14/02/2014 09:20 GMT | Updated 15/04/2014 06:59 BST

Mindful Decisions and Mental Hygiene

According to researchers at the Wharton School of Business, practicing mindfulness leads to better financial decisions. Participants in the studies were more likely to cut their losses and free themselves from the temptation to throw good money after bad. Co-author Sigal Barsade reported that "Our findings hold great promise for research on how mindfulness can influence emotions and behavior, and how employees can use it to feel and perform better."

In another recent study, carried out at the University of California at Berkeley, it was shown that chronic stress creates changes in the brain that make it more likely to develop mood and anxiety disorders. The researchers found that chronic stress impacts the white matter in key areas of the brain which affects emotional feedback circuits. According to Daniela Kaufer, the lead author of the study, "When you are in a stressful situation, the inhibitory pathways from the prefrontal cortex telling you not to get stressed don't work as well as the amygdala shouting to the hippocampus, 'This is terrible!'" One of the previously proven effects of mindfulness practice is that it strengthens these pathways between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.

Better decisions, reduced stress, and mental health protection - it is not an overstatement to say that mindfulness -- being present, positive, and purposeful -- is a highly effective strategy to support peak performance and overall well being.

How often do you:

Intentionally bring your attention to what is happening with curiosity and acceptance?

Take a breath, relax your belly, drop your shoulders, and smile?

Expand your body posture and lift your gaze?

Feel and express gratitude and compassion?

Ask yourself what is really most important?

How would it benefit you and the people around you if you did these things regularly?

What are you waiting for?


Dave Mochel is the founder of Applied Attention; a company dedicated to teaching and supporting the transformational practice of being present, open, and purposeful. He translates research in neuroscience, behavior, and performance into simple principles and practices than can be incorporated into any activity or organization. The result of his work is reduced stress and anxiety with improved performance, relationships, and quality of life.

For more by Dave Mochel, click here.

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