- Back in the 1940 and 50s, smoking was incredibly common, with shameless advertisements proclaiming that physicians preferred Lucky Strike or Camels over the competition.
- In the 1970s, joggers were ridiculed by the neighbors, and “going to the gym” wasn’t a thing — while unprotected sex was the way it was.
- And for a long time, meditation was something that only Buddhists, the Beatles, and Beatniks did.
Now days, smoking is way less prevalent, with people also realizing how bad alcohol is for you. Meanwhile, working out is so common that “athleisure” is the new business casual among both men and women — and packing condoms is simply the way it is.
So, is widespread meditation the next aspect of the constant evolution of public health? It certainly seems so.
Your mom is meditating
Of course, some people still drink and smoke with impunity. And not everyone works out, even though we all know we should.
So naturally, not everyone meditates. But it’s generally not viewed as something “weird” or counter-cultural as in the past.
Yes, it has been catching on over the last two decades, but still has a long way to go. Fortunately, although most schools do not teach children mindfulness meditation, many are starting to.
One telling sign is that it’s become an accepted practice among high-performing people such as athlete Steph Curry, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, and of course, Oprah. That means the trickle-down effect has a strong source current.
A comprehensive mental training program
We exercise to protect our physical well-being and to age with grace. But we also know that physical fitness enhances and protects our brain health and cognitive skills.
From there we strive to keep learning. It’s takes a bit more work as we get older, but that effort leads to mental wellness and also boosts cognition.
But even with all that, we can still mentally suffer — and alleviating that suffering has been the point of meditation for thousands of years. That makes it a crucial component of any comprehensive mental training regimen.
Many mental health issues can be traced back to regretting the past and dreading the future, when the only actual moment we ever have to feel joy and peace is now. Happiness lives in the present moment.
The overall goal is your personal well-being. And it starts right there inside that noggin of yours. Take care of it every way you can.
Mindfulness as the Next Public Health Revolution (Psychology Today)