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Meditation isn’t always relaxing, new study finds

wildmind meditation newsSarah Berry, Stuff.co.nz: Meditation is many things, but it is not always relaxing.

It restores clarity, relieves stress, changes our brains for the better, encourages creativity and calms our nervous system.

But a new study has found that we experience elevated heart rates during certain types of meditation.

Participants in the study were asked to practise loving-kindness meditation, thought-observation meditation and a relaxing breathing meditation technique.

The neuroscience researchers found that heart rate and effort were higher during loving-kindness meditation and observing-thoughts meditations.

“In contrast to implicit beliefs that meditation is always relaxing and associated with low arousal, the current results show that …

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How mindfulness can help us appreciate food

wildmind meditation newsDerek Watson, Herald Scotland: When I was a wee girl my daddy used to cajole me and my brother and sisters into finishing our meals by playing a game in which we were to imagine each forkful going to a different part of our bodies. Beef and potato, for instance, would be mashed up and formed into a pie shape, which we took great delight in dividing into wedges. On dad’s instruction we’d scoop up each piece and as we swallowed we’d imagine it going to, say, our left knee or our right pinky toe or a bicep or an eye. We imagine …

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The structure of gratitude

wildmind meditation newsDavid Brooks, NY Times: I’m sometimes grumpier when I stay at a nice hotel. I have certain expectations about the service that’s going to be provided. I get impatient if I have to crawl around looking for a power outlet, if the shower controls are unfathomable, if the place considers itself too fancy to put a coffee machine in each room. I’m sometimes happier at a budget motel, where my expectations are lower, and where a functioning iron is a bonus and the waffle maker in the breakfast area is a treat.

This little phenomenon shows how powerfully expectations structure our moods and …

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Jul 21, 2015

Why a Buddhist monk doesn’t need an app to meditate and why you do

wildmind meditation newsDragos Bratasanu, Huffington Post: A few years ago I traveled to Nepal to hike in the Himalayas, learn a bit more about myself and about the world from the Buddhist spiritual teachers. For over seven years I have went back and forth across the bridge between science and spirituality. I have studied both, trying to understand why we try to separate them, why we need to follow one path or the other. I never could quite understand why a scientist cannot spend time in meditation or pray and why a person on the spiritual path can’t actually think?

As the night embraced the …

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Jul 21, 2015

Meditation infographic

InformationIsBeautiful.net reviewed 75+ studies and compiled all the evidence in one graphic and datasheet.

What are the effects of meditation & mindfulness, according to the latest scientific research? What’s it good for? And while we’re at it, what’s the difference between meditation and mindfulness anyway?

IIB_Meditation_effects

Click on the graphic above to get more information.

Jul 20, 2015

The “Now Bench”

The Now BenchI just got word of a Kickstarter for an interesting new meditation tool.

For many people, sitting cross-legged isn’t comfortable, or even possible! For those who aren’t so flexible, the traditional kneeling, or “seiza” posture is very handy. It provides stability, comfort (once you figure out the right height, angle, and floor cushioning), and a sense of groundedness (certainly compared to being perched on a chair).

A good seiza bench, usually made of wood, can cost anything from $60 to $200 for a decent model.

The Now Bench is a different approach, using modern foam technology. It’s a simple U-shape, allowing the bench to find the right angle for having … Read more »

Mindfulness study to track effect of meditation on 7,000 teenagers

wildmind meditation newsRobert Booth, The Guardian: Seven thousand teenagers wrestling with the churning emotions of adolescence, exam stress and peer pressure are to take part in an unprecedented trial of the effect of mindfulness meditation on mental health.

Psychologists and neuroscientists from Oxford University and University College London announced on Wednesday they plan to recruit children aged 11 to 16 from 76 secondary schools as part of a seven-year study. They said it would be the largest trial of its kind ever conducted and it would test some of the increasingly ambitious claims about the power of mindfulness meditation to tackle illnesses such as depression and anxiety …

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Why meditation should be taught in schools

wildmind meditation newsLea Waters, The Conversation: New research in the fields of psychology, education and neuroscience shows teaching meditation in schools is having positive effects on students’ well-being, social skills and academic skills.

A recent meta-review of the impact of meditation in schools combined the results from 15 studies and almost 1800 students from Australia, Canada, India, the UK, the US and Taiwan. The research showed meditation is beneficial in most cases and led to three broad outcomes for students: higher well-being, better social skills and greater academic skills.

Students who were taught meditation at school reported higher optimism, more positive emotions, stronger self-identity, greater self-acceptance and …

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Jul 17, 2015

What consciousness wants

Brain tree illustration, tree of knowledge

What does consciousness want? I don’t mean what do “you” want. I mean, what is consciousness fundamentally about? What is it trying to do? What is its nature?

Consciousness is undefinable. We can look at the brain with fancy machines and see activity going on. We can study neurons and understand the physical processes by which, for example, vision takes place. But how actual experience comes to arise on the basis of this is something that isn’t understood. This has been called the “hard problem” of explaining consciousness because scientists and philosophers don’t even know how to begin to think about this.

The philosopher and neuroscientist Alva Noë has … Read more »

Mindfulness is a capitalist grift: How faux enlightenment maintains our status quo

wildmind meditation newsKali Holloway, Salon: I stumbled across mindfulness, the meditation practice now favored by titans of tech, sensitive C-suiters, new media gurus and celebrities, without even really knowing it.

A couple of years ago, I was deeply mired in an insane schedule that involved almost everything (compulsive list-making at 4am, vacations mostly spent working, lots of being “on”) except for one desperately missed item (sleep; pretty much just sleep). A friend suggested I download Headspace, a meditation app he swore would calm the thoughts buzzing incessantly in my head, relax my anxious energy and help me be more present. I took his advice, noting …

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