Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing
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The Morality of Meditation: David DeSteno

The Morality of Meditation: David DeSteno | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it

MEDITATION is fast becoming a fashionable tool for improving your mind. With mounting scientific evidence that the practice can enhance creativity, memory and scores on standardized intelligence tests, interest in its practical benefits is growing. A number of “mindfulness” training programs, like that developed by the engineerChade-Meng Tan at Google, and conferences like Wisdom 2.0 for business and tech leaders, promise attendees insight into how meditation can be used to augment individual performance, leadership and productivity.

 

This is all well and good, but if you stop to think about it, there’s a bit of a disconnect between the (perfectly commendable) pursuit of these benefits and the purpose for which meditation was originally intended. Gaining competitive advantage on exams and increasing creativity in business weren’t of the utmost concern to Buddha and other early meditation teachers. As Buddha himself said, “I teach one thing and one only: that is, suffering and the end of suffering.” For Buddha, as for many modern spiritual leaders, the goal of meditation was as simple as that. The heightened control of the mind that meditation offers was supposed to help its practitioners see the world in a new and more compassionate way, allowing them to break free from the categorizations (us/them, self/other) that commonly divide people from one another.

 

But does meditation work as promised? Is its originally intended effect — the reduction of suffering — empirically demonstrable?

 

To put the question to the test, my lab, led in this work by the psychologist Paul Condon, joined with the neuroscientist Gaëlle Desbordes and the Buddhist lama Willa Miller to conduct an experiment whose publication is forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science. We recruited 39 people from the Boston area who were willing to take part in an eight-week course on meditation (and who had never taken any such course before). We then randomly assigned 20 of them to take part in weekly meditation classes, which also required them to practice at home using guided recordings. The remaining 19 were told that they had been placed on a waiting list for a future course.

 

After the eight-week period of instruction, we invited the participants to the lab for an experiment that purported to examine their memory, attention and related cognitive abilities. But as you might anticipate, what actually interested us was whether those who had been meditating would exhibit greater compassion in the face of suffering. To find out, we staged a situation designed to test the participants’ behavior before they were aware that the experiment had begun.

 

WHEN a participant entered the waiting area for our lab, he (or she) found three chairs, two of which were already occupied. Naturally, he sat in the remaining chair. As he waited, a fourth person, using crutches and wearing a boot for a broken foot, entered the room and audibly sighed in pain as she leaned uncomfortably against a wall. The other two people in the room — who, like the woman on crutches, secretly worked for us — ignored the woman, thus confronting the participant with a moral quandary. Would he act compassionately, giving up his chair for her, or selfishly ignore her plight?

 

The results were striking. Although only 16 percent of the nonmeditators gave up their seats — an admittedly disheartening fact — the proportion rose to 50 percent among those who had meditated. This increase is impressive not solely because it occurred after only eight weeks of meditation, but also because it did so within the context of a situation known to inhibit considerate behavior: witnessing others ignoring a person in distress — what psychologists call the bystander effect — reduces the odds that any single individual will help. Nonetheless, the meditation increased the compassionate response threefold.

 

Although we don’t yet know why meditation has this effect, one of two explanations seems likely. The first rests on meditation’s documented ability to enhance attention, which might in turn increase the odds of noticing someone in pain (as opposed to being lost in one’s own thoughts).

 

My favored explanation, though, derives from a different aspect of meditation: its ability to foster a view that all beings are interconnected. The psychologist Piercarlo Valdesolo and I have found that any marker of affiliation between two people, even something as subtle as tapping their hands together in synchrony, causes them to feel more compassion for each other when distressed. The increased compassion of meditators, then, might stem directly from meditation’s ability to dissolve the artificial social distinctions — ethnicity, religion, ideology and the like — that divide us.

 

Supporting this view, recent findings by the neuroscientists Helen Weng, Richard Davidson and colleagues confirm that even relatively brief training in meditative techniques can alter neural functioning in brain areas associated with empathic understanding of others’ distress — areas whose responsiveness is also modulated by a person’s degree of felt associations with others.

