Category Archives: mindfulness

Can Mindfulness Improve Standardized Test Scores?

ps_imageCheck out Christie Nicholson’s Scientific American story about new research published in the journal Psychological Science that suggests that meditation training may boost GRE scores.

Recently scientists analyzed whether such a practice could help improve undergrads’ test scores… (read more)

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Group Therapy On The Go

Here’s a beach sculpture –aka sand castle– I created in Long Beach Island, NJ about 24 hours after completing my first coed sprint triathlon.  It’s a self-portrait inspired by the minor torment I felt during the final two miles of the run.

Have you ever considered doing a race?  Don’t over think it.  Just register, train and show up.  Then let the magic happen.  A little like group meditation, the communal experience is truly a mind body one. Read about upcoming fitness events near you at active.com

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Mindfulness Trend Makes News

Congressman Tim Ryan’s book on the benefits of meditation prompted all sorts of trend stories, including this segment on PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly.  Lucky Severson produced a pretty nice piece, and it features interviews with Ryan as well as Jon Kabat-Zinn. Check it out:  Mindfulness Going Mainstream

Related alternahealthgrrrl stories:Planting Seeds: The Power of Mindfulness; Don’t Just Google Yourself, Search Inside Yourself; Five Good Minutes at Work: Mindfulness Strategies


Meditation Is Prevention: Meditating Helps Fight Colds, Flu

 

Sick of getting sick?  Start meditating. New research supports the theory that meditation, like exercise, protects the body from cold and flu.

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers looked at the impact of meditation and exercise on how often people got a cold or flu, as well as how bad the bug got and how long it lasted.  They found that both meditation and exercise offered plenty of protective power. The conclusion: Meditation and exercise can reduce the incidence, duration and severity of colds and the flu by about 30 percent to 60 percent.



The Meditation Type That’s Just Right For You

Mainstream outlets are a buzz about how new research shows that you’re more likely to be successful with meditation if you chose a type you like.  I’m glad to see studies like this being conducted, and even happier that the results are well publicized.  But it’s not super surprising is you’ve ever practiced, is it?

I have to say, though, this story makes me want to check out Mantra style.  Read more here.

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Five Good Minutes At Work: Mindfulness Strategies

Dr. Jeff Brantley

Dr. Jeff Brantley, founder and director of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program at Duke Integrative Medicine, reads from his book, “Five Good Minutes At Work,” during a DukeWell seminar. “The five good minutes concept is simple,” Brantley writes in the book. “Take the time, for just five minutes to be present mindfully.”

1. Focus on a calming object. When negative thoughts fill the mind, ground yourself by looking at an object that invokes calmness, such as a plant or a personal photo. Then focus your attention on your breath for several minutes. When your attention wanders toward the negative thoughts, focus it gently again on your breath and the object.
2. Train your attention. Choose a rote task like washing your hands and train yourself to pay attention to the sensations of the moment each time you do it. “This is a way of practicing focusing our attention,” Brantley said. “Focusing on physical sensations brings the mind back to the present.”
3. Take a power break. In his book, Brantley suggests taking five minutes for a silent meditation retreat away from all electronics. “Take notice of the simple vibrancy of your immediate surroundings,” he writes. Sitting quietly at your workplace, focus on your senses; listen to passing noises, enjoy patches of color and notice the warmth of your hands in your lap. Pay attention to the world around you without feeling the need to respond.
4. Take a hike. “Just before lunch, give yourself permission to get outside,” Brantley writes in his book. “Take five minutes to be mindful of your natural surroundings. When it comes time to return, with every step you take toward your job site, become increasingly aware of the calming power of being outside.”  For more, click here. 

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To Feel Less Stressed, Try MBSR

MBSRIt only takes a few weeks of mindfulness-based stress reduction training to notice an improvement, according to a new study.  The findings support an existing body research showing that mindfulness leads to less perceived stress.

Find an MBSR program near you via the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness

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Citation: Baer, R. A., Carmody, J. and Hunsinger, M. (2012), Weekly Change in Mindfulness and Perceived Stress in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program. J. Clin. Psychol.. doi: 10.1002/jclp.21865