Back in November I learned I will be giving a talk on Neuro-Hacking at RSA with Jennifer Minella. We will be discussing how mindfulness practices can favorably impact the way you view things, basically allowing you to hack your brain. But I am pretty sure you can’t sell my synapses on an Eastern European carder forum.

Over the last few months Jen and I have been doing a lot of research to substantiate the personal experience we have both had with mindfulness practices. We know security folks tend to be tough customers and reasonably skeptical about pretty much everything – unless there is data to back up any position. The good news is that there is plenty of data about how mindfulness can impact stress, job performance, and work/life balance. And big companies are jumping on board – Aetna is the latest to provide a series of Evidence-based Mind-Body Stress Management Programs based on mindfulness meditation and yoga.

Meditation and yoga are becoming a big business (yoga pants FTW), so it is logical for big companies to jump on the bandwagon. The difference here, and the reason I don’t believe this is a fad, is the data. That release references a recent study in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. That’s got to be legitimate, right?

Participants in the mind-body stress reduction treatment groups (mindfulness and Viniyoga) showed significant improvements in perceived stress with 36 and 33 percent decreases in stress levels respectively, as compared to an 18 percent reduction for the control group as measured with the Perceived Stress Scale. Participants in the mind-body interventions also saw significant improvements in various heart rate measurements, suggesting that their bodies were better able to manage stress.

The focus of our talk is going to be solutions and demystifying some of these practices. It’s not about how security people are grumpy. We all know that. We will focus on how to start and develop a sustainable practice. Mindfulness doesn’t need to be hard or take a long time. In as little as 5-15 minutes a day you can dramatically impact your ability to deal with life. Seriously.

But don’t take our word for it. Show up for the session and draw your own conclusions. We just recorded a podcast for the RSA folks, and I’ll link to it once it’s available, later this week. Jen and I will also be posting more mindfulness stuff on our respective blogs in the lead up to the conference (much to Rich’s chagrin).

Photo credit: “6 Instant Ways To Stress Less And Smile More – Flip Your Perspective” originally uploaded by UrbaneWomenMag