It’s brain science: University fights binge drinking with meditation

March 2, 2016
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Susan Donaldson James, NBCNews: A song by U2 blares from loudspeakers as Dr. James Hudziak tosses a brain-shaped football back and forth to students, calling them out by name as they file in to the University of Vermont lecture hall.

The neuroscience course, “Healthy Brains, Healthy Bodies,” is about to begin, first with meditation, then the latest research on the benefits of clean living.

The class is part of a pioneering program — Wellness Environment or WE, which is anchored in four pillars of health: exercise, nutrition, mindfulness and mentorship.

Last year, the university accepted 120 …

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Incorporating meditation training into an outpatient psychiatry practice

February 24, 2016
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Greg Sazima, Psychiatric Times: You can’t open a newspaper or browse a health website these days without seeing the latest glowing testimonial to the benefits of meditation training. Yet only a small subset of psychiatrists actually practice meditation, and fewer still incorporate awareness training into their tool kit in treating their patients. It’s not as if there has been an absence of attention to meditation in the mental health community. The works of Drs Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mark Epstein, Marsha Linehan, and others as well as more recent research have reinforced meditation’s ameliorative effect on …

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Everyday mindfulness linked to healthy glucose levels

February 23, 2016
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Eureka Alert press release, Brown University: Dispositional, or “everyday” mindfulness is the inherent trait of being aware of one’s present thoughts and feelings. In a new study of 399 people that measured health indicators including dispositional mindfulness and blood glucose, researchers found that those with higher scores for mindfulness were significantly more likely than people with low scores to have healthy glucose levels.

The results show an association and do not prove a cause, but they are part of a program led by Brown University where researchers are studying whether interventions that increase mindfulness can improve cardiovascular health. Their overarching hypotheses are that people … Read more »

It’s time for Buddhists to address ableism and accessibility

February 22, 2016
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Vidyamala Burch, Lion’s Roar: Following two accidents in my teens and twenties, I live with a serious spinal injury, getting around with the help of a wheelchair or crutches and with pain as a constant companion. When I am on retreat, I need to change position regularly, either by lying down or standing up. I need to do this. And at the places where I teach and practice, I can do this. Taraloka, a U.K. retreat center for women where I often teach, has a dedicated living space for disabled retreatants …

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A truly shocking reason to meditate

February 19, 2016
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Tim Brownson, A Daring Adventure: Next week I am going on a meditation retreat for 3 days.

It’s only the second time I have ever been on a retreat and the last time three years ago I made a bit of a fool of myself (read more here for the full, rather embarrassing story), although I still had a great time.

Even though I’d been meditating for 7 or 8 years I’d rarely sat for more than 30 minutes at a time and 20 minutes was probably a closer average before that retreat.

Rather strangely I was a tad stressed on …

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Intensive meditation training seems to enhance people’s compassion

February 18, 2016
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The Heart’s Wisdom: Four Meditations for Cultivating Love, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity
Alex Fradera, BPS Research Digest: Psychological research into meditation has overwhelmingly focused on its cognitive consequences, considering the practice as a kind of training for attention and behaviour control, together with stress alleviation. But contemplation traditions make far wider claims for meditation, such as that it helps practitioners cultivate concern for the welfare of others. A new study in the journal Emotion supports this perspective, using a rigorous measure of emotional response to show signs of enhanced compassion following intensive, long-term meditation.

Erika Rosenberg at the University of California, Davis and her …

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Sincerity and meditation

February 16, 2016
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Devi Sawh, Huffington Post: It was funny to me when at a meditation retreat in 2015, the facilitator used the word “sincere” to describe the type of meditator I am. It was funny because that has not always been the case. I have had to work for that like just about everything else on this journey of self-growth.

I remember a very long time ago when I first started to try to make meditation a daily practice, I had a very hard time being sincere each time I sat for meditation. I was trying it because I was …

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Mindfulness meditation linked to the reduction of a key inflammation marker

February 15, 2016
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Fiona MacDonald, Science Alert: Mindfulness meditation has been linked both to a whole lot of health benefits over the years, from altering cancer survivors’ cells to improving heart health. And while it sounds pretty new-age, research has shown that meditation really can change the shape, volume, and connectivity of our brains. But until now, no one’s known how those brain changes can impact our overall health.

Now new research could help explain that link between mind and body, with a study showing that stressed-out adults who practiced mindfulness meditation not only had their brain connectivity …

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Exercise and meditation — together — help beat depression

February 11, 2016
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EurekaAlert: Meditation and aerobic exercise done together helps reduce depression, according to a new Rutgers study.

The study, published in Translational Psychiatry this month, found that this mind and body combination – done twice a week for only two months – reduced the symptoms for a group of students by 40 percent.

“We are excited by the findings because we saw such a meaningful improvement in both clinically depressed and non-depressed students,” says Brandon Alderman, lead author of the research study. “It is the first time that both of these two behavioral therapies have been looked at together for dealing with depression.”

Alderman, … Read more »

How mindfulness can help women with postpartum depression

February 10, 2016
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Carolyn Gregoire, Huffington Post: More than 3 million American women suffer from postpartum depression each year — including up to 40 percent of women who have been treated for depression.

After working with many new and expecting mothers, Dr. Sona Dimidjian, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, began to question what her profession was doing to support these women — and decided to investigate an alternative solution to the conventional treatment. Those options, of psychotherapy and pharmaceuticals, aren’t always effective, and many women don’t want to take antidepressants …

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