In the midst of a global mental health crisis, millions of people have turned to mindfulness. But does it actually make us happier and healthier?
For my most recent project, I participated in a world-first experiment, in which a team of scientists to put mindful meditation to the test. But after a 30,000 kilometre journey from the bright lights of Manhattan to the dusty refugee camps of the Middle East, what began as a self-experiment, transformed into a life-changing experience.
The resulting documentary and book inspired a high-school teacher to get in touch recently to see if I could help with an entirely student-led TEDx event – run by young people, for young people.
TEDx events are about encouraging communities to give a platform to “ideas worth spreading” and he wanted to know if I would share what I learned from My Year of Living Mindfully with the students. Of course, I said yes.
In this talk, I reveal the surprising conclusions of my year-long experiment to a group of young people who are facing radically different challenges to anything experienced by previous generations. In a world facing rapid technological disruption, increasing political polarisation and climate change, half of all mental disorders start by 14 years of age.
In my TEDx talk I was able to share what I wish I'd known as a teenager;
- That wellbeing is a skill
- That wellbeing can be learned
- And wellbeing is worth putting on our To Do list.
I hope you can find a moment to watch my talk and share it with the young people in your own life.
I think you'll find the students did a remarkable job of running the event; from the backstage management to the sound, lighting, and even the editing.