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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid