Meditation and neuroscience: new wave of breakthroughs in research on meditative practices

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Koyama Tetsuya, Nippon.com: Zen, mindfulness, and meditation in general are believed to promote psychological and physical well-being. But why? An emerging generation of neuroscientists is fast unveiling the hidden workings of meditation.

Legs in tights, extending from leotards and terminating in pointe shoes, briskly cut through the air. Instructions are called out as the dancers, faces aglow, carry their arms in delicate arcs and place their feet in deliberate motions. Leading the ballet class at a dance studio in Tokyo is a 27-year-old woman whom we will call Murano Kozue. The students would …

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Just 10 minutes of meditation helps anxious people have better focus

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Science Daily: Just 10 minutes of daily mindful mediation can help prevent your mind from wandering and is particularly effective if you tend to have repetitive, anxious thoughts, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

The study, which assessed the impact of meditation with 82 participants who experience anxiety, found that developing an awareness of the present moment reduced incidents of repetitive, off-task thinking, a hallmark of anxiety.

“Our results indicate that mindfulness training may have protective effects on mind wandering for anxious individuals,” said Mengran Xu, a researcher and PhD candidate at Waterloo. “We also found that meditation …

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Mindfulness, controlled breathing reduce anxiety symptoms

April 7, 2017
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Jesse King, The Daily Universe: People can make changes in their breathing and physical awareness to combat negative thinking and chronic stress, according to a recent article published by BYU professor Patrick R. Steffen, and BYU clinical psychology doctorate students Tara Austin and Andrea DeBarros.

This study showed chronic stress, which is related to depression and anxiety, can be lessened through biofeedback and mindfulness.

Steffen, the director of the clinical psychology program at BYU, said people with anxiety experience worry and concern for the future, but often their worrying is focused on the fear of …

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The power of setting an intention

December 20, 2016
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Jeena Cho, Above the Law: As we come to the end of 2016, it’s a wonderful time to pause, reflect, and set an intention for 2017. An intention, unlike a goal, isn’t about achieving the next big thing, or moving up the ladder. It’s about how you’re being, in this moment.

My co-author, Karen Gifford, described setting an intention in our book, The Anxious Lawyer:

Setting an intention is a little like setting your compass: it is always there in the background guiding you in a certain direction, even though you …

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Three mindful ways to calm an anxious mind

November 28, 2016
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Elisha Goldstein, Mindful.org: Stress and anxiety are a part of life, especially during these times of uncertainty. But we don’t need to be enslaved by our anxiety, we can strengthen our mindful skills to ease our anxious minds.

Stress and anxiety are a part of life, especially during these times of uncertainty. However, we don’t need to be enslaved by our anxiety and instead can strengthen our mindful skills to ease our anxious minds, come into our lives and grow in confidence.

1. Release the critic. Not only is anxiety painful enough, but we …

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Buddhists bring meditation to the streets and subways of NYC

November 15, 2016
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Sam Littlefair, Lion’s Roar: A new and quickly growing organization called Buddhist Insights is helping New Yorkers meditate in all manner of surprising places — and to make friends with their surroundings.

New Yorkers may not think of the city’s gritty streets as a place to find inner peace, but a new group called Buddhist Insights is aiming to change that.

“There’s this idea that you have to escape New York to find peace and quiet,” explains Buddhist Insights co-founder Giovanna Maselli. To challenge that idea, she and her co-founder, Buddhist …

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UCLA director of mindfulness education discusses ways to unwind from election anxiety

November 10, 2016
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News-Medical: One of the most contentious and anxiety-producing elections in recent U.S. history has ended. If your candidate was on the losing side, you may be feeling a sense of profound disappointment, anger, even a sense of hopeless about the consequences of the election result. Even if your candidate won, you may feel a need to wind down from weeks or months of stress and anger. The technique of mindfulness—living in the present moment with openness, curiosity and willingness—is an excellent antidote to the stress of modern times.

Diana Winston, director of mindfulness …

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Mindfulness can help combat test anxiety

October 13, 2016
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Dr. Caryn Richfield, Montgomery News: With the school year well under way, many high school students are feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of tests looming on the horizon. Some teens are taking AP courses as early as ninth grade and many are simultaneously taking an intense load of rigorous classes, which can make test preparation quite daunting.

These academic demands are compounded by the additional stress of preparing for standardized tests, such as the SAT, SAT subject tests and the ACT. Our teens are constantly having to study and retrieve information under pressure, over and …

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Mindfulness meditation seems to soothe breast cancer survivors

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HealthDay News, MedlinePlus: Mindfulness meditation seems to help breast cancer patients better manage symptoms of fatigue, anxiety and fear of recurrence, a new study suggests.

Previous research has found that mindfulness meditation can reduce stress and anxiety in the general population as well as in breast cancer survivors. But, there hadn’t been many large, clinical trials to test the value of the practice among breast cancer patients, said study author Cecile Lengacher, director of the predoctoral fellowship program at the University of South Florida, in Tampa.

In her study, those who took part in the six-week …

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What can mindfulness teach the police force?

June 15, 2016
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Rachel Pugh, The Guardian: As two young constables dash into the room of silently seated police men and women, making breathless apologies, one of them asks: “Have you started yet? We’ve been out on an eviction but we didn’t want to miss the meditation.”

This is lunchtime in inner-city Salford’s fortress-style Pendleton police station, and the man with a pair of Tibetan chimes facing the group is neighbourhood police officer, PC Ewen Sim, poised to deliver a session of mindfulness.

The bearded 39-year-old is one of 13 Greater Manchester police (GMP) officers …

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