Posts by Wildmind Meditation News

The surprising benefits of compassion meditation

wildmind meditation news

Stacey Colino, USNews: In recent years, mindfulness meditation has garnered loads of attention for its beneficial effects on the body and mind. Now, there’s a new star on the block: compassion meditation, a less well-known but increasingly popular contemplative practice that aims to strengthen feelings of compassion and empathy toward different people (both those you care about and those who are difficult).

“It’s deeply rooted in Buddhist philosophy, which has taught us a lot about how people are connected and what is the purpose of our existence,” explains Stefan G. Hofmann, a professor of psychology in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University. “Compassion is the fundamental idea at the root of Buddhist philosophy – if life is suffering and we can’t avoid it, we need to embrace it and be compassionate toward the suffering of others. It brings us closer to others.”

See also:

More than just a feel-good practice, compassion meditation leads to improved mood, more altruistic behavior, less anger, reduced stress and decreased maladaptive mind wandering, according to recent research. A 2013 study at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle found that practicing loving-kindness meditation (a form of compassion meditation) for 12 weeks reduced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as well as anger and depression among veterans with PTSD. A 2005 study from Duke University Medical Center found that practicing loving-kindness meditation for eight weeks reduced pain and psychological distress among patients with chronic low back pain. And a 2015 study from Brazil found that practicing yoga along with compassion meditation three times a week for eight weeks improved quality of life, vitality, attention and self-compassion among family caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. …

Read the original article »

Promo for Wildmind's meditation initiative

Wildmind is a Community-Supported Meditation Initiative. Click here to find out about the many benefits of being a sponsor.

Read More

Why meditation isn’t just another wellness trend

wildmind meditation news

Margaret Abrams, The Observer: A new study in The Journal of Neuroscience focuses on mindfulness meditation as a cure for pain relief, similar to opioids.

Meditation skeptics can no longer ignore the practice, even if they don’t take part in it. Sound baths have sprung up everywhere from Williamsburg’s ultra-trendy Wythe Hotel to Equinox’s luxurious Pure Yoga uptown. There’s MNDFL, a pop-in studio that’s Instagram fodder and the stuff Pinterest dream boards are made of. The Path offers lunch break sits alongside a Sweetgreen salad. There are even wellness apps to find the right meditation spot (and more likely than not, said spot is nowhere near the bare bones locations one might envision).

Each locale is elegant or trendy (depending on the neighborhood), in an effort to make meditation an accessible activity; studios want t0 make it easy for someone to stop by for a quick sit, the same way they would head to Flywheel for a quick spin session. Still, behind the trend, there’s new knowledge that meditation is more than just a moment to regroup while capturing the space on social media channels.

For those unsure about taking time out of their busy day to simply sit there, when they could be working out, watching Netflix, or consuming cocktails, a new study proves mindfulness isn’t wasting time. The study, in The Journal of Neuroscience‘s March 16 issue, focuses on mindfulness meditation as a cure for pain relief, similar to opioids.

The study said, “Mindfulness meditation activates multiple brain regions that …

Read the original article »

Promo for Wildmind's meditation initiative

Wildmind is a Community-Supported Meditation Initiative. Click here to find out about the many benefits of being a sponsor.

Read More

Seven minutes of meditation can reduce racial prejudice

wildmind meditation news

A popular meditation technique that’s intended to create feelings of kindness can also reduce prejudice, according to new University of Sussex research.

The study, published online in the journal Motivation and Emotion, found that just seven minutes of Loving-kindness meditation (LKM), a Buddhist practice that promotes unconditional kindness towards oneself and others, is effective at reducing racial bias.

Lead researcher Alexander Stell, a doctoral student in Psychology, said: “This indicates that some meditation techniques are about much more than feeling good, and might be an important tool for enhancing inter-group harmony.”

LKM is known to engender happiness and kindness to oneself and others through repeating phrases such as ‘may you be happy and healthy’ while visualising a particular person.

