Mindfulness key to dealing with holiday stress

December 21, 2015

wildmind meditation newsTom Ayers, Chronicle Herald: The holiday season can be stressful, what with office parties, gatherings of friends and family, and nearly constant reminders to shop for presents.

Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, have proven health benefits and can help with the stress, said Simon Sherry, a practising psychologist and researcher at Dalhousie University.

But while people may believe the Christmas holidays are the most stressful time of year, studies show they are actually beneficial to people’s mental health, he said.

“There is actually a substantive body of research on the Christmas season,” he said. “It shows that Christmas has a generally positive and generally …

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Mindfulness pain relief distinct from placebo effect

December 18, 2015

wildmind meditation newsJustin Karter, Mad in America: A new study demonstrates that the practice of mindfulness may ease pain in a way that is mechanistically distinct from the placebo effect. Research, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that mindfulness meditation not only outperformed placebo and fake meditation for pain relief but that it also activated different brain regions than the placebo treatments.

There is an accumulating body of evidence that mindfulness meditation, defined in this study as “a cognitive practice based on developing nonjudgmental awareness of arising sensory events,” can reduce the subjective experience of pain in various settings. However, scientists have yet to determine …

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Kindness and compassion to all? Show some goodwill to yourself first

December 17, 2015

wildmind meditation newsVidyamala Burch, Kindness Blog: There is no doubt that ‘Giving Tuesday’ is a great way to bring us back to the true sense of charity and empathy towards others, but this is a one off seasonal donation. How is it possible to maintain kindness and compassion to others in our daily lives throughout the whole year, when we have so many demands from family, friends and live in a world where we witness others, and the environment, lurch from crisis to despair and back again?

To complicate matters, compassion and kindness can sometimes be viewed as ‘soft’, possibly even a bit weak? But nothing …

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Kindness changes everything

December 16, 2015

wildmind meditation newsNoah Levine, Lion’s Roar: The Buddha first taught loving-kindness to a group of monks who had been practicing meditation in a forest. The monks were fearful that the spirits of the forest did not want them there and that the spirits were going to attack them. Although the monks were probably just afraid of the dark, their fear became anger toward the forest, and their anger became hatred. And, of course, when one is feeling angry, unsafe, and resentful it becomes more and more difficult to meditate. So the group of monks went to the Buddha, asking for advice on how to deal with …

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Building a community of self-compassion

December 15, 2015

wildmind meditation newsBetsy Hanger, Mindful Schools: At the Brooklyn public high school where I worked as an English and mindfulness teacher, the principal came in one afternoon during a guided practice on self-compassion. He quietly took a seat among my ninth grade students and closed his eyes. Though he’d encouraged me to start the school’s mindfulness program, he hadn’t witnessed our daily practice.

We were silently repeating short statements meant to cultivate self-compassion. “May I be safe and protected from inner and outer harm. May I be healthy. May I be peaceful and at ease. May I experience joy in my life.” I offered students the …

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Meditation may boost teen memory

December 14, 2015

wildmind meditation newsAlison Pearce Stevens, Society for Science & the Public: If you tend to forget your homework or are easily distracted, take heed. A new study shows that teens can improve their memory with a practice known as mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness involves paying attention to what is happening in the current moment. It requires pulling the mind back to the present when thoughts wander. No worrying about the future. Or over something that happened in the past. Just focus on the here and now. And do so without judging events as good or bad.

This mindfulness can be applied to the practice of meditation. In meditation …

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The heart of meditation: letting go, letting be, receiving

December 8, 2015

wildmind meditation newsBruce Davis, Huffington Post: Many people want to learn meditation or deepen their practice but are uncertain where to turn. There are so many different styles, teachers, techniques. What to do? It is the doing which can be the problem in the first place. Meditation is undoing and coming back to the simplicity of being, the simplicity of enjoying this moment. The more complex our practice, the more we are on the periphery of the heart of meditation. Every time we practice meditation we are making a mini retreat from the world around us to realize another world within. We don’t want to fill …

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Seeing yourself with loving eyes

December 4, 2015

father holding newborn

Imagine that you’ve been transported back in time, and you have the opportunity to hold yourself moments after your own birth. How would it be to cradle that tiny body in your hands, to see this small being, newly emerged into the world, so full of potential?

What would you want for this tiny version of yourself? I’d imagine you’d want him or her to grow up healthy and happy, to have the resilience to deal with life’s difficulties, and to be a kind and ethical person.

What would you feel? Love? Protectiveness? Joy? Care? Awe?

Would you have any anger or resentment against this newborn you? I presume not. Any blame? I doubt it.… Read more »

Mindfulness: helping youth learn to feel emotions and choose their behavior

December 1, 2015

wildmind meditation newsLynne Anderson, Youth Today: Neuroscience has revealed in recent years that trauma resulting from adverse childhood events can actually change the brain — for the worse — of a developing child. And their thought processes and behaviors can become impaired as a result. They may be less able to control their emotions than youth who have not been traumatized, and they may experience re-injury and disturbing flashbacks.

With about 17 million young people with a mental health disorder of some kind, according to the Child Mind Institute — and with this greater awareness about the lifelong effects of trauma — anxiety grows among youth workers who wonder how best …

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What is insight practice?

December 1, 2015

reality

What is insight practice? Before answering that question, let’s back up a little and ask, “What is the Buddha’s teaching, or Dharma, essentially about?”

Dharma is about attaining freedom from suffering. All Buddhist practice has this aim.

There are of course many different kinds of Dharma practice. To use a classical model, there is 1) ethical practice, 2) meditative practice, and 3) wisdom practice. These all work in different ways to reduce our suffering.

Ethical practice makes us look at what we do and say, with an eye to whether, in the long term, we are causing ourselves and others suffering. So we train ourselves not to cause physical harm, not to deprive others of … Read more »