“The Kindness Cascade”

July 6, 2016

woman doing yoga

Meditation and mindfulness are frequently in the news, mainly because of the dramatic increase in research projects showing the many benefits these practices bring. In the graph below you’ll see that from around a dozen scientific journal articles on mindfulness being published in the entire decade of the 1980s, there are now several hundred papers being published each year, with the numbers increasing annually.

mindfulness journal publications

Although most of the focus in this research has been on mindfulness, there’s now an increasing emphasis on exploring the benefits lovingkindness (metta) meditation. Lovingkindness is really just the very familiar quality of “kindness.” Kindness is a recognition of ourselves and others as feeling beings — we all want to be … Read more »

What can mindfulness teach the police force?

June 15, 2016
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Mindfulness can help you, too! Guided Meditations for Stress Reduction (MP3) by Bodhipaksa
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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Practicing mindfulness can help relieve anxiety among children, youth and adults

June 14, 2016
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Available for download from our store: Relax: 6 Techniques to Lower Your Stress, by Daniel Goleman
Karen Pace, Michigan State University Extension: Do you experience feelings of anxiety? If so, how does it tend to express itself in your mind and body? Does your thinking become rapid and spinning—or do you have difficulty concentrating? Do you notice muscle tension in your neck, shoulders or another part of your body? Do you feel fatigued, restless or “keyed up”? Do you have difficulty breathing or experience shortness of breath? Do you feel irritable—or do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? These are all …

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Meditation was the most unexpected tool in my addiction recovery

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Check out Recovery One Breath at a Time by Kevin Griffin (2 CDs) here!
Britni de la Cretaz, SheKnows: When I arrived at rehab for my alcohol and cocaine addiction, one of the first things I was handed was a schedule with the day’s activities on it. It included groups and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings I would need to attend, as well as meal times — all the usual things you’d expect to find on a daily rehab schedule.

But I was a little taken aback to see that the first thing on the agenda every morning — from 8 to 8:10 — was meditation. The idea of having to meditate for …

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Power of positive thinking skews mindfulness studies

April 28, 2016
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Check this out: The Enlightened Brain: The Neuroscience of Awakening, by Rick Hanson (7 CDs)
Anna Nowogrodzki, Scientific American: There’s a little too much wishful thinking about mindfulness, and it is skewing how researchers report their studies of the technique.

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, analyzed 124 published trials of mindfulness as a mental-health treatment, and found that scientists reported positive findings 60% more often than is statistically likely. The team also examined another 21 trials that were registered with databases such as ClinicalTrials.gov; of these, 62% were unpublished 30 months after they finished. The findings—reported in PLoS ONE on April 8— hint that negative results are going …

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How meditating in a tiny Iowa town helped me recover from war

April 8, 2016
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Find Guided Meditations for Stress Reduction (MP3) here
Supriya Venkatesan, Washington Post: At 19, I enlisted in the U.S. Army and was deployed to Iraq. I spent 15 months there — eight at the U.S. Embassy, where I supported the communications for top generals. I understand that decisions at that level are complex and layered, but for me, as an observer, some of those actions left my conscience uneasy.

During my deployment, a few soldiers and I were awarded a short resort stay in Kuwait. There, I had a brief but powerful experience in a meditation healing session. I wanted more. So when I returned to the …

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Brain changes seen in veterans with PTSD after mindfulness training

April 4, 2016
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Like an endlessly repeating video loop, horrible memories and thoughts can keep playing over and over in the minds of people with post-traumatic stress disorder. They intrude at the quietest moments, and don’t seem to have an off switch.

But a new study in veterans with PTSD shows the promise of mindfulness training for enhancing the ability to manage those thoughts if they come up, and not get “stuck”. Even more surprising, it actually shows the veterans’ brains changed — in ways that may help them find their own off switch for that endless loop.

The findings, published in Depression and Anxiety … Read more »

Incorporating meditation training into an outpatient psychiatry practice

February 24, 2016
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Check out Break Through Difficult Emotions, by Shinzen Young (2CDs)
Greg Sazima, Psychiatric Times: You can’t open a newspaper or browse a health website these days without seeing the latest glowing testimonial to the benefits of meditation training. Yet only a small subset of psychiatrists actually practice meditation, and fewer still incorporate awareness training into their tool kit in treating their patients. It’s not as if there has been an absence of attention to meditation in the mental health community. The works of Drs Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mark Epstein, Marsha Linehan, and others as well as more recent research have reinforced meditation’s ameliorative effect on …

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Meditation matters for special education students

January 8, 2016
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2016: A Year of Waking Up
Jeremy Loudenback, Chronicle of Social Change: While meditation has expanded in recent years from a zen-seeker’s path to higher consciousness to a best practice for hard-charging CEOs, it’s now gaining a foothold at a school in Southern California serving students with serious emotional and behavioral issues.

Administrators at the Five Acres School in Altadena, Calif., are testing whether meditation and mindfulness can help students succeed in the classroom. A new mindfulness program implemented there in two semesters over the past year has helped pupils stay in the classroom and minimize emotional outbursts that can derail the learning process, according …

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Want to reduce anxiety, and increase cognitive ability and memory? Try meditation

January 5, 2016
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2016: A Year of Waking Up
Nicole Tsong, Seattle Times: Meditation can help your brain become more mindful and conscious, creating stability, clarity and emotional balance.

Like a workout, meditation has its good days and its tough ones. Some days when I meditate, I spend much of the time making lists, hoping desperately I’ll remember them by the end of my 15 to 20 minutes. Sometimes, I can barely sit still. Some days, I feel calm. I spend more time focusing on my breath than distractions.

Like a physical workout, no matter how it felt during the activity, I always feel better afterward.

Meditation is a training …

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