Thursday, 28 August 2014

New Website - Daoscape

This blog is becoming less active since the author has gained a qualification to teach Western secular mindfulness and has created a new website containing information and articles here:

Monday, 7 July 2014

Daily Mail News: Stressed at work? Meditating really does work - and you'll see a difference in just three days, say researchers

On 4th July 2014, The Daily Mail online posted an article in the Science section titled: Stressed at work? Meditating really does work - and you'll see a difference in just three days, say researchers.

Here are some key quotes:
"Meditating can have an almost instant effect on reducing stress, researchers have found. 
For the study, Creswell and his research team had 66 healthy individuals aged 18-30 years old participate in a three-day experiment.  Some participants went through a brief mindfulness meditation training program; for 25 minutes for three consecutive days, the individuals were given breathing exercises to help them monitor their breath and pay attention to their present moment experiences.  Published in the journal 'Psychoneuroendocrinology,' the study investigates how mindfulness meditation affects people's ability to be resilient under stress. 
Each individual reported their stress levels in response to stressful speech and math performance stress tasks, and provided saliva samples for measurement of cortisol, commonly referred to as the stress hormone.  The participants who received the brief mindfulness meditation training reported reduced stress perceptions to the speech and math tasks, indicating that the mindfulness meditation fostered psychological stress resilience.  More interestingly, on the biological side, the mindfulness meditation participants showed greater cortisol reactivity. 
'When you initially learn mindfulness mediation practices, you have to cognitively work at it — especially during a stressful task,' said Creswell.  'And, these active cognitive efforts may result in the task feeling less stressful, but they may also have physiological costs with higher cortisol production."  Creswell's group is now testing the possibility that mindfulness can become more automatic and easy to use with long-term mindfulness meditation training, which may result in reduced cortisol reactivity."

Saturday, 28 June 2014

TIME: 25 Minutes of This Will Get Rid of Your Stress

On 27th June 2014, TIME online published an article in the Health > Mental Health/Psychology section titled: 25 Minutes of This Will Get Rid of Your Stress.

Here are some key quotes:

"Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University investigated how effective mindfulness meditation can be in countering the body’s stress response.
They randomly assigned 66 volunteers to either participate in mindful meditation for 25 minutes for three days, or go through a cognitive training program in which they learned how to analyze poetry passages. The people who meditated reported less stress, and even showed that they were better at coping with stress compared to those who relied on their behavior training.
The new study, published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, is not the first to show the positive effects of mediation [sic]."

Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Guardian: Mindful eating? How to get more from your meals

On 23rd June 2014, The Guardian online published an article in the Life & Style>Live Better section titled: Mindful eating? How to get more from your meals.

Here are some key quotes:
"...mindful eating, the newest offshoot from meditation folks Headspace, the wildly popular secular app created by Andy Puddicombe, a witty ex-Buddhist monk, and his business partner, Rich Pierson. It’s an online course, split into three levels (each is 10 days long requiring around 10 minutes a day) to be done whenever you feel like it, wherever is convenient.
The approach is less about calorie counting, more about increasing your awareness of what you are eating. In other words, eat cake, just think about what you’re eating and why you’re eating it.
The idea is to listen to the app before you cook and adapt your behaviour accordingly by approaching food in a focused way, thinking about the ingredients, where they come from, how they smell, then examining how they taste, how they move on your tongue. It sounds overly holistic but in practice, pretty sensible. The first few days are tough. Before meals, mindful eaters are asked to rate how hungry they are. I mentally note my level of "mind chatter" (distraction) and how I feel, out of 10. After I’ve eaten I ask myself the same questions."

ABC News: Happy snap your way to inner calm

On 20th June 2014, ABC News published an article online in the Health & Wellbeing>Features section titled: Happy snap your way to inner calm.

Here are some key quotes:
"In 2012, Johnstone created "I had a black dog", a whimsical five-minute video about depression, for the World Health Organisation. He has also written and illustrated books about depression, meditation and the practice of mindfulness, which he describes as "being more aware of what you're doing and [being] more present".

Johnstone now works as creative director at the mental health organisation Black Dog Institute and says mindfulness played a key part in his recovery from depression. (For more about the growing body of evidence that mindfulness can be helpful in managing mental illnesses, see Meditation: the healing force of a quiet mind.)
...a mobile phone camera is the perfect tool for an "eyes-wide-open" meditation on the go. And the beauty of using your phone camera is you probably have it with you all the time. (Just make sure you switch it to aeroplane mode first so you're not distracted by texts, tweets and the like, he says.)
"A camera in your hands is the reminder to consciously slow everything down from your breath, to your walk, to your thoughts... To take photographs, we have to stop, look around, focus and capture. It brings our awareness to what's going on [here and now]."
When we do this, we start to realise we're often surrounded by "beautiful light, beautiful shapes, beautiful colours. But all too often, we just pass them by".
"It doesn't matter what the photograph is, the important thing is the process.""

BBC News: Game of Thrones star Flynn meditation lessons for pupils

On 15th June 2014, BBC News online posted an article in the UK>Wales section titled: Game of Thrones star Flynn meditation lessons for pupils.

Here are some key quotes:
"GCSE students at Ysgol Dewi Sant are taking an eight-week course in relaxation and meditation to reduce exam stress.
Actor Flynn, who lives in the county, visited the school to talk to students.
Head teacher David Hayes said it was helping pupils concentrate in lessons, and focus on their exams.
Head teacher David Haynes said he has been impressed with the results: "The impact has been outstanding in terms of stress relief, concentration for lessons, and the wider world of performing on stage and sports activities.
In some parts of Wales free courses have been set up by the NHS and a parliamentary committee has begun examining whether it could improve outcomes in a variety of public policy areas including business and education."

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

The Guardian - Mindfulness: 'I was just more chilled afterwards'

On 4th June 2014, The Guardian online published an article containing contributions from Labour MP David Lammy in the Life & style > Live Better: Health and Wellbeing section titled: Mindfulness: 'I was just more chilled afterwards'.

Here are some key quotes:
"Finding 10 minutes a day to practice it was among Dr Laura Marshall-Andrews's key recommendations for boosting health and wellbeing. As David explains below, he was keen to learn more about mindfulness and how it would benefit him. [...]
It's really good to be self-aware. I like the state of being self-aware, it's interesting when you start to look at your own habits. I've had friends and family getting in touch about the challenge. One friend, a lawyer, rang me up and was laughing and picking my brains about what he should be doing."