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Your Mind is What Matters

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Mindful Living

Weaving its way through every trend in 2014 is the simple, but compelling, act of mindful living: The idea of attentiveness to the present moment can help clear the clutter in your mind caused by the overstimulation of today's supercharged world.

This is the üer trend that's on everyone's mind - from the Dalai Lama to the co-founder of Twitter to your yoga studio down the street. Whether you tap into mindfulness through an app on your smartphone, by turning all your digital devices off, by hitting a yoga class (another non-stop trending activity) or by practicing straightforward meditation, it's your mind that matters.

"A healthy mind is the true key to happiness," said His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, during his keynote speech at the recent Global Spa and Wellness Summit. "We spend so much energy on physical health and hygiene—but we need to spend more on mental hygiene and the 'hygiene' of emotion."

This is one of the biggest movements the wellness industry has ever seen. People are craving (and needing) a reboot of their brains—and the reasons are plentiful. Mindfulness gives us an effective tool to cope with today's highly stressed-out world. As highlighted in our 2013 trend "The Mindfulness Massage," it has been proven to re-wire our brains to become less anxious, happier, more focused and even more creative.

This is why this movement appeals not only to the New Age hippie within us but also to the overachieving Silicon Valley exec. Look at the success of Google's Zen-like employee program, "Search Inside Yourself," which has attracted thousands of Googlers, encouraging them to focus on the here and now; witness the buzz around the discovery that Steve Jobs attributed much of his success to the practice of meditation and Zen Buddhism. All walks of life are waking up to the fact that mindful living breeds a healthy mind, one that is able to focus and get things done.

And more and more studies are surfacing that compel us to continue this quest for a "change of mind." This includes research that shows an hour of yoga a week reduces stress levels in employees by a third and cuts healthcare costs by an average of $2,000 a year, while other studies have linked mindfulness to improved sleep, emotional stability, better cognitive functions and increased productivity.

The physical benefits of spa and wellness activities have long been known to reduce stress and relax our bodies, but in 2014 and beyond there will be a sharp focus on interweaving mindfulness techniques into these practices to help us reach a whole new place of serenity and calm. And perhaps more importantly, give us the tools we need to focus on what's important in our lives, both at work (with renewed focus and productivity) and at home (helping us to be in the moment with those we care about).