First time mothers who pay attention to their physical and emotional changes during pregnancy give birth to healthier babies. “These findings are of more than 40 years of research that has made clear that whether you are mindless or mindful makes a big difference in every aspect of your health and well-being – from competence to longevity,” said Ellen Langer. For Langer’s recent study, researchers trained women pregnant with their first child in mindfulness. They were given instructions to notice subtle changes in their feelings and physical sensations each day, she said.
When compared with two other groups of first-time pregnant mothers, who did not have the mindfulness training, these women reported more well-being and positive feelings and less emotional distress. “They had higher self-esteem and life satisfaction during this period of their pregnancy and up to at least a month after birth,” Langer said. “And this also had a positive impact on their deliveries and overall health of the newborns.”
Teaching mindfulness through attention to variability may be helpful for many disorders, including asthma, depression and learning disabilities, to name a few, according to Langer. Author of the popular books ‘Mindfulness’, ‘The Power of Mindful Learning’, ‘On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity’ and most recently ‘Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility’, Langer is known for her work on the illusion of control, aging, decision-making and mindfulness theory.