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."

The Guardian: Mindfulness, purpose and the quest for productive employees

On 3rd June 2014, The Guardian online published an article in the Professional > Guardian Sustainable Business section titled: Mindfulness, purpose and the quest for productive employees.

Here are some key quotes:
"In addition to Google's various lauded - and often lampooned - perks, which include everything from on-site massage therapists to a fleet of bikes for employees to use at will, the tech company routinely offers employees workshops in skills to boost their wellbeing and productivity, ranging from yoga to the popular "search inside yourself" class (now also a book), which teaches mindfulness.

Google may have blazed the trail when it comes to employee satisfaction, but it has been joined by legions of tech companies in the last year, particularly in Silicon Valley and the UK, which currently find themselves in the middle of another dot-com style talent war.
"In tight labor markets like California, you really do have to be good at this to retain talent," says Jane Dutton, PhD, professor of business administration and psychology at University of Michigan. "It was more trendy before and I think it's now real economic imperatives, but there are multiple imperatives, it's not just about retention and the attraction of talent."
Within the positive organizational universe, the experts tend to divide into two camps: those who feel that employee happiness hinges largely on a sense of purpose, and those who feel that relationships are the secret sauce. Dutton falls into the latter camp. "Having positive relationships at work is seen as a major predictor of employee engagement, and that's a major driver of customer engagement," she says.
When it comes to cultivating health and well-being among workers, Dutton says that the most important consideration is community. "Meaning or purpose is part of it, but I would bet on positive relationships," she explains. "Evidence on the almost instantaneous effect of positive human connections on people's bodies convinces me that if I had to choose whether my workplace had purpose or positive connections, I'd bet on connections.""

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Guardian: How two minutes of mindfulness can calm a class and boost attainment

On 3rd June 2014, The Guardian online posted an article in the Professional > Teacher Network section titled: How two minutes of mindfulness can calm a class and boost attainment.

Here are some key quotes:
"Caroline Woods teaches year one and two at The Dharma primary school in Brighton and starts her class every day with a few minutes of silent mindfulness practice. She says getting the children to sit still and in silence isn't the struggle you might imagine. Students actually look forward to a time when all they have to do is stop, be calm and listen.
Although teaching at the school is based on Buddhist values, Woods insists the practice is not about religion or philosophy, it's about gaining control of your negative thoughts and emotions. These skills not only help young people cope with academic stress, but also enable them to deal better with the pains of growing up and day-to-day pressures of life outside the school gates.
"The whole process of mindfulness has the knock-on effect of making people more receptive and open," Woods explains. "What we are trying to do is help them become more aware of themselves in a non-judgemental way. By the time the students leave in year six, they have an emotional intelligence and a set of skills that really equip them to cope with everyday life."
...take a very short pause in the middle of whatever you're doing. This can be done at school by inviting students to stop what they are doing, close their eyes and recognise what is happening in their mind and body right now. Then focus on the breath and really feel a sense of contact with the floor. It can take just two minutes, but once done, students are often ready to carry on in a much calmer way.
Any mindfulness programme in school must, however, start with the teachers. Former teacher Claire Kelly is operations director for the Mindfulness in Schools project which offers training and resources for teachers. She says it is vital the teacher embodies the practice if the students are to follow suit.
"If you are not living the mindfulness principles yourself, the kids will know, they will be very cynical and you will probably put them off," she says. "Likewise, if you teach them a lovely mindfulness lesson and then go out and kick the photocopier in the corridor, they will notice."
"You are giving them a toolkit. Whether they use those skills is up to them, but the chances are they will draw on them at some stage.""

Reuters: Aerobics for the brain? Fitness experts praise mindfulness meditation

On 2nd June 2014 Reuters posted an article titled: Aerobics for the brain? Fitness experts praise mindfulness meditation.

Here are some key quotes:
"Fitness experts call it bicep curls for the brain and aerobics for the mind. Whatever the name, athletes and gym addicts are discovering how mindfulness meditation can enliven a workout routine and invigorate a sports performance.
They say that mindfulness meditation, which focuses on the present moment to clear the mind, can help an exerciser overcome boredom and an athlete zero in on the task at hand.
“Mindfulness meditation is a hot topic actively studied in sports medicine,” said Gregory Chertok, a sports psychology consultant with the American College of Sports Medicine.

The art of living in the present moment is a critical skill in sports, Chertok said, because all performance occurs in the present and lamenting past failures can lead to muscle tension, anxiety and mental chatter that impairs concentration.
He said recent research indicated that meditation improves attention and sharpens impulse control.
One 2014 study published in the Psychological Science journal showed that 15 minutes of focused-breathing meditation may help athletes and exercisers make smarter choices.
“Among the factors that prevent people from exercising is fear of boredom,” said Chertok, who advises clients to use the many meditation apps that are available. “I know a lot of athletes do,” he said.

“If you think you have no time to meditate, how much time do you spend worrying?” she said."