See also:

Some previous studies have shown that inducing happiness in people, for example by exposing them to upbeat music, can actually make them more likely to have prejudiced thoughts compared to those hearing sad music.

Mr Stell said: “We wanted to see whether doing LKM towards a member of another ethnic group would reduce the automatic preference people tend to show for their own ethnic group.”

For the study, a sample of 71 white, non-meditating adults were each given a photo of a gender-matched black person and either received taped LKM instructions, or instructions to look at the photos and notice certain features of the face. Both conditions lasted just seven minutes.

Using the Implicit Association Test, the researchers then scored the reaction times of the participants who were asked to match up positive and negative words (for example “happiness” or “wrong”) with faces that belonged to either their own or another ethnic group.

On average people are quicker to match positive stimuli with their own group and quicker to match negative stimuli to the other group. This produces a bias ‘score’ that is considered a more robust measure of prejudice than traditional questionnaire data, which are known to be strongly influenced by social desirability.

The researchers found that just seven minutes of LKM directed to a member of a specific racial group (in this case, a black person) was sufficient to reduce racial bias towards that group. However, there was no marked reduction in racial bias towards other groups.

Additionally the researchers measured levels of positive emotions that were either ‘other-regarding’ (e.g. love, gratitude, awe, elevation) and those that were more self-directed (e.g. contentment, joy, pride) and found that people doing LKM showed large increases specifically in these other-regarding emotions. These other-regarding emotions were found to be what drives the reduction of bias.

Read More

How meditation went mainstream

wildmind meditation news

Ashley Ross, Time: The idea of meditation seems simple: Sit still, focus on breath, reflect. But the practice of meditating is rooted in a deep cultural history that has seen the practice grow from a religious idea to something that can now seem more stylish than spiritual.

Though plenty of people still meditate for religious reasons, these days, the practice has joined yoga as a secular and chic trend, as dedicated meditation studios open in cities like New York and Los Angeles. Even Equinox, a fitness company with gyms across North America and in London, is launching a class called HeadStrong in April, which will combine high intensity interval training with meditation. The trend has also caught up with technology, with apps like Headpsace and OMG. I Can Meditate!, both of which have partnered with airlines (Virgin Atlantic and Delta, respectively) to offer in-flight meditation options. Headspace also debuted specially designed meditation pods that co-founder Rich Pierson says hopes people will use “like Superman used phonebooths, only instead of emerging in tights intent on fighting crime, they’ll come out with a clearer, calmer outlook.”

“It used to be that if you wanted to try Tibetan Buddhism and meditation, you had to travel all the way to Tibet, and if you wanted to try Korean meditation, you had to travel all the way to Korea. But now you can go to neighborhoods in New York and do both in an hour,” says Lodro Rinzler, author and ‘Chief Spiritual Officer’ at the Manhattan studio MNDFL, which opened in late 2015. “All of a sudden people are saying this can help you, but Buddhists have been saying…

Read the original article »

Promo for Wildmind's meditation initiative

Wildmind is a Community-Supported Meditation Initiative. Click here to find out about the many benefits of being a sponsor.

Read More

Increase happiness and sense of well-being through meditation

Jeena Cho, Forbes: Scientists used to believe that people had a set happiness index. Some people were born with a disposition towards happiness while others were more prone to embracing misery. Time’s article, reported that “neither very good events nor very bad events seem to change people’s happiness much in the long term.” Studies indicate that most people “revert back to some kind of baseline happiness level within a couple years of even the most devastating events, like the death of a spouse or loss of limbs.” However, recent studies show that with practice …

Read the original article »

Read More

Intentional acts of kindness

Mindful Magazine: Although kindness can be misunderstood as an ineffectual or even superficial nicety, it’s neither. Like many amazing practices I’ve learned through mindfulness training, kindness is inspiring, powerful, courageous and wise. It’s also disarming, compelling and transformative. In any given moment, the kindness you offer to yourself or to others affects what happens in the very next moment.

