benefits of meditation

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

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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How to calm your brain and find peace during a busy day

wildmind meditation newsAmy Capetta, Today.com: The positive power of meditation has made the news once again. Research from Carnegie Mellon University states that practicing mindfulness meditation for 25 minutes per session for three consecutive days can alleviate psychological stress. An analysis of previous studies compiled earlier this year showed this type of meditation—which involves paying attention to your surroundings while concentrating on your breathing—to be “moderately” effective in battling depression, anxiety and pain.

“One of the most important benefits of mindfulness meditation is the ability for us to more fully live our lives,” states Janice L. Marturano, executive director of the Institute For Mindful Leadership and …

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Your brain on meditation

wildmind meditation newsBrittany Dingler, The Skidmore News: Generally, meditation is a mindfulness-based practice in which an individual sits quietly, focuses on breathing, and tries to clear their mind of any distracting thoughts or worries. Some meditators even choose to supplement their meditation practice with repeated mantras (think “ohmmm…”) or visualization (“imagine you’re a stick, floating down the river of zen”). Though often viewed as a wacky, spiritual practice reserved only for yogis, hippies, and monks, meditation is a critical tool that has recently gained more support as a source of daily restoration for CEOs and doctors as well as an effective, supplemental treatment for chronic …

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Can you meditate with your eyes wide open?

wildmind meditation newsRose Caiola, Huffington Post: I’ve been a dedicated meditation practitioner for more than a decade and I always keep my eyes open for new techniques. Now keeping my “eyes open” can be taken literally–because I’ve learned about the benefits of meditating without closing them.

This was a big departure for me. I had always thought of meditation as a way to keep the external world out of the picture during quiet contemplation. And even though I am very receptive to the benefits of different practices–I’ve tried everything from yogic, mindfulness, and Tibetan mantra meditations to ecstatic dancing and walking a labyrinth–I had assumed …

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8 ways meditation can improve your life

wildmind meditation newsKristine Crane, Huffington Post: Shrimati Bhanu Narasimhan, a petite Indian woman wrapped in a bright fuchsia sari, has a soft voice but a big presence. She holds the rapt attention of some 100 people who have come to learn how to meditate at the Art of Living Center in the District of Columbia. The type of meditation she teaches is called Sahaj, Sanskrit for effortless. It’s a mantra-based meditation she advises doing twice a day for 20 minutes — before eating. “Mental hygiene,” Narasimhan calls it. Sahaj is just one type of meditation. Others are based on compassion, mindfulness, yoga and transcendentalism, among others. While their …

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Breathing, meditation and helping PTSD

wildmind meditation newsBritish Psychological Society: Servicemen and women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could benefit from trying breathing-based meditation, a new study suggests.

Research by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, found that a practice known as Sudarshan Kriya Yoga can help sufferers better manage the condition.

This, it stated, is because this form of breathing directly affects the autonomic nervous system, which means it can have an effect on symptoms of PTSD such as hyperarousal – when a person constantly feels on guard and jumpy.

Richard Davidson, one of the authors of the study, is keen for additional research to …

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How 20 minutes of meditation a day helped me deal with my anxiety

wildmind meditation newsRachel Gillett, Fast Company: Like most people with a brain and a pulse, my life can feel pretty stressful.

We may be lying to ourselves about how busy we really are, but the stress we feel from our always-on lives is real.

And while “mindfulness” has become more of a cliché than a real call to action in the business world, the core message to quiet your mind and focus on the present sounds like the perfect solution for a more productive workday.

The concept of occupying my mind with only one thing was especially appealing to me. I’ve wanted to try and …

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Why everyone should begin to meditate

wildmind meditation newsAnant Naik, Minnesota Daily: Over the past several centuries, saints and mystics around the world have encouraged people to meditate to find inner peace. Even scientists have recently found evidence to suggest that everyone could benefit from more meditation. As a result, a practice once used as a mystical way to understand the forces of life is becoming a popular method to relax and to attain a peaceful state of mind.

Though there are many kinds of meditation, almost all of them involve concentrating on an object. The object might be a thought, image, internal energy or God. However, the act of concentration and self-withdrawal remains the same.

Zoran Josipovic, a professor from New York University, published a study in which he observed Tibetan Buddhist monks’ brain activity while they were meditating. He found that the monks had higher brain connectivity, which means that their brains are able to communicate between different lobes more effectively than they normally would…

This confirmed an earlier study conducted by Eileen Luders at the UCLA School of Medicine. Her research suggested that long-term practitioners of meditation have the capacity to change the physical structure of their brains by repairing white matter and forming new neurological connections. Test subjects were given a cognitive exam, and researchers examined whether the time the subjects spent meditating impacted how well they scored. The cognitive test measured the efficacy of the neurological connections between the different lobes of the brain.

This research has many implications. It suggests that meditation could help repair parts of the brain and thus help treat or prevent mental disorders. With meditation increasing the neuroplasticity of white matter, the brain experiences an improvement in its self-regulatory mechanisms. Michael Posner of the University of Oregon explains that most mental disorders are due to the brain’s inability to self-regulate.

Research has also indicated that meditation can improve concentration. The University of North Carolina showed in a study that students at the school were able to increase their concentration by meditating for about 20 minutes a day for four days.

Furthermore, meditation has been shown to reduce stress. The University of Ottawa found that meditation was effective in lowering patients’ stress levels in the hospital setting.

Although meditation might not completely remedy our daily anxieties, it is definitely an area that all people, including college students, should explore. As University of Minnesota students return to their studies, stress levels are likely to increase. Meditation is a good way to remedy this.

Students can achieve significant increases in focus simply by meditating for 20 minutes each day. In our own ways, all of us are scientists. We should all experiment to see whether meditation has any place in our lives.

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I stopped meditating: Here’s what happened

wildmind meditation newsMary-Lou Stephens, Huffington Post: This is a hard admission to make. After all I wrote a book about how meditation saved my job, changed my life and helped me find a husband. I’ve written columns and blogs about the countless benefits meditation brings. Meditation was a solid part of my life, like clockwork every morning. Even during the times when I was so busy I could only grant this life changing practice ten minutes at the most. So why did I stop?

Meditation is like a seedling. We plant it, nurture it and protect it from the things that want to destroy it …

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Meditation is an emotional rollercoaster

wildmind meditation newsEd Halliwell, The Guardian: About four days into my first meditation retreat, I started crying. Not little droplets of tears, but great, big, uncontrolled sobs – it felt like I was throwing up wave after wave of stale sadness. I’d expected the long days of sitting to be boring, annoying, physically demanding and (with a bit of luck) illuminating, so to find myself repeatedly breaking down into a noisy heap of grief came as a shock. These spontaneous outbursts of wailing continued throughout the month-long programme – it says much for the teachers’ equanimity that they didn’t chuck me out.

So when would-be …

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