Brigitte Najjar, Ripple Kindness: If there was a way to potentially help kids pay better attention, exercise more generosity and kindness with their peers, perform better in school, and be more aware of themselves and others, would you try it?
There is increasing recognition of how social, emotional and cognitive functioning are intermingled; that kids may have difficulty in school when emotional challenges arise which in turn impacts learning.
Can you imagine how it could shift the climate of our schools, our community, our world, if cultivating these qualities was at the forefront of education?
The question, of course, is how?
These days kids’ …
Elizabeth A. Harris, The New York Times: On the first day of the new school year, the schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña, stood in an elementary school classroom in Queens beaming at a hushed room full of fourth-grade children sitting cross-legged on the floor.
“Please let your eyes close,” said a small boy named Davinder, from his spot on the linoleum.
Davinder gently struck a shallow bronze bowl.
“Take three mindful breaths,” he said, and the room fell silent.
“Do you do personal visits?” Ms. Fariña asked after the exercise was over. “Like to offices?”
In schools in New York City and in pockets …
Jon Kabat-Zinn, The Guardian: Mindfulness is rapidly becoming a global phenomenon, supported by increasingly rigorous scientific research, and driven in part by a longing for new practices that might help us to better apprehend and solve the challenges that threaten our health.
This week a landmark British report will lay out recommendations for the provision of mindfulness across many public policy areas. Mindful Nation UK, based on evidence presented to an all-party group of the UK parliament, carries enormous promise for health policy in Britain and the wider world.
The World Health Organisation has warned that mental ill-health will be the biggest burden of …
Chloé Morrison, Nooga.com: Meditation is not about clearing the mind fully; it’s not about not thinking.
It’s about focusing the mind; it’s about training the mind to stop its chaotic cycle of obsessive, counterproductive thoughts.
It’s about focusing on the present moment, the value of which can only truly be felt through practice. (And once you start really noticing the present moment, you recognize how much we are in a zombielike, autopilot mode for too much of our lives.)
But it’s inevitable that thoughts scamper into our minds during meditation, and that point is often confusing to anyone who hasn’t practiced.
As opposed to …
Ann Lukits, Wall Street Journal: Washing the dishes may be a convenient detox for overwrought minds, a study in the journal Mindfulness suggests. The study found that washing dishes mindfully—focusing on the smell of the soap, and the shape and feel of the dishes, for example—significantly reduced nervousness and increased mental stimulation in dishwashers compared with a control group.
Mindful dishwashing also heightened the sense of time pleasurably slowing down. Studies have associated altered time perception with greater psychological well-being, the researchers said.
Mindfulness refers both to a peaceful cognitive state and a popular form of therapeutic meditation that calms the mind …
Adam Hoffman, Greater Good Science Center: From the pressures of tight deadlines to anxiety about job security, the stresses of the workplace take their toll far beyond the office, infiltrating our relationships, undermining our thoughts— and often affecting our ability to sleep. In fact, a recent survey found that 85 percent of U.S. workers lose sleep due to work-related stress. And if we’re not sleeping well, it’s easier to get derailed at work and elsewhere.
However, new findings from a research team in the Netherlands suggest that even a small amount of mindfulness meditation can help calm our hyperactive minds and improve our sleep. …
Timi Gustafson, Huffington Post: According to the 17th Century French philosopher Blaise Pascal, “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” Such a statement may sound a bit overwrought for most moderns, however, it is a well-known fact that ubiquitous exposure to noise is one of the great stress factors of our time. Unfortunately, even for those who seek it, silence is hard to come by.
To be sure, not everybody suffers from lack of quiet. Most of us are now used to being constantly connected with the outside world, with our workplace, with family and friends …
Allegra Abramo and Lisa Riordan Seville, NBC News: The men filed into the chapel, pulled chairs into circles, and sat. Then this corner of New Jersey’s Bayside State Prison got quiet.
A short meditation opens each weekly session of Heart-to-Heart, a mindfulness and nonviolence program run at three east coast prisons. Silence, said founder Stephen Michael Tumolo, helps bring “present moment awareness.”
That’s where he believes transformation starts.
“One thing we have choice in is where our mind is,” said Tumolo. “Present moment awareness can radically alter one’s experience in the moment. And then it can radically reshape the next steps we take.”
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is when we observe our experience rather than merely participate in our experience. When we’re unmindful, we’re certainly experiencing, but we’re “merely participating” in that experience, swept along in the flow of our thoughts and fantasies, caught up in thinking without being aware of what we’re doing and what effect it’s having on us, and not realizing that we have the choice to do anything else.
When we’re mindful, we observe our experience. We know that we’re thinking. We’re aware of what effect our thinking is having (for example that it’s making us or others unhappy). We’re aware we have choices about what we do and what we think.
And that’s … Read more »
Ann Lukits, Wall Street Journal: Self-critical people were significantly kinder and more compassionate toward themselves after practicing lovingkindness meditation compared with a control group, according to a pilot study in Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy. The technique, rooted in Buddhism, may help to reduce symptoms of depression, the researchers suggest.
Lovingkindness is a form of meditation designed to cultivate feelings of warmth and kindness to all people, including oneself, the researchers said. Practicing the technique may activate a soothing-caring regulation system that is probably deficient in chronic self-critics, they suggest.
Self-critical perfectionism is implicated in a number of psychological conditions, such as eating disorders, and can …