Four reasons to stop pursuing happiness & what to do instead

November 6, 2014

wildmind meditation newsFrank Martela, Fulfillment Daily: In a recent conference on Positive Psychology, Pharrell Williams’ song Happy seemed to be everywhere. He asked us to “clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.” I didn’t clap.

There are certainly many benefits to being happy. Positive emotions broaden our thinking and imagination. Shared positive emotions help us to connect with other people. Being happy might be good for our health too. Furthermore – and this is quite self-evident – it feels good to be happy. But while being happy can be a good thing, pursuing happiness might actually be bad for us. As professor …

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Inhibition profiles

November 6, 2014

DaddyThe inhibition profile of a particular person can be quite nuanced. For example, in terms of attachment theory, a person raised by a “dismissing” parent could worry about asking too much of others, and someone with an “inconsistent” parent –alternately intrusive and rejecting – could feel ashamed or guilty about desires that differ from those of her partner. Or, as a generalization, boys are socialized not to show fear, girls not to show anger; since what people do not express tends to build up inside, I’ve counseled relationships in which the man is anxious about the woman, and she’s irritated with him. I’ve also worked with people who:

  • Can express “armored” emotions like anger but
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Understanding depression: mindfulness and acceptance

October 22, 2014

wildmind meditation newsKate Lochte & Matt Markgraf, “One of the cornerstones of treatments for depression is getting out and moving in the world in ways that matter to the individual,” says Dr. Michael Bordieri, assistant professor of psychology at Murray State University. Mindfulness can be a way to help achieve that, by becoming aware of ones thoughts and not changing them, but rather letting them go. This is the topic of the fourth conversation in our series on understanding depression: the emerging therapeutic use of mindfulness.

Mindfulness isn’t necessarily new, it’s been practiced in eastern medicine for centuries. New to western scientific scrutiny and …

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Meditation covers Scientific American November 2014 issue

October 16, 2014

wildmind meditation newsCarolyn Gregoire, Huffington Post: In 2013, the New York Times declared that mindfulness was “having a moment” (pun intended), and just a few months later, a January 2014 TIME cover story announced that a “Mindful Revolution” was underway, challenging the stressed-out, tech-addicted American status quo. This month, Scientific American has featured meditation on its November 2014 cover, representing another major step toward a meeting of the minds between ancient Eastern wisdom and Western science.

Although Western psychologists have been studying the ancient contemplative practice since the 1970s — mindfulness pioneer Jon Kabat-Zinn created Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in 1979 — scientific interest in mindfulness has escalated in the past decade.

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Meditation isn’t clearing the mind; it’s focusing on one thing

October 7, 2014

wildmind meditation newsMihir Patkar, Lifehacker: Meditation does not require a large chunk of sustained time, nor is it too difficult to get into. Psychologist Mike Brooks busts the misconception that it’s about emptying your mind. Instead, meditation is about focusing on one thing.

Brooks is talking about mindfulness meditation, which we’ve discussed before, which focuses on being fully in the moment. One of the biggest problems people have with meditation is the assumption that it requires emptying your mind entirely—I’ve seen several people who misconstrued it as that and gave up on meditation far too quickly. Brooks explains it better:

People think the goal of …

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Personalities are not fixed, and that’s great news

September 24, 2014

Children's yoga. The little boy does exercise.A mountaineering friend of mine used to remark that when he’d meet a rock or other obstruction while coming down a mountain, and was faced with choices — go left, or right? — each choice would lead to other, different, choices. In this way, two different decisions early on — although seemingly insignificant — could result in profoundly different outcomes.

Views we hold can be like that as well. A view like “personalities are fixed” leads to very different results compared to a view like “personalities are fluid.”

A new study illustrates how easily views about our personalities can be changed, and how powerful the effect of changing them can be.

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Is mindfulness an emerging treatment for addiction?

September 10, 2014

wildmind meditation newsJudson Brewer, Why do young mothers buy a daily pack of cigarettes instead of spending this money on nutritious food for their children? Why are treatments that help roughly 33 percent of people overcome their substance use and have a 70 percent relapse rate hailed as “gold standard” by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)? In other words, why are addictions so hard to overcome?

Our brains are set up to learn. From an evolutionary perspective, when we come upon a good source of food or water, it is helpful to remember where it is. When we discover something dangerous, that memory is …

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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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Social and emotional skills for schools

August 20, 2014

wildmind meditation newsRavi Pradhan, República: In the past decade, a very exciting new approach has started to attract the attention of educators and parents in the US. An umbrella term to describe these approaches is “social and emotional learning” or SEL.

In fact, the US Federal Government and private foundations have funded several pilot grants all over the country.

SEL is seen as a relatively low-cost, secular, science-based approach that generates the following kinds of results across age, sex, income levels, and ethnic backgrounds in schools:

  • Reduces stress, anxiety, negative behavior, and bullying.
  • Increases calmness, relaxation, self-awareness, self-control, and empathy.
  • Improves focus, attention and self-awareness …

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Is mindfulness good medicine?

August 15, 2014

wildmind meditation newsHal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfeld, Scientific American: Mindfulness meditation can help alleviate depression and possibly anxiety.

In a typical mindfulness meditation session, a person sits on the floor, eyes closed, back straight and legs crossed, his body positioned to facilitate his inner experiences. For 10 to 15 minutes, he observes his thoughts as if he were an outsider looking in. He pays particular attention to his breathing, and when his mind wanders to other thoughts, he brings his attention back to his breath. As he practices, his mind empties of thoughts, and he becomes calmer and more peaceful.

Meditation has long been used for …

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