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WGS 2018: 'Mindfulness is a conscious best practice’

More than three decades of study show how being mindful of the present can be supremely empowering, says expert

Staff Report
18:55 February 12, 2018
NAT Dr Saki Santorelli

Dubai: While it requires an individual to think of the past and future to solve a problem, the most important tactic to stay in the present.

“To do our jobs well, to take care of our children, to meet our colleagues, to develop teams at work, and get the job done — all of this requires us to be present [in the now],” according to Dr Saki Santorelli, Director of Stress Reduction Clinic, University of Massachusetts. Dr Santorelli was speaking during the opening session on day two of the World Government Summit 2018 (WGS 2018) in Dubai.

During his session titled ‘Mind-full or Mindful’, Dr Santorelli pointed out that more than three decades of study have shown how mindfulness can positively and profoundly affect the ability to reduce medical symptoms and psychological distress.

He offered tips on how to live a more mindful life.

Illustrating through a breathing exercise that people tend to either contemplate the past, or worry about the future, he said to be effective in addressing the challenges we face, we must remember to live in the present.

Reiterating this point, the author of the ‘Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine’, said: “One of the characteristics of the digital age is the sense of virtual instantaneous connectivity that we have. There is a lot of data that suggests that being ‘out there’ is so appealing, that you are losing some capacity to really touch base with what is ‘here’.”

Santorelli, who started his journey in mindfulness back in 1981 as an intern at Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Stress Reduction Clinic, has spent an entire career oriented around the integration of mindfulness into clinical care and public health.