Resource item

Health Fusion: Don’t let mindfulness become just another item on your to-do list. Make it meaningful – Duluth News Tribune

ROCHESTER, Minnesota — Over the next few months, I’ll be writing about goals in a series we call the Goal Getters. The idea is to help people set realistic goals and provide the information and resources they need to succeed.

My to-do list is pretty long and includes getting the house organized, getting in shape (not necessarily to look better, but to be able to lug salt from the water softener in the basement or move floor wheelbarrows without hurting myself), sleep more and be attentive.

But after interviewing Dr. Roberto Benzo, director of the Mindful Breathing Lab at Mayo Clinic, I realize that putting mindfulness on my to-do list is exactly what I shouldn’t be doing if I want mindfulness. mindfulness makes sense.

“If we make mindfulness just one more thing to add to our list of things we need to do to be successful or perfect, we’re doomed,” Benzo said. “Mindfulness and its health benefits come through simplifying and focusing on what makes sense in our lives. It comes with silence, stillness and appreciation for life. that’s when we’ll find the balance.”

In our society, turning off unnecessary distractions and activities is not very easy. Many people feel like they will never catch up with all they have to do.

“We are in a constant state of noise and it is very difficult to identify what is really important in life,” Benzo said. “But everyone has the ability to change and enjoy life in the present moment.”

Mindfulness is a bit of a buzzword these days and some people are skeptical of the benefits. But Benzo says the effort to pay more attention to the present moment is important for your mental and physical health.

“There are a plethora of studies that show mindfulness meditation helps improve back pain and hypertension,” Benzo said. “The practice can also help with cardiovascular disease, anxiety, and depression. And it really is such a simple thing to do.”

Benzo and his team are studying how mindfulness can help people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the Mayo Clinic’s Mindful Breathing Lab. Many of the patients they see have experienced life changes due to illnesses such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

“Some people feel like they don’t have a good life to live because they’re sick,” Benzo said. “We want to help them realize that they can improve their quality of life and health through mindfulness, even in the context of illness.”

Study participants monitor their home activities with smart technology that records when they walk, relax, sleep and do other activities. They also have access to health coaches who help them incorporate mindful activities into their days. Benzo says the goal is to eventually develop mindfulness-based interventions to help improve quality of life.

“Maybe you can’t play golf anymore, but that doesn’t mean your life doesn’t have meaning,” Benzo said. “Your life is just different. People forget how much they could enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal with a friend. We hope to help them find meaning and enjoyment in life as they adjust to the changes over time.”

Benzo says no matter what, we’re all going to change as we get older. And to have balance and happiness throughout the process, we need to pay attention to what really matters.

After meeting Dr. Benzo, I took mindfulness off my to-do list and set myself a different kind of goal; pay more attention to the things in life that matter most to me.

Follow the

Fusion Health

podcast on





podcasts. For feedback or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at

[email protected]

Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.