Long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, the World Health Organization had been warning that  anxiety and depression were the greatest health bur dens on our planet, ranking anxiety as the number one  cause of disability globally, outstripping heart disease and  even cancer. The ongoing pandemic has only fertilized  the roots of something that has been here for a very long  time. With chronic uncertainty in the world, more people  than ever are having trouble focusing, feeling scattered,  and overwhelmed.  

In the digital age, the scarcest resource is not time,  energy, or love. It’s our attention. The average human  attention span has degraded to just below eight seconds.  That’s shorter than the attention span of goldfish.  

Portable devices have eliminated boundaries  between work and home, creating a constant feeling of urgency to tune-in and respond in every waking  moment. Our mobile phones alert us to every new email,  text, status update, and bargain deal, interrupting and  eroding our calm and concentration.  

Succumbing to these constant distractions drains our  cognitive, emotional, and social intelligence. Our cultural  ADD and addiction to social media have had negative  consequences both individually and collectively: 

  • Over 40 million Americans (+20% of the US population) are on prescription medications for anxiety or  depression 
  • 70 million Americans have been diagnosed with a  sleep disorder  
  • And for the first time, the World Health Organization has officially classified workplace burnout as an  occupational work hazard 

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need better ways of working, coping, and being with  one another.  

Mindfulness training is answering the call. Businesses,  senior centers, and fitness facilities are offering mindfulness  programs to reduce anxiety. Tech giants like Microsoft and  LinkedIn have integrated mindfulness into their workplace  health strategies. And elite universities like Harvard Business  School and Stanford are teaching mindfulness as part of  their leadership curricula. 

Why? Because mindfulness delivers results. F-MRI  brain studies show that mindfulness training reliably and  profoundly alters the structure and function of the brain  to improve the quality of thinking, feeling and empathy. It improves both physical and emotional resilience,  lessens rates of illness and absenteeism decreasing medical benefit costs.  

What is mindfulness training? Science-based mindfulness is a neural process that produces a state of calm,  alert awareness and strengthens brain circuits associated  with attentional, emotional, and behavioral control. It  produces outcomes that improves well being, cognitive  performance, and emotional intelligence.  

Our most important priorities deserve our undivided  attention. Mindfulness training improves mental clarity,  communication, and critical thinking which provide skills  that can future-proof today’s leaders and develop braver, bolder people for our future.  


This article was writting by Lisa Wellstead, Mindfulness Teacher and Trainer.Lisa Wellstead is owner of Wellstead Mindfulness Training and Founder East Cobb Yoga and Mindfulness. She has been practicing, championing, and teaching mindfulness and meditation in the Atlanta community for over 15 years. Lisa has lived in East Cobb since 1990. She currently lives in the Hampton Woods subdivision with her husband Mike. She is the mother of four children: Jordyn, 25; Maddie, 25; Coleman, 23; and Katie, 21.

This column originally appeared in the EAST COBBER January/February  issue. You can access the digital edition HERE.