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 …
Sep 16, 2014
You know that feeling when you’re with another person, and there’s an awkwardness — a sense that there’s something missing? And you find yourself scrambling around thinking of something interesting to say that’ll bring your connection back to life?
Sometimes this does in fact kick-start a conversation in which we can both become absorbed, but sometimes our anxiety prevents that from happening.
I realized recently that I’ve had that a lot in my life.
Now when I’m on my own, I know what to do with unpleasant feelings of awkwardness. I’ll simply pay attention to them mindfully, until they pass. And often, even as I’m in the act of noticing my discomfort, I’ll …
Sep 15, 2014
Anant Naik, Minnesota Daily: Over the past several centuries, saints and mystics around the world have encouraged people to meditate to find inner peace. Even scientists have recently found evidence to suggest that everyone could benefit from more meditation. As a result, a practice once used as a mystical way to understand the forces of life is becoming a popular method to relax and to attain a peaceful state of mind.
Though there are many kinds of meditation, almost all of them involve concentrating on an object. The object might be a thought, image, internal energy or God. However, the act of concentration …
Sep 12, 2014
Mary-Lou Stephens, Huffington Post: This is a hard admission to make. After all I wrote a book about how meditation saved my job, changed my life and helped me find a husband. I’ve written columns and blogs about the countless benefits meditation brings. Meditation was a solid part of my life, like clockwork every morning. Even during the times when I was so busy I could only grant this life changing practice ten minutes at the most. So why did I stop?
Meditation is like a seedling. We plant it, nurture it and protect it from the things that want to destroy it …
Sep 11, 2014
Emma Seppala, emmaseppala.com:
Happiness – it’s an inalienable right, it’s even in the US constitution. You see it everywhere from sitcoms to couples walking by. But…do you ever have that gnawing feeling, or dark sense, that happiness is just… well…not for you?
Well you’re right. The data agrees with you. It’s not.
For One, it Makes you Contagious
It’s true, you literally infect others. Your well-being has an enormously influential impact on everyone around you up to 3 degrees of separation away from you! Research studies show that parents’ well-being improve their children’s, and people’s happiness uplifts their spouses. But did you …