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Who'd Have Thunk It?

On July 3 the Trib published a special edition in it's Health & Family section labelled the Mental Health Issue, and two particular stories caught my attention: "Walk-and-talk therapy" and "Work-happiness study finds less may bring more", and they have both impacted my view of mindfulness and meditation.

The subtitle for the first of those two pieces reads, "Some mental health professionals find moving sessions outdoors benefits teens" and the therapist interviewed offered the observation that, despite the lack of formal research to corroborate her sense of the matter, she believes strongly that many teens are more comfortable walking and talking, than sitting face-to-face. Don't forget some of us adults!

Movement can be a significant factor in putting one at ease--particularly those of us for whom movement is an important aspect of life. And walking outside, "shifts the power dynamic" that exists in a seated session that might take place in the office, according to the therapist who was interviewed. Whatever the means and whatever the approach, it's all about connection, and I for one appreciate the ability and willingness to meet people where they are.

Mindfulness and meditation (like walk-and-talk therapy--and many other forms of therapy) share many things in common, and meeting people where they are is among the most important things they share. Which is a perfect segue into the second piece mentioned above--the piece about work happiness.

A recent British study suggests that when it comes to mental health, many people would be fine the idea of working less than 40 hours per week. That finding will no doubt be seen as predictable, by some, but there is perhaps the seed of change--or, at least, recognition-- that some people define themselves by qualities other than (or, in addition to) what it is they may do for a living.

For some of us, our job is who and what we are. For others, not so much. Vive la difference! Regardless of where any of us are on that continuum, it's important to remind ourselves that we are all unique, and one man's floor is another man's ceiling.

The tongue-in-cheek title of this post aside, mental health--and emotional health--are critical components of overall well-being, and the growing awareness of their importance is very much concurrent with that of awareness of mindfulness and meditation. That is not a coincidence, and we all need to pay attention.

Mindfulness and meditation are certainly not the panacea for everything that ails us, but they sure can help--mentally, physically and emotionally!


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