File - Klia Bassing (L), director of Visit Yourself at Work, a mindfulness meditation center, leads a meditation session on March 26, 2014 at the American Psychological Association in Washington DC. (AFP PHOTO/FABIENNE FAUR)
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"Make yourself comfortable, eyes closed, take a few full breaths," a woman's voice says softly. "If you find that your mind has wandered, this is good news".This is "mindfulness," a form of meditation that is growing fast in the Western world, including in the United States, and has been hailed for its benefits in reducing anxiety and depression.In January, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that said in some cases mindfulness could be as effective as taking anti-depressant medication.Patti Delande, 42, an application interface designer, says she has felt tangible benefits since starting to practice mindfulness with Bassing four years ago.Although meditation is associated with Buddhism, Bassing stresses that you do not need to be religious to do mindfulness exercise.Jon Kabat-Zinn, a professor of medicine and widely hailed as a mindfulness master, founded a mindfulness stress-reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979 .Holly Siprelle, assistant executive director, staff initiatives, at the APA, has witnessed first hand the benefits of providing mindfulness, yoga, massage and other "alternative" techniques for workers.
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