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If you’re truly interested, there are people I can put you in touch with.“When you taste this stuff, it has profound effects,” Mr. It’s a way to stay healthy.”The science of mindfulness Mr. “To actually see the inside of the brain of a person who is meditating is very instructive.“There’s a huge amount of suffering that can be prevented with healthy habits of the mind. It’s not just some silly quaint thing they used to do in Asia because they had nothing better to do. While researching his book, the congressman met with actress Goldie Hawn — who has started a foundation that teaches meditation to schoolchildren — and also Richard Davidson, a University of Wisconsin neuroscientist who studies the effects of mindfulness on the brain. Davidson, the director of University of Wisconsin’s Lab for Affective Neuroscience. Ryan seems like an unlikely advocate for an exercise that has deep roots in Buddhism. It’s so easy for all of us to have our mind on the last meeting or the next one. In one behavioral study, meditators reacted angrily half as often as non-meditators when on the receiving end of an unfair offer in the “ultimatum game,” a classic economic experiment in which two people are asked to split a sum of money: One player decides the proportion of the split, and if the second player rejects it, both players get nothing.“Mindfulness is a major tool in the overall toolbox of mental strengths,” said Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist and author of “Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time.” “It might seem weird, or from the East, or anti-Christian. Research also suggests that mindfulness-based meditation decreases both inflammation and the production of the stress hormone cortisol, both of which have been linked to a number of chronic diseases. Hanson said that cortisol sensitizes the amygdala, an almond-shaped portion of the brain that regulates fear and is linked with aggression; scientists strongly suspect that abnormal amygdala function plays an important role in phobias, autism, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.“It’s the alarm bell of the brain, tied to ancient circuits, and particularly focused on threats,” Mr. “It made sense for cavemen, because rule one in the wild is ‘Eat lunch today, don’t be lunch today.’“In modern everyday life, though, just juggling a lot of tasks, running your kids from here to there, worrying about your pension — let alone working in Washington, D. But good golfers just do it.“I’ve heard from CEOs of major corporations and members of Congress talk about their spouses getting mad at them when they’re home, because they’re spaced out and thinking about work. Research also indicates that regular meditation makes people better, well, — more patient, empathetic and altruistic, and less hostile, angry and fearful. Davidson, regular meditation produces positive structural and functional changes in the pathways of the brain that regulate attention and emotion — which in turn are connected to the body’s immune, endocrine and visceral systems.Each morning, POLITICO sends a question based on that day's news to all contributors. Tim Ryan recently published a book touting the benefits of a meditative practice known as mindfulness, the Ohio Democrat had a target audience: anyone and everyone suffering from chronic stress, emotional exhaustion, information overload. They’re getting sick.“And I haven’t met anyone in the country that isn’t feeling a high level of anxiety right now, given the economy and what’s going on in the world. It’s a beautiful thing to walk into classrooms and hear stories about how it’s transforming them.”A mindful Congress?

So mindfulness is for everyone.”In his book “A Mindful Nation” and during regular public speaking engagements, Mr. Following a mindfulness conference in New York last October, Mr.

Ryan asserts that mindfulness is a simple, largely overlooked tonic for what ails us. Not the day’s coming political combat, or the endless scramble for campaign funds. Ryan was walking to a restaurant; when it started to rain, he ducked under an awning, within earshot of two sisters who also had attended the conference.“Was that a congressman I just met? ” said one sister.“Yeah,” said the other.“Will he still be a congressman after writing that book?

That it not only can help individuals cope with the pressures of modern life, but also help treat traumatized veterans, raise better-educated children and reduce ballooning health care costs — all while fostering a less divisive, more productive Washington culture in which solving problems takes precedence over scoring political points. Marines are experimenting with a pilot program of their own. We need this.”An unlikely advocate Like many of his House colleagues, Mr. ” said the first sister.“It’s common for elected officials to talk about physical things — budgets, guns, potholes,” Mr. “It’s not very common to talk about the psychological and mental factors that are involved in things going well or badly in public policy. Digest negative information, from Syria and Iran to veterans and suicides to the economy.

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David Mark, Arena's moderator, is a Senior Editor at POLITICO.

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