20 Mindfulness Meditation Benefits

[Credits]

Here are 20 beneficial reasons why you might want mindfulness meditation in your daily life:

1. It lowers stress — literally. Research published just last month in the journal Health Psychology shows that mindfulness is not only associated with feeling less stressed, it’s also linked with decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

2. It lets us get to know our true selves. Mindfulness can help us see beyond those rose-colored glasses when we need to really objectively analyze ourselves. A study in the journal Psychological Science shows that mindfulness can help us conquer common “blind spots,” which can amplify or diminish our own flaws beyond reality.

3. It can make your grades better. Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that college students who were trained in mindfulness performed better on the verbal reasoning section of the GRE, and also experienced improvements in their working memory. “Our results suggest that cultivating mindfulness is an effective and efficient technique for improving cognitive function, with widereaching consequences,” the researchers wrote in the Psychological Science study.

4. It could help our troops. The U.S. Marine Corps is in the process of seeing how mindfulness meditation training can improve troops’ performance and ability to handle — and recover from — stress.

5. It could help people with arthritis better handle stress. A 2011 study in the journal Annals of Rheumatic Disease shows that even though mindfulness training may not help to lessen pain for people with rheumatoid arthritis, it could help to lower their stress and fatigue.

6. It changes the brain in a protective way. University of Oregon researchers found that integrative body-mind training — which is a meditation technique — can actually result in brain changes that may be protective against mental illness. The meditation practice was linked with increased signaling connections in the brain, something called axonal density, as well as increased protective tissue (myelin) around the axons in the anterior cingulate brain region.

7. It works as the brain’s “volume knob.” Ever wondered why mindfulness meditation can make you feel more focused and zen? It’s because it helps the brain to have better control over processing pain and emotions, specifically through the control of cortical alpha rhythms (which play a role in what senses our minds are attentive to), according to a study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

8. It makes music sound better. Mindfulness meditation improves our focused engagement in music, helping us to truly enjoy and experience what we’re listening to, according to a study in the journal Psychology of Music.

9. It helps us even when we’re not actively practicing it. You don’t have to actually be meditating for it to still benefit your brain’s emotional processing. That’s the finding of a study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, which shows that the amygdala brain region’s response to emotional stimuli is changed by meditation, and this effect occurs even when a person isn’t actively meditating.

10. It has four elements that help us in different ways. The health benefits of mindfulness can be boiled down to four elements, according to a Perspectives on Psychological Science study: body awareness, self-awareness, regulation of emotion and regulation of attention.

11. It could help your doctor be better at his/her job. Doctors, listen up: Mindfulness meditation could help you better care for your patients. Research from the University of Rochester Medical Center shows that doctors who are trained in mindfulness meditation are less judgmental, more self-aware and better listeners when it comes to interacting with patients.

12. It makes you a better person. Sure, we love all the things meditation does for us. But it could also benefit people we interact with, by making us more compassionate, according to a study in the journal Psychological Science. Researchers from Northeastern and Harvard universities found that meditation is linked with more virtuous, “do-good” behavior.

13. It could make going through cancer just a little less stressful. Research from the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine shows that mindfulness coupled with art therapy can successfully decrease stress symptoms among women with breast cancer. And not only that, but imaging tests show that it is actually linked with brain changes related to stress, emotions and reward.

14. It could help the elderly feel less lonely. Loneliness among seniors can be dangerous, in that it’s known to raise risks for a number of health conditions. But researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that mindfulness meditation helped to decrease these feelings of loneliness among the elderly, andboost their health by reducing the expression of genes linked with inflammation.

15. It could make your health care bill a little lower. Not only will your health benefit from mindfulness meditation training, but your wallet might, too. Research in the American Journal of Health Promotion shows that practicing Transcendental Meditation is linked with lower yearly doctor costs, compared with people who don’t practice the meditation technique.