 

So take heart. The next time you meditate, know that you’re not just benefiting yourself, you’re also benefiting your neighbors, community members and as-yet-unknown strangers by increasing the odds that you’ll feel their pain when the time comes, and act to lessen it as well.

 


Via Jim Manske, Jone Johnson Lewis
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Nueva evidencia de que la meditación nos ayuda a ser más compasivos.

#bienestar

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Miklos Szilagyi's curator insight, July 7, 2013 11:56 AM

Actually, I like this very much...

Adrian Ivakhiv's curator insight, July 7, 2013 4:22 PM

The result -- that meditators are more likely to show empathy to a stranger -- is not surprising, but the proportion (three times as likely) is. The research base for this conclusion keeps growing...

Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing
Investigaciones y ensayos sobre la psicología de la felicidad y el bienestar.
Research and essays about the psychology of happiness and wellbeing.
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Eating more fruit and vegetables can substantially increase happiness levels

Eating more fruit and vegetables can substantially increase happiness levels | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
University of Warwick research indicates that eating more fruit and vegetables can substantially increase people's later happiness levels.
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Tu mamá tenía razón: comer más frutas y verduras te hace bien, ¡hasta te puede hacer más feliz!

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Association Between Suicide and Religious Service Attendance Among US Women

Association Between Suicide and Religious Service Attendance Among US Women | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Research from JAMA Psychiatry — Association Between Religious Service Attendance and Lower Suicide Rates Among US Women
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Las mujeres que asisten a servicios religiosos tiene una probabilidad 5 veces menor de suicidarse que las que no lo hacen.

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Penn Study Finds Well Being Necessary Part of Public Policy Agenda

Penn Study Finds Well Being Necessary Part of Public Policy Agenda | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
“Well being can and should drive public policy, from the most local to the most international
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

El bienestar debe ser parte central de las políticas públicas, según Alejandro Adler y Martin Seligman

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‘Not like rose-tinted glasses… like taking a pair of dirty glasses off’: A pilot intervention using positive emotions in expressive writing

(Available in free full text) Studies conducted in various contexts and with varied populations have found expressive writing enhances physical and psychological wellbeing. This pilot intervention study countered the predominantly quantitative evidence by adopting a qualitative methodology, exploring the experience of using positive emotions in expressive writing. Participants (n = 10), who all had previous experience in expressive writing, were asked to select one of ten positive emotion cards (PECs) each day for three days. Participants were then asked to write expressively through the ‘lens’ of their chosen emotion. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and experiences were evaluated using Thematic Analysis. The results identified two main themes that compared the experience of expressive writing both with and without the PECs. The first theme, Processing (without the PECs) contained three sub-themes: sense of relief, habitual perspective and reactive to experience. The second main theme, Progressing (with the PECs) contained three different sub-themes: sense of direction, changed perspective and interactive with experience. This study found that, for expressive writers, positive emotions may function in three ways: to relate to others or self-expand, to move past challenges cognitively or change unconstructive perspectives, and finally as a way to interactively link or ‘bridge’ from the written subject matter to constructive action, thus breaking cycles of reactive writing and rumination. Implications of the study on the practice of expressive writing and its potential as a positive psychology intervention (PPI) are discussed.


Via Dr James Hawkins
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

La escritura expresiva desde la perspectiva de las emociones positivas ayuda a cambiar de perspectiva, a expandirse o ampliar la relación con los otros y para disparar la acción constructiva.

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Dr James Hawkins's curator insight, May 13, 12:47 AM

Interesting ...

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How true grit drives success

How true grit drives success | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
What drives a person to become successful? That question fuels the research of psychologist Angela Duckworth. The 2013 MacArthur Fellow learned that grit is the best sign. Duckworth joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss her new book, "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance."
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"GRIT" = perseverancia y pasion a largo plazo. Angela Duckworth habla de c'omo esto predice el 'exito.

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8 Ways You Can Survive — And Thrive In — Midlife

8 Ways You Can Survive — And Thrive In — Midlife | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
One secret to midlife happiness is being a rookie at something. Trying new things and failing keeps you robust. Also, to revive a midlife marriage, mix things up: Hike, go dancing or set out in an RV.
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8 maneras de florecer en la madurez

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How Not to Explain Success

How Not to Explain Success | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
The controversial ‘Triple Package’ theory of why some people thrive is finally rigorously debunked.
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¿Qué es lo que mejor predice el éxito? La inteligencia y el nivel socioeconómico.

