Everyday mindfulness linked to healthy glucose levels

February 23, 2016
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Eureka Alert press release, Brown University: Dispositional, or “everyday” mindfulness is the inherent trait of being aware of one’s present thoughts and feelings. In a new study of 399 people that measured health indicators including dispositional mindfulness and blood glucose, researchers found that those with higher scores for mindfulness were significantly more likely than people with low scores to have healthy glucose levels.

The results show an association and do not prove a cause, but they are part of a program led by Brown University where researchers are studying whether interventions that increase mindfulness can improve cardiovascular health. Their overarching hypotheses are that people … Read more »

Intensive meditation training seems to enhance people’s compassion

February 18, 2016
wildmind meditation news
The Heart’s Wisdom: Four Meditations for Cultivating Love, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity
Alex Fradera, BPS Research Digest: Psychological research into meditation has overwhelmingly focused on its cognitive consequences, considering the practice as a kind of training for attention and behaviour control, together with stress alleviation. But contemplation traditions make far wider claims for meditation, such as that it helps practitioners cultivate concern for the welfare of others. A new study in the journal Emotion supports this perspective, using a rigorous measure of emotional response to show signs of enhanced compassion following intensive, long-term meditation.

Erika Rosenberg at the University of California, Davis and her …

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Mindfulness meditation linked to the reduction of a key inflammation marker

February 15, 2016
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Fiona MacDonald, Science Alert: Mindfulness meditation has been linked both to a whole lot of health benefits over the years, from altering cancer survivors’ cells to improving heart health. And while it sounds pretty new-age, research has shown that meditation really can change the shape, volume, and connectivity of our brains. But until now, no one’s known how those brain changes can impact our overall health.

Now new research could help explain that link between mind and body, with a study showing that stressed-out adults who practiced mindfulness meditation not only had their brain connectivity …

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Exercise and meditation — together — help beat depression

February 11, 2016
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EurekaAlert: Meditation and aerobic exercise done together helps reduce depression, according to a new Rutgers study.

The study, published in Translational Psychiatry this month, found that this mind and body combination – done twice a week for only two months – reduced the symptoms for a group of students by 40 percent.

“We are excited by the findings because we saw such a meaningful improvement in both clinically depressed and non-depressed students,” says Brandon Alderman, lead author of the research study. “It is the first time that both of these two behavioral therapies have been looked at together for dealing with depression.”

Alderman, … Read more »

The joy of imperfection: how not to drive yourself and others nuts

January 6, 2016
wildmind meditation news
2016: A Year of Waking Up!
Mona Shah Joshi, Fulfillment Daily: Every year we come up with new year’s resolutions. Maybe to lose weight, to procrastinate less, to write that book or get a promotion. We want to become more “perfect” in some way. And how often have we let ourselves down in the process?

You know what to do, but so often manage to do the opposite. You know you should go to sleep. But instead of picking your body up from the couch, you pick up the television remote. You have work to get done, but spend 20 minutes surfing online for stuff you’ll …

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Five mindfulness blessings for 2016

January 1, 2016
wildmind meditation news
2016: A Year of Waking Up
Aubrey Nagle, Philly Voice: As we begin 2016, may you make an ever-increasingly courageous dedication to embody the energy of love. There is no healing power greater than this force on earth. It takes only a cursory read of headline news to see how the absence of love creates profound suffering. May you work to cultivate connection, compassion, and empathy. In the process not only do you transform, but so does the world.

If you enjoy reflecting on the intersection of philosophical musings about love and neurobiology, consider reading “A General Theory of Love” by Thomas Lewis, M.D., Fari Amini …

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Science and meditation: integrating a first-person experience into the scientific process

December 31, 2015
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The Enlightened Brain: The Neuroscience of Awakening, by Rick Hanson (7 CDs)
Marjorie Woollacott, Huffington Post: As a long time meditator and neuroscientist, my interest in the effect of meditation on brain function is both personal and professional. The benefits meditation has brought to my life mirror first-person accounts of other meditation practitioners–basically, a sense of greater peace and more joy.

In addition to being even-minded in the midst of life’s challenges, many meditators describe having experiences that might be called mystical–and not just in the state of meditation but also after their session of meditation has ended. Some individuals say that their …

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Optimizing your brain for happiness and effectiveness

December 23, 2015

Buddha portrait isolated on white

A huge amount of research over the last few years has shown more clearly what happens in the brain when we meditate, and how meditation benefits us. Meditation, for example,

  • Helps to slow down aging of the brain
  • Increases thickness in parts of the brain to do with memory and learning
  • Reduces mind-wandering and unhappiness
  • Increases the thickness of parts of the brain connected with emotional regulation
  • Improves concentration
  • Reduces our susceptibility to anxiety and depression
  • Helps us tolerate pain
  • Reduces feelings of isolation

It may seem rather staggering that one activity, or collection of related activities, can lead to such a varied range of benefits. It is clear in fact that meditation has not … Read more »

Mindfulness pain relief distinct from placebo effect

December 18, 2015

wildmind meditation newsJustin Karter, Mad in America: A new study demonstrates that the practice of mindfulness may ease pain in a way that is mechanistically distinct from the placebo effect. Research, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that mindfulness meditation not only outperformed placebo and fake meditation for pain relief but that it also activated different brain regions than the placebo treatments.

There is an accumulating body of evidence that mindfulness meditation, defined in this study as “a cognitive practice based on developing nonjudgmental awareness of arising sensory events,” can reduce the subjective experience of pain in various settings. However, scientists have yet to determine …

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Meditation may boost teen memory

December 14, 2015

wildmind meditation newsAlison Pearce Stevens, Society for Science & the Public: If you tend to forget your homework or are easily distracted, take heed. A new study shows that teens can improve their memory with a practice known as mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness involves paying attention to what is happening in the current moment. It requires pulling the mind back to the present when thoughts wander. No worrying about the future. Or over something that happened in the past. Just focus on the here and now. And do so without judging events as good or bad.

This mindfulness can be applied to the practice of meditation. In meditation …

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