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Wildmind Meditation News

Jan 30, 2011

Mindfulness meditation improves well-being, researchers report

Sit down. Close your eyes. Focus on your breath. Observe your thoughts objectively as if you were a scientist.

There, you’ve achieved it: mindfulness, a heightened awareness and acceptance of the present moment without judgment.

As simple as it seems, mindfulness, with its origins in the 2,500-year-old Buddhist practices of meditation and yoga, has become the latest buzzword in wellness, as study after study confirms its power to relieve anxiety and improve mood when combined with Western therapies.

Last month University of Toronto researchers reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, which mixes mindfulness meditation with cognitive behavioral therapy, is as effective as antidepressants for preventing relapses in depression.

Dr. Zindel Segal, head of the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Clinic at …

Wildmind Meditation News

Jan 21, 2011

Mindfulness meditation training changes brain structure in 8 weeks

Participating in an 8-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. In a study that will appear in the January 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers report the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain’s grey matter.

“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says Sara Lazar, PhD, of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, the study’s senior author. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain …

Bodhipaksa

Dec 23, 2010

Being mindful of pain, and the paradox of mindfulness

pain and meditationMeditation offers us a powerful paradox: that becoming more mindful of our pain reduces the amount of pain we experience.

The use of meditation techniques to treat chronic pain is becoming increasingly common, largely as a result of the pioneering work in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction started by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s scientifically validated work has touched the lives of tens of thousands of people and helped to establish meditation as a highly respected tool in the treatment of chronic pain, stress, and depression.

Some people initially find the idea of using meditation to deal with pain incongruous. After all, isn’t meditation …

Bodhipaksa

Nov 02, 2010

“Life Happens,” by Cheryl Rezek

life happensLife Happens is the work of Cheryl Rezek, a UK-based clinical psychologist who teaches mindfulness as a way of helping her clients deal with often difficult life situations. It combines pithy insights in written form with excellent audio instructions that guide the listener through a variety of meditative exercises and even physical stretches. It’s aimed in particular at those who have problems with mental distress or physical pain, such as stress, depression, chronic pain, cancer, and addiction.

The recordings most clearly show Rezek’s strengths as a teacher. Her voice is very pleasant to listen to, and conveyed to me a sense of warmth and gentleness, combined …

Wildmind Meditation News

Jun 02, 2010

Meditation reduces the emotional impact of pain, making it easier to bear

People who meditate regularly find it easier to cope with pain because their brains anticipate it less, a study has found.

The findings could help develop new treatments from those who suffer from conditions that cause chronic pain.

Scientists from Manchester University compared non-meditators with a group who had meditated. Although they had varying levels of experience they had all tried mindfulness meditation, which seeks to anchor the person in the present.

Brain scans revealed that the most advanced meditators were the least likely to anticipate pain induced by a laser device, which made the experience more bearable.

Lead researcher Dr Christopher Brown, said: ‘Meditation is becoming increasingly popular as a way to treat …

Vidyamala

Jun 01, 2010

“Mindfulness for Pain Relief: Guided Practices for Reclaiming Your Body and Your Life,” by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness for Pain Relief: Guided Practices for Reclaiming Your Body and Your LifeVidyamala, a long-term pain sufferer, rejoices in a new offering from Jon Kabat-Zinn, but experiences regret it wasn’t available years ago.

I was delighted to to be asked to review this new offering from the founder of mindfulness in healthcare: Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn. It is a two-CD audio book combining extensive background information with guided meditations.

Disc One (session one)

The first CD (or session as the CD is labeled) is entirely taken up with short lectures on various aspects of applying mindfulness to chronic pain of any sort. I listened avidly and welcomed everything he had to say and feel. Jon comes across with …

Bodhipaksa

Jan 24, 2007

“Full Catastrophe Living,” by John Kabat-Zinn

book coverAvailable from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, is perhaps the best-known proponent of using meditation to help patients deal with illness. (The somewhat confusing title is from a line in Zorba the Greek in which the title character refers to the ups and downs of family life as “the full catastrophe.”)

But this book is also a terrific introduction for anyone who has considered meditating but was afraid it would be too difficult or would include religious practices they found foreign. Kabat-Zinn focuses on “mindfulness,” a concept that involves living in the moment, paying