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The Meaning Of Our New Mindfulness47:02Download

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From apps, to the office, meditation and mindfulness are bigger than ever. We’ll take a deep breath and explore the realm of om.

Lauren Eckstrom, left, begins a session at Unplug Meditation Center in Los Angeles. (Nick Ut/AP)
Lauren Eckstrom, left, begins a session at Unplug Meditation Center in Los Angeles. (Nick Ut/AP)

Once upon a time, meditation in America meant tattered posters of bearded gurus from exotic India. Now, it’s everywhere. There are apps for it! Yoga is in the strip malls. Mindfulness training is at the office.  Americans know their “oms” and “namastes” and most people don’t blink to hear you’re working on your zen. Interest is high and still growing. Maybe it’s a Band-aid on our stress.  Maybe it’s just the way. This hour On Point: meditation and mindfulness go full-on American. — Tom Ashbrook

Guests

David Gelles, business reporter for the New York Times, where he also writes the Meditation for Real Life column. Author of the book, “Mindful Work.” (@dgelles)

Sara Lazar, associate researcher in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Assistant professor in psychology at the Harvard Medical School.

Lynne Goldberg, meditation coach. Founder of the app, OMG. I Can Meditate! Author of the book, “Get Balanced, Get Blissed.”

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: At Aetna, a C.E.O.’s Management by Mantra — "Aetna is at the vanguard of a movement that is quietly spreading through the business world. Companies like Google offer emotional intelligence courses for employees. General Mills has a meditation room in every building on its corporate campus. And even buttoned-up Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs and BlackRock are teaching meditation on the job."

The Atlantic: Corporations' Newest Productivity Hack: Meditation — "Long before Google was teaching emotional intelligence courses in Mountain View, Monsanto, of all companies, tried mindfulness. They had a very progressive CEO for a moment there, who had a personal interest in this practice. He brought in a very skilled and experienced teacher named Mirabai Bush, and they began teaching mindfulness to the executives of the company."

Harvard Business Review: Mindfulness Can Literally Change Your Brain — "Neuroscientists have shown that practicing mindfulness affects brain areas related to perception, body awareness, pain tolerance, emotion regulation, introspection, complex thinking, and sense of self. While more research is needed to document these changes over time and to understand underlying mechanisms, the converging evidence is compelling."

This program aired on April 24, 2017.

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