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Mindful June 2017

what’s new Top of Mind

what’s new Top of Mind Things that spark our minds, touch our hearts, make us smile— or roll our eyes. Keep up with the latest in mindfulness. Putting Emotions on the Map It’s hard to talk about emotions and to get a feel for how they work. To offer some aid, emotion researcher Paul Ekman teamed up with the Dalai Lama and data visualization firm Stamen to create the Atlas of Emotions, a website that allows you to explore the dimensions of your emotions to help “increase choice in what we become emotional about and how we respond.” Universal emotions, clockwise from top: anger, disgust, sadness, enjoyment, and fear. Clicking one at atlasofemotions.org shows an interactive diagram with more detail on that emotion. The New Picture of Health We all know that engaging in healthful habits—and eliminating the unhealthy ones—promotes physical and psychological well-being. But knowing what to do to be healthier and actually doing it isn’t the same thing. A new initiative aims to make it easier to adopt a healthy lifestyle by modeling what that looks like. Calling itself a “behavioral pharmacy,” the nonprofit Open Source Wellness offers weekly drop-in events in Oakland, California, that include exercise, meditation, healthful meals, and community interaction—the four pillars of physical and psychological health, according to organizers. “We’re providing structure and support to fill the ‘behavioral prescriptions’ doctors give patients: Eat healthier, exercise more, reduce your stress, connect meaningfully with others,” states cofounder Ben Emmert-Aronson, PhD. There are no lectures, classes, or intakes, just experiential participation designed to show people how to move more, eat better, and get connected. Kind of like a community potluck, plus. And the big vision for this experiential preventive health model? To become integrated into healthcare centers and communities nationwide, and be paid for on a sliding scale by individuals and by health insurers. ILLUSTRATION BY ATLASOFEMOTIONS.ORG, THE OPEN SOURCE INITIATIVE 10 mindful June 2017

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOJO OLDHAM, FREDDIE RAMM After decades of internalizing unsolicited remarks from others about her body, British designer Jojo Oldham displayed all the commentary—nasty and nice—on a dress, illustrating her challenging journey to self-acceptance. Taking a Measure of Compassion All too often, medical care is dismally short on compassion, even though reports have identified it as an essential ingredient for providing quality care. A major barrier to change is the lack of a valid, reliable way to assess compassion in clinical settings. Recently, Shane Sinclair of the University of Calgary and other Canadian colleagues surveyed the existing methods out there. Scouring through research databases, they turned up nine studies describing seven different compassion measurement tools, ranging from a self-report questionnaire for nurses in Korea to a survey of patients’ perceptions of hospital physicians’ caregiving from the Boston-based Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare. All seven methods have “significant limitations that warrant careful consideration,” the authors concluded. No single instrument measured compassion in a comprehensive or rigorous enough fashion; for instance, most of the tools didn’t directly evaluate the desire to help ease suffering, a key element distinguishing compassion from empathy. And for most of the methods, there was little evidence of the measurements’ reliability, validity, or interpretability. Making Space to Just Bee Awe Yeah! We’ve all experienced awe in the face of the momentous: A moment of stunned awareness, when our bodies are suffused with wonder, vitality, and presence. What’s more, research is finding that the experience of awe produces some powerful benefits. In addition to promoting altruism, lovingkindness, and magnanimity, awe may boost the body’s defense systems and help people better cope with stress. Another bit of good news: Awe doesn’t have to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Even something as simple as a walk can bring it about. To explore the first-ever virtual-reality guided awe walk, go to mindful.org/ awewalk If It Is Broke, Do Fix It! It’s scary how easily most modern devices fall apart, and how hard (and expensive!) it is to repair them. Yet the financial and environmental cost of replacing our broken stuff is reaching a breaking point. Enter iFixIt, the Wikipedia of repair manuals, which offers a virtual library of manuals for fixing phones, staplers, cars—pretty much anything you can think of— all written and edited by the site’s audience. A small Iowa town is doing its bit to reduce the bee-population crisis: Cedar Rapids plans to seed 188 acres with native prairie grasses and wildflowers. Eventually, the city hopes to dedicate 1,000 acres to bee-friendly foodstuffs. CRAZE OR CRAZY Sometimes you just can’t decide if something’s groundbreaking or totally bonkers. Our jury’s out. What’s your verdict? A MIND CLEANSE Okay, so you start by grabbing some soap and a scalpel, and then...just kidding! “Mind Cleanse” is becoming a popular term to refer to various activities and programs with the aim of a clearer, calmer mind. Just because it sounds suspiciously similar to “brainwashing,” doesn’t make it the same thing, right? WEED YOGA People have been smoking joints and doing stretches for decades, but recently yoga studios have opened up that specialize in yoga “enhanced” with marijuana. MEDITATION TRUCKS Picture a food truck— only for meditation. The latest in portable services, meditation trucks have been popping up and wheeling around US cities, including Detroit and Austin. June 2017 mindful 11

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