meditation for anxiety

Mindfulness study to track effect of meditation on 7,000 teenagers

wildmind meditation newsRobert Booth, The Guardian: Seven thousand teenagers wrestling with the churning emotions of adolescence, exam stress and peer pressure are to take part in an unprecedented trial of the effect of mindfulness meditation on mental health.

Psychologists and neuroscientists from Oxford University and University College London announced on Wednesday they plan to recruit children aged 11 to 16 from 76 secondary schools as part of a seven-year study. They said it would be the largest trial of its kind ever conducted and it would test some of the increasingly ambitious claims about the power of mindfulness meditation to tackle illnesses such as depression and anxiety …

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Is mindfulness a technique that can help kids succeed?

wildmind meditation I’m in a small room with 25 other people. At our teacher’s instruction, we are all sitting very still, eyes closed, hands in our laps, concentrating on our breath.

Outside, a bus roars past, which makes me sneakily open one eye. But it appears I’m the only one who’s distracted; nobody else has moved. Eventually, the teacher invites everyone to open their eyes when they’re ready. There’s a second of silence before chairs scrape back and there’s some muffled chatter among the participants. The clatter of a pencil case falling to the floor reminds me exactly where I am; not in an idyllic …

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The benefits and advantages to meditation in your life

wildmind meditation newsDavid McMillian, Shreveport Times: There is an abundance of scientific research that is being published to confirm the values of meditation and that’s encouraging people to take up the practice, along with people like your friend at work talking firsthand about their experiences. You don’t have to join a group to learn to meditate, although some find that helpful; there are many good books and resources available on the internet. Be aware that meditation can be discouraging especially for our packed “western minds” because it’s not easy to stop the thoughts, calm your mind, and get into a space that is quiet. Since …

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Mindfulness: let’s be mindful of its limitations

wildmind meditation newsTayana Simons, Huffington Post: The ancient practice of mindfulness meditation has received a lot of hype over the past few years. Tens of thousands of people are signing up for courses all over the country, therapists are using it as a core part of their treatment for depression and anxiety, and millions have downloaded an app called ‘Headspace’ allowing them ‘meditation on the go’. Even Emma Watson calls it ‘genius’.

The funny thing is, its not like it’s a new discovery. Besides the fact that the basis of mindfulness is a form …

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Seven ways meditation can actually change the brain

Alice G. Walton, Forbes: The meditation-and-the-brain research has been rolling in steadily for a number of years now, with new studies coming out just about every week to illustrate some new benefit of meditation. Or, rather, some ancient benefit that is just now being confirmed with fMRI or EEG. The practice appears to have an amazing variety of neurological benefits – from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the “me” centers of the brain to enhanced connectivity between brain regions. Below are some …

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How mindfulness can benefit the modern teenager

UBC: Today’s teens face a unique set of stressors from social media, parents, schools, and society, says Dr. Dzung Vo, a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Pediatrician with a specialization in adolescent medicine. The author of The Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills to Help You Handle Stress One Moment at a Time, says mindfulness can be the key to helping teens cope.

Mindfulness is an ancient practice that’s been brought into modern medicine by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He describes mindfulness as …

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Science assesses benefits of mindfulness

Gary Robbins, U-T San Diego: Researchers have an intriguing but incomplete picture of what’s going on.

Jeff Lee says he can sum up much of what’s wrong with modern society in five words: Stress, anxiety, anger, sadness and depression.

“We’ve got to get these things under control,” says Lee, co-owner of “Buddha For You,” a meditation studio and store near San Diego State University. “This is what’s really hurting people.”

Consumers agree. Over the past few years, classes have steadily grown bigger at “Buddha,” just as …

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Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche discusses the relevance of science as a tool for meditators

Tricycle Magazine: Born in Nepal in 1975, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche is the youngest son of the eminent meditation master Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, and received the same kind of rigorous training associated with previous generations of Tibetan adepts. In his new book, The Joy of Living (Harmony Books), Mingyur Rinpoche recounts how he used meditation to outgrow a childhood beset by fears and extreme panic attacks. From a very young age, he also displayed a keen interest in science; he has pursued this curiosity and how it relates to Buddhist …

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Relating to your inner doom-monger


Doom monger. Still from the CW show, Supergirl.

I just wanted to share a couple of things I’ve been doing recently to deal with the part of my mind that likes to worry about things that might go wrong.

A couple of weeks ago I had a growth removed from inside my ear, and a week later the pathology report came back, saying that the lump had been cancer. That’s pretty much what the doctor had said, but it’s still not very pleasant to hear that you’ve had cancer, and it’s also unpleasant knowing you’d had to leave it untreated for six months because you couldn’t afford health insurance. Anyway, that unpleasantness prompted the worrying part of my mind to go into overdrive. What if the surgeons hadn’t got it all? What if the cancer had spread to other parts of my body? After all, the tumor had bled once or twice. Who’s to say that a few cells hadn’t broken off and settled in other parts of my body? What would happen to my kids! Dying from cancer must suck!

What I found useful was to respond to those thoughts with “Yeah, right!” The tone of voice I adopted was wryly amused and skeptical. “Yeah, right!” was a statement that I wasn’t going to buy into the story that this worried part of my mind was creating. The result was that the stories decreased to the point where they more or less vanished.

