Psychology Melbourne Blog

News and Insights from the Science of the Mind

Mobile mindfulness

Edited by Jill Wright,

More and more these days, I'm convinced that we are in the early stages of a mass mindfulness movement.

Yesterday, for instance, I belatedly caught up with a BBC Horizon show from last year, called The Truth about Personality, which suggested that mindfulness meditation can help us live longer by changing our mental orientation from pessimism to optimism.

According to the program, research suggests that the life span of chronic pessimists is as much as 7.5 years shorter than those with a more hopeful disposition.

There's a summary of the program - made by Dr Michael Mosley, who also gave us the 5:2 fasting diet - at an Essex University site, which supports a book called Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain, by psychologist and neuroscientist, Professor Elaine Fox.

Professor Fox is interviewed in the Horizon program on her work on emotions. As she points out, mindfulness can actually produce positive physical changes in the brain.

Her site also has some online tools for testing just how optimistic (or pessimistic) you are, another that allows you to check your cognitive bias and an "attentional training game" that over seven or eight weeks can also help people develop a sunny perspective.

On the weekend, The Guardian also ran a piece on helpful psychology apps by clinical psychologist Dr Lucy Maddox, which mentioned a free app for Apple iOS and Android called Headspace.

As it happens, a member of the UK's Headspace Foundation, which produced that app, is a former Buddhist monk and mindfulness teacher, Andy Puddicombe ... who also appears in the Horizon program.

And earlier this month, businesswoman Shona Mitchell wrote (also in The Guardian) about the shame and guilt experienced by successful entrepreneurs, leaders and investors and her personal path to recovery from anxiety and chronic burn out. She rejected her doctor's offer of medication, and instead used mindfulness meditation

As we know, having helped many people with similar profiles, just 10 minutes a day of mindfulness practice can bring extraordinary benefits, and Shona was no exception.

At Psychology Melbourne, we're increasingly focusing on the use and teaching of mindfulness, so you can expect to hear some more news from us on the topic in the near future.

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About the editor, Jill Wright

Jill Wright (MAPS, AAFT, AICD) is the Director and Principal Psychologist at Psychology Melbourne. Jill was twice elected General Director of the Australian Psychological Society and established the Study Group Network. Find out more about Jill Wright.