Until not long ago, scientists studying the nervous system believed that the adult brain was incapable of growing new cells. That’s now known to be false. In fact new cells are being born in the brain all the time. If they’re needed (that is, if the part of the brain that they’re in is being used intensively) then those cells become wired in to the existing networks of nerves, and that part of the brain grows. On the other hand, if they’re not used, they’ll be reabsorbed.
Even without growing new cells, the brain is constantly developing and pruning connections, though. Every new memory you create, every thing you forget, every new piece of learning, … Read more »
Do you always live to – or beyond – your limits? Would you get less done if you took regular breaks?
Many people live in a ‘boom and bust’ way, otherwise known as the overactivity–underactivity cycle. To varying degrees, many of us swing between high energy and low energy.
We do less when we are feeling tired and unmotivated; then, when we feel more energetic, we hectically try to catch up on all the things that we’ve got behind with and end up overdoing it and getting stressed out. This tips us straight back into feeling … Read more »
Vidyamala’s online course, Mindfulness for Women, starts March 1. Click here for details.
Breathing properly is immediately helpful because the first thing most of us do when experiencing stress and pain – be it mental, emotional or physical – is inhibit our breathing. Try this short exercise:
Make a fist with one hand. Notice what’s happened to your breathing. You’ll probably notice you’re holding it. Now imagine breathing into the fist. What does it want to do? You’ll probably find it wants to release a little.
The fist in this exercise is a metaphor for any kind of discomfort or stress. When we are not aware, we automatically tense against the stresses of life with … Read more »
Although Buddhist meditation was originally practiced mostly by celibate monks and nuns, who were not only forbidden from having sex but even from having physical contact with the opposite sex, mindfulness practice can significantly enhance your love life. And by “love life” I don’t mean just sex, but your entire life with someone you’re emotionally and physically intimate with. But sex too!
First, being mindful helps us to be present for our partner. So much of the time when we’re with another person, we’re not really there. Nowadays it’s common to see couples sitting together in a cafe, but focused on their phones. A modern prayer for … Read more »
Vidyamala’s course, “Mindfulness for Women,” starts March 1, 2017
The Mindfulness for Women online course, starting March 1 on Wildmind, is based on the book I co-wrote with Journalist Claire Irvin. Claire hadn’t meditated before we worked on this project so she gamely kept a diary of her efforts which are accessible, often hilarious, and moving. Here’s her diary of her first attempt to meditate:
… Read more »
Claire’s Diary Week One: Body Scan
It’s 9.30 on a dark early-spring evening. My husband Stuart is away and I’ve finally got Amelie, six, to go to bed (she will take any opportunity to delay bedtime, and an absent parent is as good an excuse as any). On
One common concern about self-compassion is that it’ll make us lazy and self-indulgent — that if we become more self-compassionate we’ll lack motivation. Self-indulgence means avoiding difficulties, which may benefit us in the short term, but which is detrimental in the long term. Self-indulgence is when we cop out. So we might imagine that when faced with doing something difficult, we’ll let ourselves off the hook in order to be “kind” to ourselves. But that’s the opposite of what actually happens.
Self-compassion means giving yourself support, understanding, and encouragement when you face difficult experiences. It helps you to face your difficulties.
Self-compassion recognizes that your long-term happiness is served not by avoiding challenges, but in … Read more »
I am proud to come from New Zealand, which in 1893 became the first country in the world in which women gained the right to vote. More recently, New Zealand was also the first democracy to have all key Government roles fulfilled by women, e.g. Prime Minister, Chief Justice and Governor General. I also come from a long tradition of strong women and I feel I owe it to my courageous and heroic forebears to do all that I can to stand tall and true in my own life.
I want to let other women know about how mindfulness has transformed my life over the past thirty years, and how it can transform their lives … Read more »
You have two big decisions to make in life.
This is your life’s “why” — your purpose.
This is your life’s “how.” How are you going to live? What choices are you going to make that are in line with your purpose and that take you in the right direction? How are you going to navigate life’s dilemmas? How do you make choices? To what are you going to say “yes” and to what are you going to say “no”? Who are you going to travel life’s journey with?
Get the why and … Read more »
Did you find 2016 challenging? Meditating can help 2017 be less stressful!
Registration is now open for all of Wildmind’s online meditation events for 2017.
We’re calling this program our Year of Conscious Living, and we’re bringing you a larger range of events than ever before.
Our course schedule includes events for all levels of practice, whether you’re a beginner interested in learning basic techniques or a more experienced meditator interested in cultivating deep meditative states and insight. You’re free to pick and choose which events you participate in.
Since our courses are online, they’re incredibly convenient! No need to travel; you can learn to meditate in your own home, or wherever you happen … Read more »
At this time of year you may well be making a New Year’s resolution to meditate every day.
I used to make resolutions too! Usually these attempts were rather feeble, and sometimes I wouldn’t even be half-way through January before I’d realize I’d already missed a couple of days of meditation. In fact days might have gone by and I hadn’t even thought of meditating.
This kind of thing sets up a sense of failure, which undermines our self-confidence and makes us more likely to fail at other things as well.
The main problem I had was that these resolutions weren’t resolutions at all. That is, they weren’t things I was resolved on; they weren’t … Read more »