Professor profile: Richard Davidson, expert in meditation

March 11, 2013

Sam Cusick, The Daily Cardinal: While people have been meditating for centuries, one University of Wisconsin-Madison professor is working to scientifically prove meditation makes people happier.

Richard Davidson, a psychology professor at UW-Madison since 1984, also runs the university’s Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, which includes his research to incorporate the Dalai Lama’s theories on the healing powers of meditation into scientific research.

Davidson said he has been interested in this topic for many years, although he was initially hesitant to publicly express his interest, since many people did not feel it was “scientific research.” But, after meeting the Dalai Lama in 1992, Davidson said he…

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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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Help, I can’t stop thinking!

January 4, 2013

rb-calm-woman-eyes-closed-0809-mdnMany of us feel that our thoughts are out of our control. We think about work long after we have left, we worry about the future and keep going over things that have gone wrong in the past. Meanwhile, life seems to be slipping by.

Modern psychology also recognises that compulsive thinking can lead us into stress, anxiety and depression. Worrying about our problems seems important, but it leaves us feeling worse and believing we have less power to change things.

Mindfulness helps by giving us the mental space to stand back, recognise what’s happening and explore alternatives. Here are some helpful approaches associated with mindfulness and meditation.

1. Learning to let go of thoughtsRead more »

British Army to send 4,000 Buddhist troops to India for meditation to combat post-traumatic stress

December 11, 2012

Giridhar Jha, Daily Mail, India: The toll of war, over a period of time, can get the better of even the most seasoned army men.

It’s a fact well-established by the series of random shootings by veterans, especially in the United States and United Kingdom, who find themselves unable to forget the horrors of the battlefield, long after they return to civilian life.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is no longer a fancy psychological term only found in bulky books and journals on the subject. It’s a reality countries involved in wars are grappling with on a day-to-day basis, and which has forced them …

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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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Through meditation, veterans relearn compassion

November 24, 2012

Amy Standen, NPR: The epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorder has pushed the US Department of Veterans Affairs to explore new and sometimes unorthodox treatments. In one VA facility in Menlo Park, Calif., veterans of current and past wars gather to meditate and break down the shields that combat forced them to hold.

Marine Esteban Brojas is rocking back and forth in his chair in a rehabilitation center for veterans in Menlo Park, Calif. He rubs his hands together so quickly you can hear them.

“You know, you’re going into a building, and you know there’s a grenade being popped in there,” he says …

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Yoga, deep breathing used to address soldiers’ post-traumatic stress

August 16, 2012

Meg Jones, Journal Sentinel: Rich Low dreamed of Iraq long after he returned home from the war.

The memories haunted him when he was awake, too. About six months after his deployment, he was driving at night when a sudden burst of lightning snapped him back to Baghdad and the bomb that exploded near him during a thunderstorm.

Low’s pulse raced as adrenaline surged through his body even though he was driving on a road far from any war zone.

He didn’t know post-traumatic stress was affecting him. Not until he took part in a University of Wisconsin-Madison study that taught Iraq and …

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Spiritual help for violence victims

August 16, 2012

Sanjeev K Ahuja,, Hindustan Times: The terror-struck managers, supervisors and engineers at Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant — who witnessed violence at the factory premises on July 18 — have been attending meditation and spiritual classes at the Brahma Kumari Om Shanti Retreat Centre (ORC) since July 30. ORC members have also delivered discourses for the workers, who were arrested on the first day of the attack, in Gurgaon jail.

“The first batch of 35-40 managers attended a two-day workshop on July 30-31. ORC director BK Ashsa Didi also addressed the staff.

Besides meditation, the workshop also stresses upon how workers should overcome fear and improve inter-personal relations,” said BK Sanjay of ORC.

“A total of … Read more »

VA testing whether meditation can help treat PTSD

Steve Vogel: Seeking new ways to treat post-traumatic stress, the Department of Veterans Affairs is studying the use of transcendental meditation to help returning veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans Affairs’ $5.9 billion system for mental-health care is under sharp criticism, particularly after the release of an inspector general’s report last month that found that the department has greatly overstated how quickly it treats veterans seeking mental-health care.

VA has a “huge investment” in mental-health care but is seeking alternatives to conventional psychiatric treatment, said W. Scott Gould, deputy secretary of veterans affairs.

“The reality is, not all individuals we see are treatable by …

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For veterans, yoga can offer peace

March 20, 2012

Audra D.S. Burch: Yoga and meditation may be therapeutic for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffering with PTSD or the stress of returning to civilian life.

One week into his second tour of duty, U.S. Marines Sgt. Hugo Patrocinio was wounded by a suicide bomber who drove a dump truck stocked with 1,000 pounds of explosives into a house in al-Anbar, on the outskirts of Fallujah. He had been attacked before, hurt before, but this time Patrocinio was just 20 feet from the explosion.

He would eventually recover from the wounds — the shrapnel in his foot and leg the severe concussion — but the psychological …

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