And on the way to a post-operative appointment yesterday, I found myself tensely watching the other traffic, anticipating an accident. I think I was doing this because I’d been noticing how easy it is to get distracted while driving, and how easily distractedness could result in a collision. Anyway, to take an example, I’d see a car on a side-road ahead of me, heading toward a stop sign rather quickly, and my mind would rapidly create a scenario in which the driver failed to stop, causing us to crash. My mind must have created a dozen similar stories in the course of a 30 minute drive.

Here my response was to say to the frightened part of my mind, “Well, that could happen…” It struck me that the part of my mind that imagines accidents is actually very useful. If you’re anticipating what might happen, you can avoid it. This is something that it takes kids a long time to learn. So this function is useful, but if your response to anticipating what might happen is to imagine it happening in vivid detail and thus to make yourself stressed, then that isn’t very useful. So in saying “Well, that could happen…”, I was acknowledging the usefulness of predicting things that might go wrong, but also standing back and again letting the worried part of my mind know that I wasn’t prepared to buy into its catastrophizing.

By the end of the drive to my appointment, these anxious thoughts had ceased, although that’s just an added bonus; I’d already stopped being troubled by my inner doom-monger.

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John Denley on using mindfulness to deal with stress, anxiety and depression

EchoLisa, Gloucestershire Echo, March 10, 2015: Picture the scene: You’re sat in a traffic jam and you’re late. The kids were playing up this morning, you couldn’t find your keys and you’ve got a long meeting first thing.

The tension is building in your head and then when you finally hit a clear stretch of road, the driver in front of you is dawdling and breaking for no apparent reason.

Your face turns purple and you start shouting, even though the motorist in front can’t hear you.

Does any of this sound familiar?

These are the sort of problems modern life foists on us on a daily basis. Life has become so busy and our senses are assaulted with so much information, it’s sometimes hard to cope.

One simple anxiety-busting way of dealing with it has increasingly become a standard operating procedure for stressed-out people – that of practising mindfulness.

Cheltenham-based motivational speaker, John Denley, teaches people in the county how to recognise the signs of stress, anxiety and depression and offers strategies on how to deal with them.

“We all have really busy lives and busy heads,” said the former Dean Close school pupil.

“We now have such a visibility of the whole world that we never had before.

“We all have this negative chatter going on in our heads. People are getting depressed because they are looking at the world around them and thinking ‘I should be better. I should be doing more and I’m not.’

“We have all this pressure to be thinner and more successful and better at our jobs. It’s all because we are being fed an image or expectation from outside.

“We can’t all be high fliers or super mums and that’s when so many people have negative chatter.

“When you are anxious, you don’t breathe properly and not enough oxygen is getting to your brain to allow you to think.

“It’s important to learn to breath better.

“Something as simple as counting allows you to stop that negative chatter.

“Mindfulness is about being present in the moment. If you are spending too much time thinking about what happened in the past, you may be depressed.

“Anxiety is when you spend too much time worrying about the future.

“Once you have the hang of being in the present, you can be mindful of the here and now.

“Shouting at people in the other cars when you’re in a traffic jam isn’t going to help. It’s a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness.

“Notice the feel of your backside on the seat, feel the vibration of the car, notice the birds flying past and suddenly your brain isn’t thinking about your road rage.”

John knows more than most what an effective weapon the ability to practice mindfulness is to have in your arsenal.

The IT expert was faced with financial ruin in 2012 when a business deal gone bad left him £300,000 in the red.

Yet the 44-year-old has been able to bounce back from the depths of despair and turn his misfortune into a business venture.

He said: “I helped an ex girlfriend set up a play centre and 12 months later we had to go into administration.

“That left me with about half a million pounds in personal guarantees.

“People ask me how you come back from that kind of blow, but you battle on and keep going.

“I was having low moods and feeling a bit rubbish. It was like uphill skiing. I got lower and lower.”

The pressure had been piling for a while, as John began suffering from depression and society anxiety after moving back to Cheltenham from London in 2001.

John undertook a number of training courses in London to overcome his issues, which began a journey of self-discovery, then transforming into helping others through his Find Your Fire Workshops.

They are aimed at helping us perceive the world around us, how our brains process what we see, hear and feel and how to change the negative stories we tell ourselves about our lives into positive alternatives.

And the next one is due to take place at the Landsown Pub, Cheltenham on April 25.

“Now I’ ve got these issues, I know how to deal with them.

“I had a massive anxiety attack in 2012 when I realised I’d run out of money and couldn’t pay my bills.

“I’ve been through the whole gamut of picking myself up. I’m now almost through the other side.

“I’ve been on a big personal journey where I’ve read lots of books and undertaken lots of training.

“I like the idea of talking to people and helping them so I put on a workshop last October and 50 people attended for a day of personal development.

“I looked back at my business career and realised I wanted to help people all along.”

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a mind-body approach to well-being that can help you change the way you think about experiences and reduce stress and anxiety and depression.

John’s 14 surefire ways to improve your mood every day:

  1. Every night, write down three things that you are grateful for
  2. Challenge your negative thoughts
  3. Make a positive music playlist
  4. Get outside into nature
  5. Get out of breath every day
  6. Learn to breathe better
  7. Practice meditation and mindfulness
  8. Spend more time with good friends who lift you up
  9. Do things you enjoy
  10. Avoid excess alcohol or other crutches
  11. Read more positive books (at least five pages a day)
  12. Stop watching news and rubbish on TV
  13. Take control of your finances
  14. Don’t let the outside world invade your thoughts before getting dressed in the morning and after undressing in the evening

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