16. It comes in handy during cold season. Aside from practicing good hygiene, mindfulness meditation and exercise could lessen the nasty effects of colds. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Health found that people who engage in the practices miss fewer days of work from acute respiratory infections, and also experience a shortened duration and severity of symptoms.

17. It lowers depression risk among pregnant women. As many as one in five pregnant women will experience depression, but those who are at especially high risk for depression may benefit from some mindfulness yoga. “Research on the impact of mindfulness yoga on pregnant women is limited but encouraging,” study researcher Dr. Maria Muzik, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, said in a statement. “This study builds the foundation for further research on how yoga may lead to an empowered and positive feeling toward pregnancy.”

18. It also lowers depression risk among teens. Teaching teens how to practice mindfulness through school programs could help them experience less stress, anxiety and depression, according to a study from the University of Leuven.

19. It supports your weight-loss goals. Trying to shed a few pounds to get to a healthier weight? Mindfulness could be your best friend, according to a survey of psychologists conducted by Consumer Reports and the American Psychological Association. Mindfulness training was considered an “excellent” or “good” strategy for weight loss by seven out of 10 psychologists in the survey.

20. It helps you sleep better. A University of Utah study found that mindfulness training can not only help us better control our emotions and moods, but it can also help us sleep better at night. “People who reported higher levels of mindfulness described better control over their emotions and behaviors during the day. In addition, higher mindfulness was associated with lower activation at bedtime, which could have benefits for sleep quality and future ability to manage stress,” study researcher Holly Rau said in a statement.

Evening Lamp Sloka/Hymn in Sanskrit

Evening Lamp Sloka/Hymn

शुभं करोति कल्याणमारोग्यं धनसंपदा ।
शत्रुबुद्धिविनाशाय दीपज्योतिर्नमोऽस्तुते ॥
Shubham Karoti Kalyaannam-Aarogyam Dhana-Sampadaa |
Shatru-Buddhi-Vinaashaaya Diipa-Jyotir-Namostute ||

Meaning:
1: (Salutations to the Light of the Lamp) Which Brings AuspiciousnessHealth and Prosperity,
2: Which Destroys Inimical FeelingsSalutations to the Light of the Lamp.

दीपज्योतिः परब्रह्म दीपज्योतिर्जनार्दनः ।
दीपो हरतु मे पापं दीपज्योतिर्नमोऽस्तुते ॥
Diipa-Jyotih Para-Brahma Diipa-Jyotir-Janaardanah |
Diipo Haratu Me Paapam Diipa-Jyotir-Namostute ||

Meaning:
1: (Salutations to the Light of the Lamp) The Light of the Lamp represents the Supreme Brahman, the Light of the Lamp represents Janardhana (Sri Vishnu),
2: Let the Light of the Lamp Remove My SinsSalutations to the Light of the Lamp.

Credits: http://greenmesg.org/mantras_slokas/others-shubham_karoti_kalyanam.php

 

Eckhart Tolle Reveals How to Silence Voices in Your Head | Super Soul Sunday

How To Silence Voices in your head (VIDEO of Eckhart Tolle & Oprah)

Here’s to going with the self care step of listening to our Spiritual Leaders:

Enjoy!

Top Three Mental Health Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D aka the “sunshine vitamin” is not only the only vitamin made by the human body from – you guessed it – sunshine, but it’s also the only vitamin that is a hormone. This one of a kind vitamin is essential for pretty much all…

Source: Top Three Mental Health Benefits of Vitamin D

To Find Stillness in a Crazy World

Credits: Susie Moore

Life is described as many things, but rarely is it referred to as peaceful, calm, or still. Our lives are a busy juggle of work, chores, responsibilities to ourselves and others and many unexpected things that creep up day to day. Sometimes meditation, quiet reflection and even time alone seem like a distant dream within our hectic lives.

