If you haven’t noticed, mindfulness is having its “moment” today—just as yoga did 10 years ago.
In “The Hidden Price of Mindfulness Inc.,” David Gelles explores ways we’re being sold the idea that we can buy mindfulness. He’s right; just go to the app store on your phone.
Hospitals and marketers are devising new ways to help patients, staff and even medical school students help quiet their minds to improve mental and physical health.
Dr. Michelle Dossett at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital led a research team that concluded mind/body practices can “lead to improved self-awareness, and may enhance other self-care behaviors.”
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In an interview with the Huffington Post, Dossett said:
We live in a society in which stress and stress-related health conditions are rampant and medical costs are soaring. Mind-body interventions are minimal risk, low cost and have the potential for benefiting individuals with a range of health problems. Wider availability of these services has the potential to benefit public health and to help curb the rising costs of health care.
Many hospitals offer mindfulness, yoga, Tai-chi and similar programs as well. Here are a few highlights:
Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals: Zen-like marketing copy
Since 1996, The Mindfulness Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals has provided numerous public programs. One caters to older people; another is designed for professionals who work in mental health and psychiatry. The website says: “Our programs have helped thousands of people transform their lives, even in the midst of physical and psychological suffering.”
Marketers at TJUH know their audience. Notice the tone of this paragraph:
Mindfulness is about paying attention. It’s about living your life in the richness of right now, not being lost in memories of the past or overwhelmed by the worries or projections of the future. It's a simple practice that strengthens the mind's ability to stay focused on what is happening right now and to be open to experience — meeting the present moment with kindness and non-reactivity.
University of Iowa Health Care: Catering to a core demographic
Kudos to the University of Iowa Health Care for understanding the population in Iowa City so well: college students. It offers a course just for them.
Mindfulness for Undergraduate Students focuses on “learning life skills including: navigating transitions, attending with clarity and focus, interrupting unhealthy habits, making more skillful choices and cultivating self-compassion. Students have the opportunity to examine the research on mindfulness and consider its personal/professional relevance.”
University of Wisconsin, Madison: Understanding the community
UW Health’s Integrative Medicine Program has a variety of mindfulness classes, for everyone from newbies to graduates. There are even classes for children in middle school and older teens. In addition, a patient can sign up for an individual consultation or take a retreat with others. Even better? There’s free drop-in sessions on Fridays.
When programs such as these resonate with the community, it’s easy to promote them. It can help marketing and PR professionals relax a bit, too.
Jessica Levco is a freelance health care marketer. A version of this post originally appeared on her website.
This article was first published on Health Care Communication News in April 2016.