We can teach our brains to feel more compassion

October 23, 2014

wildmind meditation newsMindful.org: Scientific evidence shows that we can train the brain to feel more compassion—for others and for ourselves.

Another science-based reason to try loving-kindness meditation! In a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (directed by Dr. Richard J. Davidson, who was featured in Mindful’s August 2014 issue), participants were taught to generate compassion for different categories of people, including both those they love and “difficult” people in their lives.

After only two weeks of online training, participants who practiced compassion meditation every day behaved more altruistically towards strangers compared to another group taught to simply regulate or control …

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Meditation changes your brain

October 17, 2014

wildmind meditation newsMaria Isabel Garcia, Rappler: ‘Meditation’ used to be the exclusive province of robed and hooded men enacting an ancient tradition. Now, science has joined them.

This could be one of the most powerful ways to change your brain and yet, all you have to do is be still. It will help you focus, be keenly observant but not obsessive, and essentially, be a kinder human being.

Meditation. We all have the basic equipment – the 3-pound matter inside our skulls – yet, we generally think that it is only for the religious or for our odd relatives and friends who dress funny.

Two …

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The art of self-forgiveness

October 10, 2014

self-forgivenessEveryone messes up. Me, you, the neighbors, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, King David, the Buddha, everybody.

It’s important to acknowledge mistakes, feel appropriate remorse, and learn from them so they don’t happen again. But most people keep beating themselves up way past the point of usefulness: they’re unfairly self-critical.

Inside the mind are many sub-personalities. For example, one part of me might set the alarm clock for 6 am to get up and exercise . . . and then when it goes off, another part of me could grumble: “Who set the darn clock?” More broadly, there is a kind of inner critic and inner protector inside each of us. For most people, that inner … Read more »

Is mindfulness dangerous?

September 10, 2014

wildmind meditation newsDerek Beries, Big Think: In his 1961 book, Psychotherapy East & West, the philosopher Alan Watts wrote,

If there is to be a battle, there must be a field of battle; when the contestants really notice this they will have a war dance instead of a war.

As is popular in South Asian poetry, such imagery aptly describes a social as much as a psychological state. For example, the slim volume of karma yoga lessons, the Bhagavad Gita, treats the metaphorical field of battle as both a reflection of Indian society and an introspective mirror held up to one’s brain.

Humanity’s battle against its …

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Emotion in the brain

July 8, 2014

Young boy playing in the sprinklers outdoorsThe major brain regions that support emotional processing include the limbic system – particularly the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus – and the prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), nucleus accumbens, and insula. Technical note: there are two hippocampi, one in each hemisphere of the brain; the same for the two amygdalae, ACCs, and insulae. Following common practice, we’ll mainly use the singular form.

By the way, as an interesting evolutionary detail, the limbic system seems to have evolved from the olfactory (scent) neural circuitry in the brain developed by our ancient mammal ancestors, living around 180 million years ago. They seem to have used their advanced sense of smell to hunt at night, while those … Read more »

25 minutes of mindfulness meditation can be best stress buster – study

wildmind meditation newsAlvin Barnes, Wall Street OTC: If there’s one mental practice that’s stood the test of time and rigorous laboratory tests, it’s meditation. Mindfulness meditation in particular has done a good job of proving itself effective in reducing stress and depression, improving attention and cognitive performance, and even increasing grey matter density in the brain.

According to a new study in Psychoneuroendocrinology, just a little mindfulness training goes a long way, at least when it comes to quieting the mind in stressful situations. And for most people beginning a meditation practice, that’s not a bad place to start.

Mindfulness has been described by Jon …

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Integration of mind and brain

June 18, 2014

??????????????????Linking of mind and brain has three important implications.

First, as your mind changes, your brain changes. Your brain changes both temporarily, millisecond by millisecond, AND it changes in lasting ways because – in the famous saying of the Canadian psychologist, Donald Hebb – “neurons that fire together, wire together.”

The fleeting flow of experience leaves behind lasting marks on your brain, much like a spring shower leaves little tracks on a hillside.

For example, the fine motor areas of pianists are measurably thicker than those of non-pianists. Similarly, the portions of the hippocampus that are responsible for spatial memory are discernibly thicker in experienced London taxi drivers compared to when they started their training. … Read more »

Aerobics for the brain? Fitness experts praise mindfulness meditation

wildmind meditation newsDorene Internicola, Reuters: Fitness experts call it bicep curls for the brain and aerobics for the mind. Whatever the name, athletes and gym addicts are discovering how mindfulness meditation can enliven a workout routine and invigorate a sports performance.

They say that mindfulness meditation, which focuses on the present moment to clear the mind, can help an exerciser overcome boredom and an athlete zero in on the task at hand.

“Mindfulness meditation is a hot topic actively studied in sports medicine,” said Gregory Chertok, a sports psychology consultant with the American College of Sports Medicine.

The art of living in the present moment …

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Japanese study shows positive effects of meditation, helps with depression and anxiety

April 30, 2014

wildmind meditation newsJohn Hofilena, Japan Daily Press: Hiroaki Kumano, professor at Japan’s Waseda University, has recently publicized his study on how meditation affects blood flow to the brain and, over the long-term, improve brain function. The assumption is that changes in the brain can lead to changes in the body as well. It has been somewhat proven that positive changes in the brain can cause improvement with illnesses, including the use of psychotherapeutic drugs to help improve a patient’s mood or reduce unhealthy behavior.

Professor Kumano is exploring the effects of a type of meditation called “mindfulness” – a cognitive therapy technique used to treat …

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Meditation improves productivity

April 18, 2014

wildmind meditation newsBeth Taylor, PayScale.com: When we think of meditation, we may think of relaxation, breathing, and emptying the mind of stressful thoughts. It may be surprising to learn that the act of quiet meditation increases mental acuity and makes us more productive at work. Instead of meditation emptying our minds, it actually helps fill them with improved concentration and creativity.

Psychology Today reports on a plethora of benefits from including meditation in your routine. Decreasing stress is one, and improving physical health is another. Some of the benefits, however, are directly related to work productivity.

Improved Attention
A study published in 2007 found that after …

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