 

So what can we do? Apart from feel helpless and put it in the “I’ll worry about that quiet-time-for-myself-stuff later” basket? The good news is that stillness is within us. We do not need a quiet garden, secluded beach or a zen room with candles flickering before us in order to find it. The amazing thing about our personal power is that we can be still, wherever we are and whatever we are doing. It is a conscious and very empowering choice.

 

Street Meditator

Here are five tips for creating stillness with ease within your everyday life:

1. Breathe. Whether you are on the subway, on a conference call, in the line at Starbucks, be aware of your breath. Take a few deep, slow breaths and notice how your body and mind feel as you tune into them and slow down for even 60 seconds.

2. Give yourself a minimum of 30 minutes of electronic downtime. It is surprising how many people go through all of their waking hours with a tablet, phone, TV or laptop constantly present, including as we fall asleep at night. I like what is referred to as the “electronic sundown” with no electronics active in the hour leading up to bed. Better sleep is much more likely this way, too!

3. Wake up 15 minutes earlier. This is a trick many successful people take advantage of. They wake sooner, before the world is awake and before the wheels start turning on all of life’s demands. Take those minutes just for you and just be present in your body. It can center you and change your mindset for the whole day.

4. Be aware that you create your own energy. External conditions do not. Marianne Williamson said in her book A Return to Love, “Everything we do is infused with the energy in which we do it. If we’re frantic, life will be frantic. If we are peaceful, life will be peaceful.”

5. Learn from some of the greatest spiritual teachers. Apply their wisdom often by making stillness and calmness your daily mantra. Deepak Chopra recently said to Oprah on her Super Soul Sunday (when she commented how extremely busy he is and how tricky it was to get him on the show), “My body is busy, my mind is still.”

 

Remember, your internal conditions create your external conditions. Peace begins with you.

Seven Types of Self-Care Activities for Coping with Stress

Credits:  Barbara Markway Ph.D.

When we’re stressed, self-care is often the first thing to go. Why is this?

1. Our brains go into fight-or-flight mode and our perspective narrows. We don’t see we have options—options for coping with stress and making ourselves feel better.

2. We’re so busy trying to solve problems that we’re stuck in “doing mode”—trying to get more and more done—when switching to “being mode” may be just the break we need.

3. We may not have a “go to” list of self-care activities. Self-care has to become a habit, so that when we’re dealing with stress, we remember that, “Hey, I need to take care of myself in this situation.” And, you need a variety of activities to try—if one doesn’t work, you can switch to another. Like my Self-Compassion Facebook page for daily self-care inspiration!

Fortunately, there are several pathways to self-care, and none of them need be difficult or take a lot of planning:

SENSORY  

When you feel stressed and need a calm mind, try focusing on the sensations around you—sights, smells, sounds, tastes, touch… This will help you focus on the present moment, giving you a break from your worries.

Breathe in fresh air.

Snuggle under a cozy blanket.

Listen to running water.

Sit outdoors by a fire-pit, watching the flames and listening to the night sounds.

Take a hot shower or a warm bath.

Get a massage.

Cuddle with a pet.

Pay attention to your breathing.

Burn a scented candle.

Wiggle your bare feet in overgrown grass.

Stare up at the sky.

Lie down where the afternoon sun streams in a window.

Listen to music.

PLEASURE

A great way to take care of yourself when you’re coping with stress is to engage in a pleasurable activity. Try one of these ideas.

Take yourself out to eat.

Be a tourist in your own city.

Garden.

Watch a movie.

Make art. Do a craft project.

Journal.

Walk your dogs.

Go for a photo walk.

MENTAL/MASTERY  

You can also give yourself a boost by doing a task that you’ve been avoiding or challenging your brain in a novel way. 

Clean out a junk drawer or a closet.

Take action (one small step) on something you’ve been avoiding.

Try a new activity.

Drive to a new place.

Make a list.

Immerse yourself in a crossword puzzle.

Do a word search.

Read something on a topic you wouldn’t normally.

