Yoga, meditation being pushed as ways to cut prison violence, boost well-being

September 21, 2013

Douglas Quan, Postmedia News: Even though some politicians have derided prison yoga programs as unnecessary inmate “coddling,” there’s a growing push for their expansion across Canada.

Advocates say yoga and meditation boost inmates’ mental well-being and help to reduce prison violence. They point to the success of programs in the U.S., including one at California’s San Quentin State Prison, notorious for housing some of the most dangerous offenders.

The question – can the downward dog really benefit those doing hard time? – will be the focus of a discussion next month at a conference of the Canadian Criminal Justice Association…

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Healing vets’ PTSD with transcendental meditation

August 16, 2013

Megan Cloherty, Washington, WTOP: Wild and reckless — that’s how Iraq Army veteran David George describes his lifestyle after returning from combat. He says he hit rock bottom after five years of living with untreated post traumatic stress disorder.

“I was really at a low point. I didn’t know if I was going to go drink until I was dead under a bridge or go to school. It was just one or the other,”says George, who was injured after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive at the gates of an American military base in Tel Afar, Iraq on Dec. 3, 2003.

A Maryland native…

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Free the Mind examines whether mental issues can be treated with meditation instead of medication

August 8, 2013

Marielle Argueza, Monterey County Weekly:

America has become increasingly familiar with mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit disorder, especially since America’s occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. Often, those who live with these disorders are prescribed medications to help them deal with everyday task like sleeping or paying attention. Free the Mind, a documentary by Phie Ambo, looks into Richard Davidson’s innovative new study in alternative methods of treating such conditions.

So what works better than Ambien and Ritalin in this day and age? Apparently, a couple of deep breaths and controlled meditation. Davidson is a professor of psychology and…

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It’s the moment for mindfulness

Judith Woods, Weekend Review: Mindfulness. If you are not yet au fait with the concept, it might be a good idea to familiarise yourself with it now, because you will be hearing a lot about it — from business leaders, academics, politicians and educationalists. But don’t, whatever you do, call it a buzzword, for it is the very opposite. By definition, mindfulness aims to shut out the buzz; it is a brain-training technique based on using your breath to achieve mental clarity.

It has been discussed in Parliament as a therapy in relation to both unemployment and depression. But it isn’t about zoning out. If anything, it is about zooming in…

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Mindfulness for OCD and anxiety

March 25, 2013

Kimberley Quinlan, MA, OCD Center of Los Angeles

Choosing a Different Route on the Anxiety Highway

Mindfulness” seems to be everywhere these days. In the culture at large, mindfulness is becoming a common practice for many as a means to finding basic peace of mind. And in the field of mental health, mindfulness is quickly coming to be seen as a technique that can help relieve symptoms of OCD, anxiety, and other psychological conditions.

After reading the above paragraph, you may be thinking, “Sign me up!” After all, we live in an era of instant gratification, and most of us usually want…

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When you harm others, you harm yourself

February 21, 2013

casualties-of-war-movie-poster-1989-1020469753The statement in the title of this post is a common belief in spiritual and religious circles, but it appears there’s some hard evidence that when you harm others, you harm yourself as well.

According to a press release from the Association for Psychological Science, researchers looked into why it is that some soldiers (31.6%) who have traumatic combat exposure develop PTSD.

It seems that three factors are important: age, a history of childhood physical abuse, and harming civilians or POWs.

…childhood experiences of physical abuse or a pre-Vietnam psychiatric disorder other than PTSD were strong contributors to PTSD onset. Age also seemed to play an important role: Men who were younger than 25 when

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Wirral Mind launches free meditation classes

January 11, 2013

Stephanie Cureton, Wirral Globe: Free meditation classes are being offered to Wirral residents with mental health issues.

The weekly course, which is being run by charity Wirral Mind, aims to help people to tackle depression and other problems.

And instructor Graeme Waterfield, who has battled the condition himself, is hoping the classes will reach out to those who need support the most.

The 39-year-old said: “Meditation can help with an array of mental health problems, such as depression. It’s really for peace and mind and general well-being. Meditation helps people to find a new way of looking at life, to get more clarity …

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The neuro-benefits of meditation

January 10, 2013

DSC_0502(45).jpgMeditation is to the mind what aerobic exercise is to the body. Like exercise, there are many good ways to do it and you can find the one that suits you best.

Studies have shown that regular meditation promotes mindfulness (sustained observing awareness), whose benefits include decreased stress-related cortisol, insomnia, symptoms of autoimmune illnesses, PMS, asthma, falling back into depression, general emotional distress, anxiety, and panic, and increased immune system factors, control of blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, detachment from reactions, self-understanding, and general well-being.

In your brain, regular meditation increases gray matter (neuronal cell bodies and synapses) in the:

  • Insula – Handles interoception (sense of your own body); self-awareness in general; empathy for
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‘Spiritual’ people at higher risk of mental health problems

January 2, 2013

Stephen Adams, The Telegraph: People who said said they had spiritual beliefs but did not adhere to a particular religion were 77 per cent more likely than the others to be dependent on drugs, 72 per cent more likely to suffer from a phobia, and 50 per cent more likely to have a generalised anxiety disorder.

They are more likely to suffer from a range of mental health problems than either the conventionally religious or those who are agnostic or atheists, found researchers at University College London.

They are more disposed towards anxiety disorders, phobias and neuroses, have eating disorders and drug problems.
In addition, they …

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Marines expanding use of meditation training

December 10, 2012

Patrick Hruby, Washington Times: While preparing for overseas deployment with the U.S. Marines late last year, Staff Sgt. Nathan Hampton participated in a series of training exercises held at Camp Pendleton, Calif., designed to make him a more effective serviceman.

There were weapons qualifications. Grueling physical workouts. High-stress squad counterinsurgency drills, held in an elaborate ersatz village designed to mirror the sights, sounds and smells of a remote mountain settlement in Afghanistan.

There also were weekly meditation classes — including one in which Sgt. Hampton and his squad mates were asked to sit motionless in a chair and focus on the point of …

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