How Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan reduces stress through mindfulness

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who wrote the book A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit, recently sat down with FOX’s Julie Banderas to discuss how mindfulness can reduce stress and save money.

What is mindfulness, you may ask?

“It’s paying attention to the present moment, on purpose,” Ryan said. “Whether it’s putting on your socks, dancing, swimming – it’s about disciplining your mind. Everyone can do it.”

Banderas pointed out that often people have conversations, but their minds are elsewhere – and it can affect your work if it’s happening in the workplace.

Ryan agreed, pointing out how a distracted driver can end up in a place he or she never intended to go to.

“Your mind is running, which can bring a lot of anxiety . . . and this can lead to a decrease in immune function, ulcers, type 2 diabetes, (et cetera),” Ryan said. And we spend a lot of money on prescription drugs. We need to find out what is causing these problems.”

Ryan said he thinks we, as a society, are less mindful now than ever before – due in part to information overload, the speed of society, the gap between the rich and the poor – and we need to get back to a simpler time.

“I talk about my grandfather. . .who worked until 3 p.m., came home and worked in his garden,” Ryan said. “We need to get back there.”

Ryan said that by being mindful, he reduces his stress level significantly.

“We tell our kids to pay attention in school,” he said, “but we don’t teach them how to pay attention.”

Ryan said if you are aware in the present moment – “like a finely-tuned athlete” – you’ll be aware of the information you actually need, versus the information you don’t.