Chadwick Matlin, a staff writer for the evidence-based fivethirtyeight.com, recently revealed his unexpected discovery of solace in the practice of mindfulness after experiencing initial skepticism – especially given the practice’s highly trending profile of late.
FiveThirtyEight (also known as 538) was founded in 2008 as a polling aggregator website, taking its name from the number of electors in the U.S. electoral college. Because the organization examines events empirically, practices lacking measurable parameters can be problematic.
Matlin investigated meditation research performed by Johns Hopkins University in 2014 yielding minimal, but tangible, results indicating lowered pain and depression levels among individuals who meditated. Additional studies elsewhere supported certain structural changes in the human brain after meditation but established no causal links.
Without direct correlation, Matlin said in a posting on the FiveThirtyEight website that he remained skeptical. His pragmatic hesitation stemmed from a concern that the subject of mindfulness has been very much front and center in the news lately; therefore, people are predisposed to “believing” its efficacy.
On the other hand, he said, his eventual acceptance of the practice’s potential derived directly from his personal struggle with anxiety. Observing that cognitive-behavioral therapy proved effective for him, he said that his initial rejection of mindfulness’ potential may have been subjective.
“I’ve come to realize that my dismissal of mindfulness was premature – and likely informed by my own biases against any number of things: science fads, non-Western medicine … etc.” Matlin said in the posting.
He concluded in his appraisal that “one can overcommit to skepticism, just as one can overcommit to certainty;” that thinking outside the box allows for new perspective.