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Mindful : February 2019
until after eight weeks of steady practice. As with exercis- ing a physical muscle, it takes time, patience, and repetition for change to take effect. BE KIND TO YOURSELF Self-compassion may make aging easier. A review of the research showed that adults over 65 who practiced self-compassion tended to be less anxious and depressed, and felt a greater sense of well- being, than those who didn’t . (Tip: It probably doesn’t hurt to start practic- ing when you’re young.) For more on self- compassion, see page 40. MINDFUL MENOPAUSE Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota sur veyed nearly 1800 women aged40to65to see if those with a more mindful disposition might experience fewer menopausal dif- ficulties. In fact, those with higher mindfulness scores were less stressed and had fewer symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes, insomnia, and fatigue—encour- aging results for the millions of women expe- riencing this midlife passage. and knowing how to regulate emotions also increased behav- ior that benefit- ted others. There were a few catches. Adults tended to be more proso- cial than teenag- ers, and people who rated them- selves higher in mindfulness were more help- ful to people they knew than to strangers. This didn’t apply to those who’d attended formal mindful- ness training, though. They were just as kind to people they didn’t know as to those familiar to them. One big surprise was that people who’d received mindful aware- ness training and those who’d had compassion- focused instruc- tion were equally prosocial, debunking the myth that the benefits of mind- fulness are only limited to the individual. In other words, just being mindful may be enough to up your kind- ness quotient. MINDFUL RIPPLES Does mindfulness make you kinder? That’s the ques- tion research- ers asked when reviewing 31 studies on mind- fulness and pro- social behavior. They found that dispositionally mindful people and those who completed some form of mindful- ness training tended to be more compas- sionate and helpful. Being nonjudgmental, empathic, hav- ing a positive outlook on life, February 2019 mindful 15