News / Health

Mindfulness Movement a ‘Revolution’ for Stressed Americans

Mindful Movement Becomes a ‘Revolution’ as Stressed Americans Look for Reliefi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
July 12, 2014 1:16 AM
It used to be done mainly at spiritual retreats and in yoga centers, but now mindfulness meditation is practiced in offices, schools, prisons and even the U.S. military. Although it’s been around for decades, the mindfulness movement is being called a revolution. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports that it reduces anxiety - and can have spiritual benefits.

Mindful Movement Becomes a ‘Revolution’ as Stressed Americans Look for Relief

It used to be done mainly at spiritual retreats and in yoga centers, but now mindfulness meditation is practiced in offices, schools, prisons and even the U.S. military.

Although it’s been around for decades, the mindfulness movement is being called a revolution. Advocates say it reduces anxiety, and it can have spiritual benefits.

A visit to the dentist’s office can cause nervousness and anxiety. But being a dentist is no picnic either, said Dr. Alona Bauer.

“There’s definitely stress. You work in a small environment and it’s very exact. It’s very precise. Plus you’re managing the patient. So there’s great stress right there,” said Bauer.

Meditation

So Bauer practices mindfulness meditation at a Yoga center in downtown Washington.

Hugh Byrne has been teaching mindfulness since 2000. He said it’s about focusing on the present.

“Some forms of meditation are about clearing the mind of thoughts. Mindfulness isn’t about clearing away thoughts. It’s just about being aware of them,” said Byrne.

Americans work more and have less time off than people in most other countries. And even outside the workplace, technology and multi-tasking make it increasingly impossible to disconnect.

But shutting off like this is becoming so popular that Time Magazine recently declared a “Mindful Revolution.”

Critics say mindful meditation is a fad that strips an ancient Buddhist tradition of its moral content.

Anxiety reduction

Byrne prefers to see mindfulness as “a broad doorway for people to come in. People who might say, 'I’m not really interested in Buddhism or Eastern spirituality. But I do want less stress. I do want less anxiety.”  

Surveys show that young Americans increasingly consider themselves “spiritual but not religious.” Byrne said mindfulness is for them.

“Nobody’s proselytizing. Nobody’s saying, ‘You’ve got to do this. You’ve got to believe this.’ It’s really being offered in this very openhanded way. If this doesn’t work for you, great! There may be many other things that do work for you,” he said.

After half an hour it’s over. Bauer said it helped sort the muddle in her head.

“It was just chatter, you know, chatter, chatter. Energy, very jittery energy, inside my body, tension and now I feel like almost I’m speaking slower my body’s more relaxed my heartbeat is slower," she said.

Bauer grew up without a religious upbringing in the former Soviet Union. Now she says she just might give Buddhism a try.


Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in public More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (5)
Comments
     
by: Mike from: L.A.
July 14, 2014 7:28 AM
What is all the hub bub about mindfulness? I'm a product of the 60's and this is just meditation. Allan Ginsburg wrote "Be Here Now". Who does Zin think he is as if he has discovered something new.? I'm incredulous!

In Response

by: redplanet
July 21, 2014 5:50 AM
It was Ram Dass who wrote Be Here Now but as they say "If you remember the 60's maybe you weren't really there." So, you just proved your street cred!


by: Carl Erikson
July 13, 2014 4:10 AM
Many of my psychotherapy clients come to me with stress and anxiety issues. I highly recommend this Mastery over Stress mp3 by Jon Shore at this website to many of my clients: http://stress.lightunlimitedpublishing.com/. Just download it and listen to it while sitting in a chair. It works well for all for them and will probably work for you as well if you practice with it for at least a week. It is worth trying. It will teach you how to deal with stress and get rid of stress anywhere and anytime by taking a deep breath. Having a trigger you can use anytime is very important. Practicing every day is also important so that the trigger is available to you whenever you need it. It only takes 12 - 15 minutes to use each day.


by: ALEXANDER THE GREAT from: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
July 12, 2014 7:08 PM
THE STRESS IS THE RESULT OF SURVIVAL MODE OF THE HUMAN NATURE, I.E, THE UN-FULFILLMENT OF GREED, THE ANGER OF THE UN-SATISFACTION OF THE GREED AND THE IGNORANCE OF THE OUTCOME. THE MEDITATION CAN FACILITATE TO GET THE INSIGHT OF THE MIND OF THE SURVIVAL INSTINCT.


by: Balaraju from: India
July 12, 2014 2:14 AM
It is true that this is not Buddhism, however, it is clearly part of Western Tradition as the famous expression goes, "know thyself." For a Christian, of course, if God enters the picture, then it becomes meditation in the Christian sense, though Christians could be helped to improve their meditation by good books on the topic.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid