Sep 24, 2014
A mountaineering friend of mine used to remark that when he’d meet a rock or other obstruction while coming down a mountain, and was faced with choices — go left, or right? — each choice would lead to other, different, choices. In this way, two different decisions early on — although seemingly insignificant — could result in profoundly different outcomes.
Views we hold can be like that as well. A view like “personalities are fixed” leads to very different results compared to a view like “personalities are fluid.”
A new study illustrates how easily views about our personalities can be changed, and how powerful the effect of …
Sep 23, 2014
AJMC: If you have taken a yoga class, there was something familiar when Steven D. Hickman, PsyD, associate clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego, invited a roomful of conference attendees to put down the notes, close their eyes, set an intention, and breathe, gaining an “awareness of the breath.”
Dr Hickman’s opening to the session, “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Patients with Chronic or Life-Threatening Illness,” highlighted the intuitive element of what he teaches: His techniques are based on 2000-year-old Eastern philosophy and can be done anywhere; it’s the hectic nature of Western culture that relegates them to classes or …
Sep 23, 2014
Perhaps you are a programmer, or you work in the software industry. If you are reading this blog, it’s pretty sure that you have some interest in meditation or buddhism. If these statements are true for you, then it’s also quite likely that you’ve heard of Christian Grobmeier, his blog, and his 10 Rules of Zen Programming. His book The Zen Programmer, which has grown out of his programming, his blog and his practice, is a personal story of burnout and recovery. It describes the kind of mistakes we can make in our programming careers, their consequences, and how we can find a new way of doing …
Sep 22, 2014
Kristine Crane, Huffington Post: Shrimati Bhanu Narasimhan, a petite Indian woman wrapped in a bright fuchsia sari, has a soft voice but a big presence. She holds the rapt attention of some 100 people who have come to learn how to meditate at the Art of Living Center in the District of Columbia. The type of meditation she teaches is called Sahaj, Sanskrit for effortless. It’s a mantra-based meditation she advises doing twice a day for 20 minutes — before eating. “Mental hygiene,” Narasimhan calls it. Sahaj is just one type of meditation. Others are based on compassion, mindfulness, yoga and transcendentalism, among others. While their …
Sep 19, 2014
Can you stay open to the pain of others?
Humans are an empathic, compassionate, and loving species, so it is natural to feel sad, worried, or fiery about the troubles and pain of other people. (And about those of cats and dogs and other animals, but I’ll focus on human beings here.)
Long ago, the Buddha spoke of the “first dart” of unavoidable physical pain. Given our hardwired nature as social beings, when those we care about are threatened or suffer, there is another kind of first dart: unavoidable emotional pain.
For example, if you heard about people who go to bed hungry – as a billion of us …
Sep 19, 2014
British Psychological Society: Servicemen and women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could benefit from trying breathing-based meditation, a new study suggests.
Research by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, found that a practice known as Sudarshan Kriya Yoga can help sufferers better manage the condition.
This, it stated, is because this form of breathing directly affects the autonomic nervous system, which means it can have an effect on symptoms of PTSD such as hyperarousal – when a person constantly feels on guard and jumpy.
Richard Davidson, one of the authors of the study, is keen for additional research to …
Sep 18, 2014
Pauline Anderson, Medscape: Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can be a safe and effective means of lessening the effect of migraine headache and can be carried out while patients continue to take migraine medication, results of a pilot study suggest.
“Although the small sample size of this pilot trial did not provide power to detect statistically significant changes in migraine frequency or severity, secondary outcomes demonstrated this intervention had a beneficial effect on headache duration, disability, self-efficacy, and mindfulness,” the authors, led by Rebecca Erwin Wells, MD, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, conclude.
“Future studies with larger sample sizes are warranted …
Sep 17, 2014
UNC, Chapel Hill: Based on New Findings, Researchers to Develop Online Training and Coaching to Help Head Start Teachers Improve their Well-being and Classroom Interactions
With significant implications for early childhood education, new research reveals that a mindful disposition is associated with alleviating lasting physical and emotional effects of childhood adversity. A team of scientists from Temple University, UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG), Child Trends, and the Rockefeller University conducted the groundbreaking study—the first to examine relationships between childhood adversity, mindfulness, and adult health.
Robert Whitaker, professor of public health and pediatrics at Temple University, said the findings are especially …
Sep 17, 2014
In the mid-1970s I worked as a tenants’ rights activist with poor families in Worcester, Massachusetts. Through organizing tenants’ unions we would try to pressure landlords into assuring fair rents and decent living conditions.
One of these unions was comprised of families renting from one of the most notoriously callous slumlords in the city. The union’s leader, Denise, was a forceful and articulate woman who worked hard to galvanize the group into action to fight a steep rent increase that no one could afford.
Over the many months it took to build the union, I had become friends with Denise and her family. I joined …
Sep 16, 2014
Rachel Gillett, Fast Company: Like most people with a brain and a pulse, my life can feel pretty stressful.
We may be lying to ourselves about how busy we really are, but the stress we feel from our always-on lives is real.
And while “mindfulness” has become more of a cliché than a real call to action in the business world, the core message to quiet your mind and focus on the present sounds like the perfect solution for a more productive workday.
The concept of occupying my mind with only one thing was especially appealing to me. I’ve wanted to try and …