It’s pretty neat how when I started this mindful initiative, suddenly I also started to pick up on examples of mindfulness around me, or stories about mindfulness in the news.
This week I bumped into the idea of mindfulness from two different sources: NPR and a TED talk from Tony Fadell, a product designer whose most notable concept and design is that of the iPod.
Most days during lunch, I listen to NPR. Funny enough…last week ON my Mindful Monday, I heard a piece about Matthieu Ricard, a French molecular biologist turned Buddhist Monk.
(He has had a fascinating life, as demonstrated by a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics,
acting as the French translator to the Dalai Lama, and author of several best selling books.)
During the NPR interview, he discussed the positive effects that meditating and mindfulness can have on our abilities to focus on tasks, our attention spans, and our overall happiness and levels of stress. Those benefits were not surprising, but what was surprising was when he talked about how it has been scientifically studied, and proven, that our thoughts can physically change the structure of our brain. Meditation and the practice of mindfulness can increase the amount of gray matter in our brains and can also affect how our genes are expressed, or rather how our genes are turned on or off.
This is an amazing concept to me and such a wonderful proof of the power each of us have to change; change our minds, our habits, our bodies, and the world around us.
Here are some links to the NPR interview and other articles I read:
NPR: Altruism and Matthieu Ricard (Epigenetics around the 18 minute mark).
Next up, I saw a TED Talk advertised on my LinkedIn feed; the intended subject was on “the secret of design.” I was initially drawn to this video to learn some tips about good product/website design for end users. Instead, what I got was a presentation on mindfulness. Tony did not call it mindfulness, but instead he touched on the concept of “habituation.”
Habituation is essentially what I was describing in my last Mindful Monday post. It was the reason I didn’t notice the night choir of nature noises going on around me. Humans are so good at becoming accustomed to stimuli and everyday tasks that we simply don’t pay much attention to them.
Mindfulness, paying attention, noticing, tuning in… however you’d like to refer to it, he noted this as the single most important thing we all need to do in order to solve the big and small problems around us. When we start seeing these problems that most people just deal with because “that’s the way it is” or “that’s the way it always has been,” this is when we can really innovate.
Link: Tony Fadell’s TED Talk
Mindfulness – It’s good for brain, body, spirit… and apparently also your career!