Like mindfulness itself, kindness is a natural human quality that requires intentional action to realize it’s potential. And like mindfulness, research shows that kindness is good for our physical and our emotional well-being.

Studies show that thinking about …

Read the original article »

Read More

It’s brain science: University fights binge drinking with meditation

Susan Donaldson James, NBCNews: A song by U2 blares from loudspeakers as Dr. James Hudziak tosses a brain-shaped football back and forth to students, calling them out by name as they file in to the University of Vermont lecture hall.

The neuroscience course, “Healthy Brains, Healthy Bodies,” is about to begin, first with meditation, then the latest research on the benefits of clean living.

The class is part of a pioneering program — Wellness Environment or WE, which is anchored in four pillars of health: exercise, nutrition, mindfulness and mentorship.

Last year, the university accepted 120 …

Read the original article »

Read More

Incorporating meditation training into an outpatient psychiatry practice

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 …

Read the original article »

Read More

Everyday mindfulness linked to healthy glucose levels

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 practicing higher degrees of mindfulness may be better able to motivate themselves to exercise, to resist cravings for high-fat, high-sugar treats, and to stick with diet and exercise regimens recommended by their doctors.

The researchers therefore sought to identify factors that might explain the connection they saw between higher mindfulness and healthier glucose levels. Their analysis of the data showed that obesity risk (mindful people are less likely to be obese) and sense of control (mindful people are more likely to believe they can change many of the important things in their life) both contribute to the link.

“This study demonstrated a significant association of dispositional mindfulness with glucose regulation, and provided novel evidence that obesity and sense of control may serve as potential mediators of this association,” wrote the authors led by Eric Loucks, assistant professor of epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health. “As mindfulness is likely a modifiable trait, this study provides preliminary evidence for a fairly novel and modifiable potential determinant of diabetes risk.”

The study, published in the American Journal of Health Behavior, did not show a direct, statistically significant link between mindfulness and type 2 diabetes risk, which is the medical concern related to elevated blood glucose. Participants with high levels of mindfulness were about 20 percent less likely to have type 2 diabetes, but the total number of people in the study with the condition may have been too small to allow for definitive findings, Loucks said.

Measuring mindfulness, gauging glucose

To gather their data, Loucks and his team enrolled 399 volunteers who’ve been participating in the New England Family Study. The subjects participated in several psychological and physiological tests including glucose tests and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), a 15-item questionnaire to assess dispositional mindfulness on a 1 to 7 scale. The researchers also collected data on a host of other potentially relevant demographic and health traits including body-mass index, smoking, education, depression, blood pressure, perceived stress, and sense of control.

After adjusting their data to account for such confounding factors as age, sex, race or ethnicity, family history of diabetes, and childhood socioeconomic status, the researchers found that people with high MAAS scores of 6 or 7 were 35 percent more likely to have healthy glucose levels under 100 milligrams per deciliter than people with low MAAS scores below 4.

The analysis found that obesity made about a 3-percentage point difference of the total 35-percent point risk difference. Sense of control accounted for another 8 percentage points of the effect. The rest may derive from factors the study didn’t measure, but at least now researchers have begun to elucidate the possible mechanisms that link mindfulness to glucose regulation.

“There’s been almost no epidemiological observational study investigations on the relationship of mindfulness with diabetes or any cardiovascular risk factor,” Loucks said. “This is one of the first. We’re getting a signal. I’d love to see it replicated in larger sample sizes and prospective studies as well.”

Read More

It’s time for Buddhists to address ableism and accessibility

Vidyamala Burch, Lion’s Roar: Following two accidents in my teens and twenties, I live with a serious spinal injury, getting around with the help of a wheelchair or crutches and with pain as a constant companion. When I am on retreat, I need to change position regularly, either by lying down or standing up. I need to do this. And at the places where I teach and practice, I can do this. Taraloka, a U.K. retreat center for women where I often teach, has a dedicated living space for disabled retreatants …

Read the original article »

Read More
Menu