146174-148334.jpeg

SPIRITUAL

Getting in touch with your values—what really matters—is a sure way to cope with stress and foster a calm mind. Activities that people define as spiritual are very personal. Here are a few ideas:

Attend church.

Read poetry or inspiring quotes.

Light a candle.

Meditate.

Write in a journal.

Spend time in nature.

Pray.

List five things you’re grateful for.

EMOTIONAL

Dealing with our emotions can be challenging when we’re coping with stress. We tend to label emotions as “good” or “bad,” but this isn’t helpful. Instead:

Accept your feelings. They’re all ok. Really.

Write your feelings down. Here’s a list of feeling words.

Cry when you need to.

Laugh when you can.  (Try laughter yoga.)

Practice self-compassion.

PHYSICAL

Coping with stress by engaging the body is great because you can bypass a lot of unhelpful mental chatter. It’s hard to feel stressed when you’re doing one of these self-care activites:

Try yoga.

Go for a walk or a run.

Dance.

Stretch.

Go for a bike ride.

Don’t skip sleep to get things done.

Take a nap.

SOCIAL

Connecting with others is an important part of self-care. This can mean activities such as:

Go on a lunch date with a good friend.

Calling a friend on the phone.

Participating in a book club.

Joining a support group.

It can also mean remembering that others go through similar experiences and difficulties as we do. 

We’re not alone. 

Simply acknowledging that we’re all part of this human experience can lessen isolation and lead to a calm mind. 

10 Tips for Addiction Recovery

CreditsDr. Urschel and Enterhealth LLC (National Geographic Channel)

Anyone who is in addiction recovery or seeking help for the first time should understand that alcohol and drug addiction is a disease, not a morale failing or a weakness of willpower or a lack in ability to just say ‘no’.

Addiction cannot be cured, but it can be managed.   Getting help from a professional that approaches addiction as a disease is first step to a successful recovery.  By following the recommendations of experienced professionals with access to the latest advances in therapy and medicine, individuals will have the best chance at recovery and bright and happy future.

Here are 10 key tips for making a successful recovery:

1.      Make your recovery a priority – put yourself first and stay in touch with trained professionals who know you and can provide you with comprehensive treatment options and sound advice throughout your recovery.

2.      Take it one day at a time – recovery is a process, not a destination.  Do not let thoughts of use or old habits get the best of you.  Learn techniques to overcome any negative thoughts and feelings

3.      Communicate – addiction can be very isolating so talk to your friends and family about your challenges.  While it may be tough, the support system you create will give you an enormous boost.  They will be there when you need them and will help you stay motivated and focused.

4.      Change your environment – one of the best ways to maintain a healthy recovery is to replace your bad habits with healthy, new ones.  Surround yourself with positive people, things and experiences.  Search out cultural events and activities in your area that can stimulate your body and mind in a new, exciting – and healthy way.

5.      Change your friends – some of your friends may have been enabling your addiction instead of helping you control it.  If you have friends that may jeopardize your recovery, it is time to find a new circle of friends.  The right friends will help you to maintain a healthy recovery.

6.      Get out and exercise – spending 30-60 minutes walking or at the gym will just a few days a week will do wonders for you.  Exercise will not only boost your physical strength, it will boost your mental health as well.

7.      Improve your diet – in addition to exercise, eating right is another key ingredient to a successful recovery.  Whether you get help or do it on your own, improvements in diet will make you healthier mentally and physically.

8.      Join a support group – whether you join a church based group, AA or other social support network, they can provide wonderful value, help and wisdom to your recovery efforts

9.      Work or donate some of your time – being productive at your job or giving back to a cause you believe it will do wonders for your self-esteem.  Making a positive contribution at work or for others will give you a wonderful sense of accomplishment and pride.

10.   Never give up – whatever you do, regardless of the challenges or obstacles you face, do not give up or give in to the disease.  Rely on your family, friends and support tools to keep going in the face of temptations and difficult days.

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