“The evidence cannot be overlooked: secondhand smoke kills, secondhand smoke harms, and secondhand smoke has no safe limit of exposure.” – Dr. Len
Mindfulness is known to promote physical health. Many of its benefits are attributed to the physical effects of mindfulness on the nervous system, the immune or the stress hormone systems. But many of the health issues in a modern society result from the individual’s behaviors. These include a poor diet, lack of exercise, cigarette smoking, drinking in excess, etc. Fortunately, mindfulness can assist with these problems also, affecting health by altering health related behaviors such as a healthy diet or exercise. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to produce healthier eating habits, reducing overeating and binge eating (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/08/26/eat-mindfully-for-obesity/). Mindfulness can also help the individual deal with problem drinking (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/08/28/kick-the-drug-habit-with-mindfulness/).
It has been well established that second hand cigarette smoke is dangerous. Since 1964, it has been estimated that 2,500,000 nonsmokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke. About 34,000 heart disease deaths and that 7,300 lung cancer deaths each year are produced by breathing secondhand smoke. Obviously, an important but rarely studied health related behavior is the avoidance of secondhand smoke.
In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness, Physical Activity and Avoidance of Secondhand Smoke: A Study of College Students in Shanghai”
Gao and colleagues studied the relationship between college students’ levels of mindfulness and their avoidance of secondhand smoke and their activity levels. They found that the higher the level of mindfulness the higher the level of avoidance of secondhand smoke. In addition, higher levels of mindfulness were associated with higher activity levels. Interestingly, being male made it much more difficult to avoid secondhand smoke.
These results support the notion that mindfulness improves health and well-being not only directly through effects on the physiology but also indirectly by altering the types of behaviors that are associated with health. It both increases behaviors that tend to improve health, exercise, and decreasing behaviors that can lead to poor health, breathing secondhand smoke.
So, practice mindfulness and be healthier.
“The doctor of the future will give no medicines, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the causes and prevention of disease”. ~Thomas Edison
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies