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The Science of Mindfulness – By CEO of Manipal Hospitals

If you have been on BWDisrupt long enough then you know mindfulness is exactly what we are missing in our stressed out offices.Dr. Ajay Bakshi is a veteran neurosurgeon and the present MD and CEO of Manipal Hopistals. He was also CEO of Max Healthcare for 3 years ending 2014. Here's why Dr. Bakshi is actively promoting mindfulness.

He was speaking at the first Mindful Leader Summit India held in Delhi. The summit is affiliated to the Mindful Leadership Summit based in Washington DC, USA.

"Mindfulness is not mumbo-jumbo. It’s real mainstream science."

1. Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment

2. There were about 31 research papers on mindfulness published in 2005. By 2015 this number was around 700. Before end of 2016 the number is over 600. This indicates the increase in interest in this field and that research [which also means more funding is being given to research of mindfulness]. Hard science proves mindfulness to be real.

3. You can be sure that mindfulness is real and has real life consequences when corporations start paying to train their employees on mindfulness and when insurance companies offer to pay for it.

4. Mindfulness can be proven with biological changes. There have been studies using fMRI scans to show blood flow to most active parts of brain during a state of mindfulness. A state of mindfulness is evoked through meditation inside fMRI machine on subjects like mentality, morality, generosity, empathy etc.

5. Science has also helped identify what part of the brain controls mindfulness. It’s called the insula.

6. Being mindful can help control mind wandering. A wandering mind is when our attention drifts from current thought to disconnected unrelated thought. 30-50% of the time we are awake is wasted due to mind wandering. Mindfulness can help reduce this time wasted and help focus our thinking.

7. Mindfulness can be trained, it’s not a genetic trait.

8. Find balance between being mindful and mind wandering. Here’s an example from cricketing legend Rahul Dravid. “As soon as I play a ball my mind wanders for about 10 seconds. Then I go back to the crease and focus on the next ball and only that. Once baller hits crease, I don’t know what happens.” This describes using mind wandering to relax in between moments of mindfulness which usually takes lots of energy.

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