It’s time for the next interview in our non-diet approach to health & life series.
I’m so happy we have had such a diverse range of individuals willing to take part in this series. If this is your first time on our blog, perhaps start here to get the background info.
So let’s get straight to it and meet my next guest:
Introducing Magnus Fridh
Not many people in Australia will know who Magnus Fridh is and that’s part of my reasoning for doing this interview series. I’m keen for us all to think about other people in both similar and different fields of work than our own. It’s also great to connect with like-minded souls in other countries.
Magnus Fridh is one of the founders behind a super popular ph app called MindApps. (>>>It’s actually been rated as the number 1 health app in 10 countries). He hails from Sweden and had a previous career in the music industry. He was a composer for Universal Music Publishing from 2001 – 2011, is an Ashtanga Yoga and meditation teacher, obviously a global app developer and oh – just on the side – has a Bachelor of Science in History and Literature.
As a lover of mindfulness apps (including MindApps), I was super keen to hear the thoughts of an app developer as to how mindfulness helps others and how perhaps we can use some of this knowledge and these newer technologies to move away from diets for health – and onto something that will help us to be happier and healthier LONG TERM.
Thank goodness, Magnus said YES!
Let’s learn more from him…
To our SOL friends who might not have heard of mindfulness,
can you explain what it is?
Mindfulness is an old practice first taught by Buddha himself. There are many different kinds and meditations & mindfulness is a technique where you become more aware of the present moment. Over time, the result will be a possibility to see things as they are and not through a filter of emotions and projections. Theoretically you can´t come far but one needs to exercise and practice regularly to make the mind more flexible and familiar to the new patterns.
By creating a gap between the experience and our reaction it will be easier to make better decisions in life.
Tell us how you became interested in the concept of mindfulness?
When I was a kid my parents had a sponsor child from Tibet who visited me here in Sweden. He taught me a lot about Tibetan culture and introduced me to Tibetan Buddhism. When I was 18 I started to meditate on my own and a few years later became a member of a Tibetan Buddhist community. I travelled regularly to Nepal to learn more about meditation, language and culture and studied Indology with a focus on Tibetan language and cultural history at University from 1997-2000.
Since this time it has followed me and together with Ashtanga Yoga it’s my daily practice.
After Buddhists came to the west and scientists tested the techniques in clinical situations it has become even more interesting and now the same meditations I learnt when I started are used in clinics and as tools in CBT-therapy which is amazing.
Is there scientific evidence that mindfulness can actually improve our health? I guess what we’d like to know is, who can mindfulness help?
So much data is collected and we can more or less say that mindfulness is a evidence based method.
Last year we conducted a survey among 1,055 users of The Mindfulness App, what they experienced as the effects of regular use of the meditations in the app.
In total, 89 percent experienced that they felt less stressed. 75 percent also felt more satisfaction with life. And the effect continues over time. After more than seven months of regular meditation with the app, 78 percent felt more life satisfaction and 90 percent experienced less stress.
Part of our ethos is supporting our community members to develop healthy and happy relationships with food. What does having a healthy relationship with food mean to you?
I’m not an expert in this field but we have people in our team that teach Mindful Eating. From my point of view again it comes down to practice and learning how your mind works and taking responsibility for your own life. For me that has always been the interesting part. If you have a stable practice it will stabilize the mind and helps you in all situations in life like relations, work, food…..
If you deepen your practice you will be more sensitive to how different foods impact your health and your body. What works for one person maybe doesn’t fit you.
You are leading the way in helping the mindfulness concept reach the broader (and global) community. Who do you admire as an innovator or expert in the mindfulness field?
Jon Kabat-Zinn is definitely the pioneer bringing mindfulness into the spotlight in west. I think he has done an incredible work lifting all those brilliant teachings to a new perspective and a new context. I couldn’t´t imagine that this was going to happen when I first met meditation.
I would also like to mention Dalai Lama here. He has the skill to explain meditation in a very simple way. He makes it accessible for each and everyone and his interest in science also helped quite a bit to build a bridge from the classical teachings to the modern world.
What new apps or projects can we look forward to from the Mindfulness App Team this year?
This year we launched an app called Sleep Smart which came out of a collaboration with a team of CBT psychologists here in Stockholm. It’s an app that gives you a complete tool to get a better sleep. It contains guided exercises, wind downs, daily activities, sleep school, statistics, alarm clock, encouraging achievements. It’s available for iphone and ipad so far but will be converted to Android as well later this year.
We also just released an app called Breathing Space. In the app we focus on deep breathing itself. You assess how many breaths you take per minute with the built-in microphone in your device. Based on this the app we will create programs that take you down to a more optimal slower and deeper breathing.
Big Thanks to Magnus!
I’m sure you’ll agree he mindfulness story is super interesting. Using mindfulness through technology as a health tool makes a whole load of sense. I also liked Magnus’s point that when it comes to food, we are all different. Mindfulness is a great way to figure out how food affects YOU.
If you are keen to try meditation why not check out their app? Here is the link to Mind Apps on Apple and on Google Play. If you would like to connect with Magnus and the Mind Apps team you can touch base over at their website HERE.
I’ll leave you with a direct quote from the team at MindApps:
Mindfulness is not a competition, neither with yourself nor with others. However, in order to have an effect, it is necessary to practice regularly.
The Mindfulness App is simply a tool for increasing your awareness in life. It helps you with the most difficult aspect of Mindfulness practice – namely to remember to be mindful.
If you liked this interview, you might be interested to check out some our previous interviews in this series:
- Lauren Fowler, Registered Dietitian, United States
- Julie Goodwin, Celebrity Cook, Australia
- Fiona Willer, Accredited Practising Dietitian, Australia
- Dr Linda Bacon, Nutrition Professor & Researcher, United States
- Stephanie Alexander AO, Celebrity Cook, Australia
- Sarah McMahon, Clinical Psychologist, Australia
- Kerry Beake, Nutritionist & Coach, Australia
Who will be next? ………more updates coming….;)