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Meditation Will Wreck Your Life

by Michael W. Taft During the “Calvin and Hobbes” part of childhood, I had a very clear career goal. My grade school teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, and the other children raised their hands, saying things like fireman, doctor, and archeologist. I, on the other hand, ardently desired to become a Viking. I …

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Exercise Your Attention with Mindfulness

by Daron Larson Scientific research into mindfulness practice and its potential benefits has exploded in recent years. It has been shown to help people manage stress, decrease anxiety, and get better sleep. In addition to personal reports, technological advances have improved our ability to track the impact of meditation on the brain’s structure and functioning. The enthusiasm stirred up by …

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Follow the Threads — Mindful Awakening

by Michael W. Taft Mille viae ducunt homines per saecula Romam When I started meditating in my teens, I believed in Enlightenment. I was going to get to the Big E, which involved having certain mind-blowing experiences. You’d see the Light, or God would open her kimono, or whatever, and after that you’d glow in the dark. I was super …

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‘Mindfulness’ May Keep Depression from Coming Back

By Sara G. Miller for Live Science A type of “mindfulness” therapy that helps people become more aware of their emotions may help prevent a relapse of depression, a new meta-analysis finds. People in the study who received this type of therapy, called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), were 31 percent less likely to experience a relapse of depression beyond the first …

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Power of Positive Thinking Skews Mindfulness Studies

By Anna Nowogrodzki for Scientific American There’s a little too much wishful thinking about mindfulness, and it is skewing how researchers report their studies of the technique. Researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, analyzed 124 published trials of mindfulness as a mental-health treatment, and found that scientists reported positive findings 60% more often than is statistically likely. The team …

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Could Meditation Really Help Slow The Aging Process?

By James Kingsland for The Guardian It may seem unlikely, but a small and growing body of evidence suggests that regular meditation can indeed slow aging, at least at a cellular level. Do people who meditate age more slowly? It seems unlikely on the face of it. How could sitting immobile with one’s eyes closed, perhaps focusing on the breath, …

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Mindful Sex: Eyes Wide Open

by Jessica Graham Before mindful sex I was one of the many who have no interest (aka intense dread) in looking into my partner’s eyes while we had sex. The last thing I wanted to do was connect in such a intimate and vulnerable way with my partners. But meditation has a way of rearranging who we are and how …

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How Meditation Changes the Brain and Body

By Gretchen Reynolds for The NY Times Blog The benefits of mindfulness meditation, increasingly popular in recent years, are supposed to be many: reduced stress and risk for various diseases, improved well-being, a rewired brain. But the experimental bases to support these claims have been few. Supporters of the practice have relied on very small samples of unrepresentative subjects, like …

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Pain Relief with Mindfulness: The Safe Haven

by Michael W. Taft I remember throwing out my back one time, which caused terrible pain in one leg. I went to doctors, chiropractors, took medications, all of which helped. But still as I was walking around, it felt as if my leg was on fire, with hot lava swirling in the thigh and knee, burning my flesh. Searing pain …

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School-based Mindfulness May Reduce Stress, Trauma

By Andrew M. Seaman for Reuters Health Middle-school students in urban areas may benefit from in-school mindfulness programs, a new study suggests. Students taking a mindfulness-based stress reduction program during the school day ended up with less symptoms of stress and trauma than children attending classes on health topics, researchers found. “High-quality structured mindfulness programs have the potential to really …

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Mindful Listening For Better Relationships

by Jessica Graham At the beginning of my meditation classes we have a period of introductions and check ins. It’s a time to say, “Hello,” to the group and share anything going on with your practice or in your life. It can become quite emotional and intimate as people open up about what’s really going on. There is a deep …