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3 Common Myths About the Teen Brain - Mindful

3 Common Myths About the Teen Brain - Mindful | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Dan Siegel, bestselling author of Brainstorm, on the subject.
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3 mitos sobre el cerebro adolescente

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The Difference Between a Happy Marriage and Miserable One: Chores

The Difference Between a Happy Marriage and Miserable One: Chores | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Couples without a system for household tasks can get very resentful, very quickly. A look at the results of an in-depth study of middle-class families.
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¿Qué puede hacer a un matrimonio bueno o malo? ¡las tareas del hogar!

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50 Greatest Positive Psychology Quotes

50 Greatest Positive Psychology Quotes | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
The viral post containing the greatest collection of Positive Psychology quotes ever! We tried to include everyone that is Who's Who of positive psychology.
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50 citas de psicología positiva

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The 5 most important findings from the science of happiness that apply at work

The 5 most important findings from the science of happiness that apply at work | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Happy workplaces are more profitable and innovative, attract the best employees and have lower absenteeism and employee turnover rates. Simply put, happy companies make more money. But how do you c…
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5 hallazgos sobre la felicidad que se aplican en el trabajo

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How to make a profit while making a difference

How to make a profit while making a difference | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Can global capital markets become catalysts for social change? According to investment expert Audrey Choi, individuals own almost half of all global capital, giving them (us!) the power to make a difference by investing in companies that champion social values and sustainability. "We have more opportunity today than ever before to make choices," she says. "So change your perspective. Invest in the change you want to see in the world."
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Una institución positiva gana dinero y al mismo tiempo tiene un impacto positivo en el mundo

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Forbes Welcome

Forbes Welcome page -- Forbes is a global media company, focusing on business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and lifestyle.
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

La diferencia entre ser "positivos" y ser "constructivos"

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Promoting Positive Affect through Smartphone Photography.

(Available in free full text) Background With the increasing quality of smartphone cameras, taking photos has become ubiquitous. This paper investigates how smartphone photography can be leveraged to help individuals increase their positive affect.  Methods Applying findings from positive psychology, we designed and conducted a 4-week study with 41 participants. Participants were instructed to take one photo every day in one of the following three conditions: a selfie photo with a smiling expression, a photo of something that would make oneself happy and a photo of something that would make another person happy.  Findings After 3 weeks, participants’ positive affect in all conditions increased. Those who took photos to make others happy became much less aroused. Qualitative results showed that those in the selfie group observed changes in their smile over time; the group taking photos to improve their own affect became more reflective and those taking photos for others found that connecting with family members and friends helped to relieve stress.  Conclusions The findings can offer insights for designers to create systems that enhance emotional well-being.


Via Dr James Hawkins
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Tomar fotos con el celular puede aumentar nuestro bienestar

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Dr James Hawkins's curator insight, July 10, 9:42 AM

Makes sense ...

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Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Preventing Depressive Relapse

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Preventing Depressive Relapse | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Opinion from JAMA Psychiatry — Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and the Prevention of Depressive Relapse — Measures, Mechanisms, and Mediators
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La terapia cognitiva basada en mindfulness alivia la depresión y previene las recaídas hasta por 5 años, más que las terapias que no están basadas en la atención plena

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Frontiers | The Busier the Better: Greater Busyness Is Associated with Better Cognition | Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience

Frontiers | The Busier the Better: Greater Busyness Is Associated with Better Cognition | Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Sustained engagement in mentally challenging activities has been shown to improve memory in older adults. We hypothesized that a busy schedule would be a proxy for an engaged lifestyle and would facilitate cognition. Here, we examined the relationship between busyness and cognition in adults aged 50-89. Participants (N = 330) from the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study completed a cognitive battery and the Martin and Park Environmental Demands Questionnaire (MPED), an assessment of busyness. Results revealed that greater busyness was associated with better processing speed, working memory, episodic memory, reasoning, and crystallized knowledge. Hierarchical regressions also showed that, after controlling for age and education, busyness accounted for significant additional variance in all cognitive constructs—especially episodic memory. Finally, an interaction between age and busyness was not present while predicting cognitive performance, suggesting that busyness was similarly beneficial in adults aged 50-89. Although correlational, these data demonstrate that living a busy lifestyle is associated with better cognition.
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Me quejo 

