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Social and emotional skills for schools

wildmind meditation newsRavi Pradhan, República: In the past decade, a very exciting new approach has started to attract the attention of educators and parents in the US. An umbrella term to describe these approaches is “social and emotional learning” or SEL.

In fact, the US Federal Government and private foundations have funded several pilot grants all over the country.

SEL is seen as a relatively low-cost, secular, science-based approach that generates the following kinds of results across age, sex, income levels, and ethnic backgrounds in schools:

  • Reduces stress, anxiety, negative behavior, and bullying.
  • Increases calmness, relaxation, self-awareness, self-control, and empathy.
  • Improves focus, attention and self-awareness …

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Just breathe: why meditation is going mainstream

wildmind meditation newsChavie Lieber, Racked.com: Cruise through the posh Los Angeles neighborhood of Brentwood, and you’ll drive past all the hot spots: the local farmers’ market, a smattering of spinning studios, a boutique coffee shop—and a new trendy meditation spot, Unplug.

Four months ago former Glamour editor Suze Yalof Schwartz opened Unplug, imagining it as a “modern meditation studio” where guided classes are easy, soothing and accessible.

“I want Unplug to be the Drybar of meditation,” Yalof Schwartz told Racked. “There needs to be a place to just pop in and meditate, not take eight-week programs that cost $1400 and are in the middle of nowhere.” …

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A silent journey to the centre of the self

wildmind meditation newsDebra Black, TheStar.com: Reporter Debra Black attends a six-day silent retreat, where she practices yoga and mediation and tries her best to live in the moment.

“When we relax the breath, the mind temporarily becomes relaxed. The breath is free from greed, hatred, delusion and fear. Relaxing the breath, breathe in. Relaxing the breath, breathe out. The joy arises naturally.” Bhante Gunaratana, The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English.

It is odd to eat in silence. I’ve lined up for today’s lunch — miso mushroom soup; cold vegetarian rolls of rice noodles, cabbage and avocado; and fresh fruit — without uttering a …

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Is mindfulness good medicine?

wildmind meditation newsHal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfeld, Scientific American: Mindfulness meditation can help alleviate depression and possibly anxiety.

In a typical mindfulness meditation session, a person sits on the floor, eyes closed, back straight and legs crossed, his body positioned to facilitate his inner experiences. For 10 to 15 minutes, he observes his thoughts as if he were an outsider looking in. He pays particular attention to his breathing, and when his mind wanders to other thoughts, he brings his attention back to his breath. As he practices, his mind empties of thoughts, and he becomes calmer and more peaceful.

Meditation has long been used for …

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Ancient meditation technique sharpens cognitive skills

wildmind meditation newsLiat Clark, Wired: Different types of meditation illicit different types of physiological response, and can vastly improve cognitive skills.

A team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) explored four types of meditation practiced by Buddhists, from two main branches of the tradition, Vajrayana (Deity and Rig-pa) and Theravada (Shamatha and Vipassana). From each tradition, one style of meditation was designed to relax and another to arouse the senses.

The Singapore team points out in a paper published in PLOS ONE that prior research has focused on Theravada meditation mainly, and its ability to induce relaxation and heighten alertness. Coauthors Maria Kozhevnikov and …

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Why mindfulness is just the beginning

wildmind meditation newsDavid Mochel, The Huffington Post UK: Huffington Post, Forbes, New York Times, Bloomberg News, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Business Insider — articles on mindfulness are everywhere these days. It is difficult to avoid some mention of this ancient practice in the media. While it is most directly linked with Buddhism, the practice of using your attention on purpose and accepting external and internal events has been taught by the Stoics of Greece, as well as contemplatives from Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and many other faiths. The body of scientific evidence pointing to the physiological, psychological, and social benefits of this practice is large and …

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Mindfulness training may assuage early-life trauma

wildmind meditation newsThaddeus Pace, Scientific American: We live in an increasingly stressful world. There’s an aspirational sense things should improve with time, witness the U.S. War on Poverty or the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. But in the last 50 years, many risks, perceived and real, have grown worse: extreme weather, violent conflict, economic dislocation, poverty (especially for children), abuse and domestic violence. Traumatic and chronic stress affects millions. Many become sick and marginalized because of it; others manage to survive and thrive. What explains the difference?

“Resilience” is a popular answer these days. But it’s a buzzword in danger of losing its meaning through overuse. As …

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Using mindfulness to be more productive

wildmind meditation newsPaige Burkes, Simple Mindfulness: I’ve noticed lately that I’m having a harder time focusing for more than a short period of time. My brain is telling me that it needs some quiet time to rest and ponder issues. Unfortunately, my monkey mind doesn’t like the idea of sitting still and being “unproductive.”

My True Self is telling me that, by skimming over everything, I’m missing something – deeper meanings, real connections and more important messages.

Although my monkey mind continues screeching, my True Self is calm, whispering a little louder each day. I’ve learned the hard way (too many times than I’d like …

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The Dalai Lama on his own mindfulness practice

wildmind meditation newsKestrel Slocombe, Wisdom Publications: Whether we are doing something good and worthwhile with our lives or not, time never waits but keeps flowing. Not only does time flow unhindered, but correspondingly our life too keeps moving onward all the time. If something has gone wrong, we cannot turn back time and try again. In that sense, there is no genuine second chance. Hence, it is crucial for a spiritual practitioner constantly to examine his or her attitudes and actions. If we examine ourselves every day with mindfulness and mental alertness, checking our thoughts, motivations, and their manifestations in external behavior, a possibility for …

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Mindfulness is all about self-help. It does nothing to change an unjust world

wildmind meditation newsSuzanne Moore, The Guardian: Why are we trying to think less when we need to think more? The neutered, apolitical approach of mindfulness ignores the structural difficulties we live with.

Most of what is wrong in the modern world can be cured by not thinking too much. From psoriasis to depression to giving yourself a “competitive advantage” in the workplace, the answer touted everywhere right now is mindfulness. Just let go for few minutes a day, breathe, observe your thoughts as ripples across a pond, feel every sensation around you. Stop your mind whirring and, lo, miraculously, everything will improve “at a cellular …

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