It is no big secret that much of the world is in great economic, social, and political turmoil today. But one congressman’s solution to the problem is far different than what you might expect, and advocates of his approach say it could benefit the healthcare system, schools, the military, the economy, and ultimately human health.
In his new book A Mindful Nation, Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio’s 17th District advocates a practice known as “mindful meditation,” which he has long suggested could fix the social ills of our day, including chronic stress and illness. Drawing from concepts found in the Buddhist religion, mindful meditation involves refocusing the mind to eliminate stress and promote positive thinking.
Mindful meditation is a whole lot more than that, of course, but these are its basic tenets. And when applied in clinical situations, mindful meditation has been shown to produce positive results, whether it involves helping a person to focus on the present rather than dwell on the past, or alleviating past pains and patterns of destructive behavior and emotions through hypnotherapy.
Far be it for a politician to endorse such a concept, Rep. Ryan’s take on how mindful meditation might improve the world around him may appear extreme and irrational to some. But there have been plenty of studies conducted in recent years showing that the practice can essentially cure chronic suffering, for instance, and give a person a whole new outlook on life.
“Mindfulness therapy encourages patients to focus on their breathing and their body, to notice but not judge their thoughts and to generally live in the moment,” wrote Chris Woolston in the Los Angeles Times (http://articles.latimes.com). The end result is improved self-reliance, “stick-to-itiveness,” perseverance, and getting the job done, according to Rep. Ryan.
When extended into the healthcare paradigm, mindful meditation has the potential to greatly reduce the overall cost burdens associated with healthcare as we know it. Since chronic stress can destroy a person’s adrenal function, leading to other more serious chronic illnesses, it would appear as though Rep. Ryan’s hypothesis is valid — if stress can be relieved now through therapy, a far less number of people will end up in the hospital later for disease treatment.
Rep. Ryan’s ultimate goal is to spread the word about mindfulness to everyone, a gradual process already taking place that he has dubbed a “quiet revolution.” In his belief, the practice of mindful meditation has far less to do with practicing any sort of religion than it does simply gaining hold of one’s life, and stopping the multitude of destructive environmental, social, and situational inputs from taking hold and destroying it.
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