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Flourishing in nature: A review of the benefits of connecting with nature and its application as a wellbeing intervention

(Available in free full text) From the increasing number of people living in urban areas to the continued degradation of the natural environment, many of us appear to be physically and psychologically disconnected from nature. We consider the theoretical explanations and present evidence for why this state of affairs might result in suboptimal levels of hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing by reviewing the large body of research on the mental health benefits of connecting with nature. The advantages of contact with nature as a potential wellbeing intervention are discussed, and examples of how this research is being applied to reconnect individuals to nature and improve wellbeing are given. We conclude by considering the limitations of, and proposing future directions for, research in this area. Overall, evidence suggests that connecting with nature is one path to flourishing in life.


Via Dr James Hawkins
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Reseña de los mucho beneficios de estar en contacto con la naturaleza.

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The Wake-Up Call That Transformed Neuroscientist Richard Davidson's Life

The Wake-Up Call That Transformed Neuroscientist Richard Davidson's Life | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Sometimes, hearing the right question is just as critical as finding the right answer.
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Richard Davidson cuenta cómo empezó a estudiar las emociones positivas y el cerebro. Su conclusión es emocionante: podemos cambiar nuestro cerebro y podemos cambiar el mundo.

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EyN: En qué invertir el tiempo y la energía para tener una vida feliz

Margarita Tarragona's insight:

¿Qué es lo que más contribuye a la felicidad? 

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Scaling-up treatment of depression and anxiety: a global return on investment analysis - The Lancet Psychiatry

Scaling-up treatment of depression and anxiety: a global return on investment analysis - The Lancet Psychiatry | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

Además de su valor humano, invertir en tratar la depresión y la ansiedad reditúa en la salud y en la economía

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Data Mining Reveals the Four Urban Conditions That Create Vibrant City Life

Data Mining Reveals the Four Urban Conditions That Create Vibrant City Life | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
The lack of an evidence-based approach to city planning has ruined cities all over the world. But data-mining techniques are finally revealing the rules that make cities successful, vibrant places to live.
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4 condiciones que crean una ciudad vital

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Study: To Belong is to Matter: Sense of Belonging Enhances Meaning in Life

Study: To Belong is to Matter: Sense of Belonging Enhances Meaning in Life | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
One of the central tenets in Positive Psychology goes as follows: Other People Matter. It was coined by the late Christopher Peterson as the shortest possible summary of research on human wellbeing. Peterson wanted to make the point that having healthy relationships with family, friends, and coworkers turns out to be the strongest predictor of happiness (and oftentimes: health)…
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

El sentido de pertenencia es fundamental para encontrarle sentido a la vida

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See Beauty, Feel Happy

See Beauty, Feel Happy | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Claire Wheeler's tips on finding beauty and excellence every day
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Mira lo bello, sé feliz

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The Biology of Positive Habits

The Biology of Positive Habits | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Stress happens, especially in education. A packed schedule, a new request from administrators, papers to grade, an accidentally missed appointment, spilled coffee . . . your head pounds, your shoulders tense, your eyelids droop. You feel stuck. How can you get a better handle on this? One valuable, often overlooked, and durable way to manage stress is to build positive habits, slowly and over time. Our brains are hard-wired to focus on the negative, but by practicing mindfulness, we can reprogram them — teach our brains to accentuate positive experiences and maintain serenity.
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La biología de los hábitos positivos

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What's your workplace thinking style?

What's your workplace thinking style? | Psicología Positiva, Felicidad y Bienestar. Positive Psychology,Happiness & Wellbeing | Scoop.it
Understanding how you and others are thinking could help your business.
Margarita Tarragona's insight:

¿Cuál es tu estilo de pensamiento en el trabajo?

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