work less but perform just as well? A mindfulness practice called meditation awareness training (MAT), which includes a focus on loving-kindness and meditative work, may be the ticket. European researchers taught MAT to 35 peo- ple who fit criteria for being workaholics (yes: there are criteria for this). After three months, compared with a group assigned to a waiting list, the MAT group showed fewer workaholic tendencies and were more satisfied at work. Their managers, meanwhile, repor ted no drop in their performance. Defending memory from stress Stress is an enemy of short-term “working memory,” which lets you briefly hold and manipulate information in your brain. In militar y personnel, this skill is known to decline during stressful periods like combat deployment or even field training. Can mindfulness help? In a University of Miami study, researchers provided eight hours of mindfulness instruction to US soldiers over a month during pre- deployment training, then instructed them to practice daily for the next four weeks. The investigators tested the soldiers’ short-term memory before and after the inter- vention. In 33 soldiers who completed a mindfulness program that emphasized in-class exercises, research- ers detected no deterioration in working memory. In 37 soldiers who took a lecture- focused mindfulness course, memory scores dipped—but the most slippage occurred in a third group that got no mindfulness training at all. By bolstering cognitive resilience, the researchers say, mindfulness may help prevent errors during com- bat. Civilians in high-stress, high-performance situations may reap similar benefits. ● AD 16 mindful December 2017 what’s new