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How addiction can affect brain connections

wildmind meditation newsDeborah Becker, WBUR: As much of the country grapples with problems resulting from opioid addiction, some Massachusetts scientists say they’re getting a better understanding of the profound role the brain plays in addiction.

Their work is among a growing body of research showing that addiction is a complex brain disease that affects people differently. But the research also raises hopes about potential treatments.

Among the findings of some University of Massachusetts Medical School scientists is that addiction appears to permanently affect the connections between areas of the brain to almost “hard-wire” the brain to support the addiction.

They’re also exploring the neural roots …

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Prevention Research Center receives $1.4 million mindfulness research grant

wildmind meditation newsLee Carpenter, Penn State News: Grant from the Institute on Education Sciences focuses on teaching adolescents mindfulness practices.

Teaching adolescents mindfulness practices that may strengthen their attention, executive function and emotion regulation skills, and in turn improve their academic and social functioning is the focus of a new grant received by the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at Penn State. Mark Greenberg, Edna Peterson Bennett Endowed Chair in Prevention Research and professor of human development and psychology, is the principal investigator.

The three-year, $1.4 million grant from the Institute on Education Sciences will enable the integration of mindfulness practices and teachings into the regular …

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Marketing McMindfulness

wildmind meditation newsDouglas Todd, The Vancouver Sun: You suspect a trend has peaked when someone attaches to it the prefix, “Mc.” And it sticks. And that’s what has happened to the psycho-spiritual popularity of mindfulness, which has been a buzz word in liberal North American circles and psychology for at least a decade.

As the columns below attest, it’s not that mindfulness is a bad thing. It’s really just one technique for practising contemplation and meditation — of paying attention. And that’s been around forever — and not only in Buddhism, as many North American practitioners of mindfulness so often assertively suggest.

Contemplation has been …

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Can’t sleep? This might be why

wildmind meditation newsiAfrica.com: In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine explored the pathway that leads to short-term insomnia disorder after stressful events.

According to the study, dangerous coping mechanisms that could lead to insomnia include disengaging without confronting the stressor, turning to drugs and alcohol, and using media as a means of distraction.

“Our study is among the first to show that it’s not the number of stressors, but your reaction to them that determines the likelihood of experiencing insomnia,” says lead author Vivek Pillai, PhD, research fellow at the Sleep Disorders & Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in …

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The power of meditative thinking versus positive thinking

wildmind meditation newsEden Kozlowski, Huffington Post: In conducting my meditation and mindfulness work, I meet many seemingly happy-go-lucky types who focus their attention on positive thinking. Chances are, many of you also aspire to this lifestyle. There are countless websites, Facebook pages and self-help diatribes dedicated to the upbeat idea.

However, this recent HuffPost blog on PT books states, “Positive thinking is at once the most widely embraced and the most frequently reviled philosophy in America.”

So, let me get straight to the point and continue with more of the reviling (actually, how about we clarify instead of revile). In my professional experience, I find …

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25 minutes of mindfulness meditation can be best stress buster – study

wildmind meditation newsAlvin Barnes, Wall Street OTC: If there’s one mental practice that’s stood the test of time and rigorous laboratory tests, it’s meditation. Mindfulness meditation in particular has done a good job of proving itself effective in reducing stress and depression, improving attention and cognitive performance, and even increasing grey matter density in the brain.

According to a new study in Psychoneuroendocrinology, just a little mindfulness training goes a long way, at least when it comes to quieting the mind in stressful situations. And for most people beginning a meditation practice, that’s not a bad place to start.

Mindfulness has been described by Jon …

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Is mindfulness the key to being a better boss?

wildmind meditation newsHCOnline: We’ve all done it. In a fit of fury or just plain annoyance, we’ve hastily typed a snarky email to a colleague and hit ‘send’ – without first thinking of the repercussions.

It’s known as action addiction – often when things happen we want to fix it, immediately. There’s even a neurological incentive to do so – we get a hit of dopamine from feeling like we’ve taken quick, decisive action.

It’s human nature to act before thinking, right? It is, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. The concept of mindfulness is not new – in fact as a concept it …

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Can meditation really make you look younger?

wildmind meditation newsSara Bliss, Yahoo!: There’s a particular buzz around meditation right now, probably a direct result of more than half of working American adults being seriously concerned about their stress levels. Studies—and history—have shown that regular practice can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and keep depression and anxiety at bay. If you’re more concerned with the external effects of stress, how’s this: regular meditation might even make you look younger. Recent studies show that long-term practice changes your body on a cellular level that might actually slow down aging. Vedic Meditation instructor Charlie Knoles says, “People are spending a fortune on anti-wrinkle creams even …

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Simply noticing — a path to mindfulness

wildmind meditation newsPatricia Pearce: Each morning I begin my day by reading a poem by Mary Oliver. Yesterday morning I read one, “Humpback,” from her book American Primitive that brought me to tears. Oliver has a unique gift of opening herself to Reality, the Reality so many of us spend our days asleep to, and of finding words to convey it such that its radiance can pierce our own minds.

It got me thinking about how the poet’s foremost job is to be awake to life and to notice things that most of us don’t. Only by being awake does the poet have anything to …

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The dark knight of the soul

wildmind meditation newsTomas Rocha, The Atlantic: For some, meditation has become more curse than cure. Willoughby Britton wants to know why.

Set back on quiet College Hill in Providence, Rhode Island, sits a dignified, four story, 19th-century house that belongs to Dr. Willoughby Britton. Inside, it is warm, spacious, and organized. The shelves are stocked with organic foods. A solid wood dining room table seats up to 12. Plants are ubiquitous. Comfortable pillows are never far from reach. The basement—with its own bed, living space, and private bathroom—often hosts a rotating cast of yogis and meditation teachers. Britton’s own living space and office are on the …

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