Creating a mindful society

September 11, 2011

Mindfulness is a simple yet profound practice that changes lives. If you’re committed to mindful living, or just want to learn more about the transformative power of mindfulness, join Jon Kabat-Zinn, Richard J. Davidson, and U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan for this landmark gathering of the mindfulness community, September 30–October 1, 2011.

With a rich program of dialogue, practice, and breakout sessions, participants will explore all the proven, practical ways that mindfulness can benefit our lives and transform our society, from health, work, and family to education, leadership, and policy. This groundbreaking conference will feature keynote presentations by outstanding leaders in the mindfulness field.

Whether your interest is applying mindfulness at home, in your work, … Read more »

Rethinking tinnitus: When the ringing won’t stop, clear your mind

July 19, 2011

Allison Aubrey: Silence is a beautiful thing. But Robert DeMong has accepted that he’ll likely never experience it again.

He’s got a condition called tinnitus, which means a ringing sound travels with him everywhere he goes, including to bed at night.

It came on suddenly about five years ago. And he says it threw him into depression. “It was like an ugly monster inside my head,” recalls DeMong. “I couldn’t sleep at night.”

Now, DeMong says, he’s left the anxiety and suffering behind.

He participated in a research Read the rest of this article…

Canadian federal department embraces mindfulness to reduce workers’ ‘brain chatter’

March 26, 2011

Stressed-out employees at Justice Canada in Ottawa will soon be able to seek relief in a taxpayer-funded program that uses the Buddhist concept of mindfulness to help them cope with personal and workplace pressures.

The department invited bids last week for two nine-week “mindfulness-based stress reduction” sessions designed to help up to 40 public servants “learn to relate more consciously and compassionately to the challenges of work and personal life.”

According to Justice Canada’s request for proposals, the program will help employees “deal more effectively with difficult thought and emotions that can keep you feeling stuck in everyday life.

“The practice of mindfulness can support you to work with and understand the nature of your … Read more »

Meditation alters your grey matter, studies show

February 21, 2011

Move over cryptic crosswords and Sudoku, and make way for the ultimate mental workout. It’s called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, or MBSR for short. Recent neuroscience research shows that novices using the method – developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the 1970s – can get results in just eight weeks.

Brain-changing results, that is.

A 2010 study found that non-meditators who had eight weeks of MBSR training were more likely than a control group to access the brain region that provides a bodily sense of the “here and now” as opposed to the region associated with worry.

In other research published in January, brain scans of MBSR participants with no previous meditation experience … Read more »

Mindfulness meditation improves well-being, researchers report

January 30, 2011

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 … Read more »

Mindfulness meditation training changes brain structure in 8 weeks

January 21, 2011

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 … Read more »

Stars’ meditation technique gains mental health experts’ approval

January 4, 2011

National Health Service departments are now offering the Buddhism-inspired method of ‘mindfulness meditation’ which is favoured by celebrities such as Goldie Hawn.

A form of meditation practised by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars is becoming a major growth area within British psychology, as evidence grows of its effectiveness in dealing with anxiety and depression.

“Mindfulness meditation” was pioneered in the United States during the 1970s as a tool for alleviating stress and is practised, among others, by Meg Ryan and Goldie Hawn, who acts as an advocate for the technique. Drawing on ancient Buddhist principles to combat mental suffering, the technique encourages practitioners to slow down, “inhabit the moment” and become more accepting of their … Read more »

Mindfulness therapy no help in fibromyalgia trial

December 30, 2010

A program aimed at easing stress with meditation and yoga may not be much help for people with the chronic-pain condition fibromyalgia, a recent study suggests.

The study, published in the journal Pain, looked at the effects of so-called mindfulness-based stress reduction — a technique developed by researchers at the University of Massachusetts in 1979 that combines mindfulness meditation and gentle yoga postures.

The technique is now available throughout the world — in the form of an eight-week program of classes — to help people manage general stress or health problems, including chronic pain.

For the new study, researchers led by Dr. Stefan Schmidt, of the University Medical Center in Freiburg, Germany, tested the program’s … Read more »

Being mindful of pain, and the paradox of mindfulness

December 23, 2010

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 about developing greater awareness? And … Read more »

Can mindfulness help manage pain and mental illness?

November 18, 2010

In the German night sky, there were hundreds of parachutes falling in a routine army training exercise.

It was this jump that would cause former United States Army Ranger Monty Reed more than two decades of pain. Reed fell from about 100 feet after another parachute interfered with his descent. He broke his ankle and back and to this day has trouble walking and feels discomfort when he breathes.

“I felt like the physical pain that I deal with every day was an enemy I had to fight,” says Reed, 45, of Seattle, Washington.
But eventually, says Reed, a therapy technique that incorporates mindfulness helped him deal with this pain and the flashbacks he got … Read more »