Yes, But Does it Work? What does science tell us about mindfulness and meditation?

I’ve been studying mindfulness for sometime and recently attended a summit in California regarding mindfulness training in the workplace. Through my studies I’ve learned that 25% of organizations offering well- being options in the workplace, so I wanted to check this out for myself. I wondered what do they know, that FedEx doesn’t? I asked myself, could this new age woo-woo practice, as some would say, be applied in aviation? Well, what I’ve discovered is that mindfulness isn’t so woo-woo after all, and it has been applied in aviation.

Mindfulness training has been around for some time and has been extensively researched. Generally speaking, though, people find it hard to know if effective mindful practice in the workplace, specifically a hi-risk environment like ours, really works. What is so interesting is that mindfulness training is taught in the military, primarily for combat pilots! In my almost 40 years in commercial aviation no one has ever mentioned a mindful training program, let alone it’s benefits. Research confirms that 80% of airline crashes happen due to human error. So if we know that mindfulness training has been researched and the science says it works, why aren’t airlines teaching it?

I often thought of mindfulness realization as a kind of lightning bolt, dramatic and obvious. An “aha” moment. I suppose it could happen that way, but more often it’s said to be like walking through a fog, therefore, it is difficult to measure. It's only after long times do we notice that our clothes are wet.

Sara Laza who is a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School was one of the first scientists to take on the anecdotal claims, such as meditating calms anxiety. What she found surprised her-mediating can literally change your brain. She conducted studies that looked at long- term meditators vs. a control group and found long-term meditators have an increased amount of gray matter in the brain. Dr. Laza states, when you’re mindful, you’re paying attention to your breathing.”

The 3rd edition of SoulyforYou offers a glimpse into science-based mindfulness. Using information from peer-reviewed publications, on-line videos, websites, and books, you will be introduced to the fundamentals of mindfulness. I invite you to take a closer look, expand your mind, consider how mindfulness training and it’s supporting pillars can reduce anxiety, enhance your ability to focus, lower blood pressure, improve your sleeping habits, and keep you safer!

Whether it’s in the workplace or home, I’m convinced that mindfulness meditation works-it’s true, it’s easy, it’s free, and it’s science!

May you be well,
Reyné O
FIRST OFFICER REYNÉ O'SHAUGHNESSY

Featured Video

Except from the Conversation Series

SARA LAZAR PhD

Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

Featured Article

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Wind the Clock: Using Mindfulness in Aviation Safety

Dr. Michael Christensen

Mindfulness articles and links

Pep Rally


Neuroscientist Sara Lazar's amazing brain scans show meditation can actually change the size of key regions of our brain, improving our memory and making us more empathetic, compassionate, and resilient under stress.

Wellness articles and links

 

Dear Susan

Susan Gillpatrick is a Memphis-native with 20 years’ experience in helping individuals, and diverse and international groups and companies, to create strategies to minimize stress and trauma, and maximize personal and professional success. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Trauma Specialist, Certified Employee Assistance Professional, and Mediator.

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Contributors

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My journey and drive for this website began with an “aha-moment” when I turned 50. My blood pressure spiked to 190 over 140 without any explanation; I was in stroke range. It never occurred to me when I began to heal myself through medical alternatives and life-style choices that it would one day lead to my launching a women’s wellness website. Almost prophetically, my son, Logan, offered: “If you really want to make a big difference, Mom, it’s not going to be in the cockpit talking it up. Unless you get out there and share what you’ve discovered and know to be truth, everyone else’s ‘aha-moments’ may never occur.” – REYNÉ O’SHAUGHNESSY Click here to email me

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With twenty three years under his belt at FedEx, CAPTAIN MICHAEL “MIKE” CHRISTENSEN currently holds a seat in the 777. Dr Christensen’s path to author began after successfully completing his Doctorate of Management (DM) from the University of Phoenix in 2015. Just months after giving the commencement speech at his graduation, Christensen received the devastating news that his mother was diagnosed with stage 4, pancreatic inoperable cancer. This galvanizing event led to him doing a deep dive into the original research silos of cancer prevention, wellness, weight loss, exercise, small teams, coaching, nutrition, and wellness psychology. Consolidating this research, he wrote his 2017 internationally published book 2Day Gift of Wellness: An Effortless Weight Loss Process You Can Do Together.

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DEBRA THOMAS (COACH DEB), a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®, is an advocate for using food as medicine, energy and achieving a life/work balance. The Sierra Mountains are her home with her husband, 3 dogs, 4 chickens and a cat named Joey. She is most at home on her sea kayak with her Aussie, Dakota often hitching a ride on the back.