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Meat Is the New Tobacco

Meat Is the New Tobacco | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

When I think about the effect of animal products on human health, I'm reminded of how quickly we've done a national about face on tobacco, and I look forward to the day when we have a similar apology from someone who promoted animal products.

 

The West's three biggest killers -- heart disease, cancer, and stroke -- are linked to excessive animal product consumption, and vegetarians have much lower risks of all three. Vegetarians also have a fraction of the obesity and diabetes rates of the general population -- of course, both diseases are at epidemic levels and are only getting worse.

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Walking 2 Minutes An Hour Boosts Health, But It's No Panacea

Walking 2 Minutes An Hour Boosts Health, But It's No Panacea | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

Add two minutes of walking to each hour of your day and your risk of death drops. Even walking to the coffee machine counts.

 

We know that sitting all day is hazardous to our health, increasing the risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, inflammation and atherosclerosis. It all sounds pretty dismal, since many of today's jobs require us to be nearly glued to our computer screens. But a tiny two-minute break may help offset that hazard, researchers say.

 

People who got up and moved around for at least two minutes every hour had a 33 percent lower risk of dying, according to researchers the University Of Utah School Of Medicine.

 

But it's not enough to meet federal guidelines.

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Les SocialClubs's curator insight, Today, 9:08 AM

Une étude de l'université de médecine de l'Utah

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Tea-Drinking Tips For A Longer Life

Tea-Drinking Tips For A Longer Life | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

Researchers studying the Blue Zones, five regions around the world with lots of centenarians, have come up with this rule: "Drink coffee for breakfast, tea in the afternoon, wine at 5 p.m."

 

The people in these five regions in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the U.S. that live to be 100 have a lot going for them. Genes probably play a small role, but these folks also have strong social ties, tightly-knit families and lots of opportunity to exercise.

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Corporations' Newest Productivity Hack: Meditation

Corporations' Newest Productivity Hack: Meditation | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

In Mindful Work, Gelles, a business reporter for The New York Times, catalogues the nascent trend of establishing employee well-being programs that promote mindfulness, an activity that is perhaps best described as doing nothing. More precisely, mindfulness means drawing one’s attention to the sensations of the present moment, and noting, without frustration or judgment, any mental wanderings that get in the way. It can be done anywhere—at your desk, on the subway platform—and at any time. Decades of research suggest that setting aside time for mindfulness can improve concentration and reduce stress.

 

Gelles first reported on the rise of corporate mindfulness programs in 2012 for TheFinancial Times, when he described a rare but promising initiative at General Mills. In the years since, similar programs have popped up at Ford, Google, Target, Adobe—and even Goldman Sachs and Davos. This adoption has been rapid, perhaps due to its potential to help the bottom line: Aetna estimates that since instituting its mindfulness program, it has saved about $2,000 per employee in healthcare costs, and gained about $3,000 per employee in productivity. Mindful employees, the thinking goes, are healthier and more focused.

 

Pamir Kiciman's insight:

 

There's this rather significant tidbit right at the beginning of the interview. Wonder what Monsanto would be like today if this program had continued!

 

"Long before Google was teaching emotional intelligence courses in Mountain View, Monsanto, of all companies, tried mindfulness. They had a very progressive CEO for a moment there, who had a personal interest in this practice. He brought in a very skilled and experienced teacher named Mirabai Bush, and they began teaching mindfulness to the executives of the company.

 

These executives who had been in the corporate world for the duration of their careers suddenly were exposed to ways of thinking and ways of relating to themselves and to each other and even to their customers and maybe even to the planet, that they had never experienced before. Some people had these real, very emotional openings. Some people, I've heard, actually quit the company when this started to happen. It was starting to make a difference in the way some of the top executives at this company were thinking about the world.

 

And then of course what happened is the CEO got fired, they shut down the program, and no one ever mentioned it again. These things happen in corporate America."

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Why Teens Are Impulsive, Addiction-Prone And Should Protect Their Brains

Why Teens Are Impulsive, Addiction-Prone And Should Protect Their Brains | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

New research shows that teenagers' brains aren't fully insulated, so the signals travel slowly when they need to make decisions. Neuroscientist Frances Jensen, who wrote The Teenage Brain, explains.

 

This insulation process starts in the back of the brain and heads toward the front. Brains aren't fully mature until people are in their early 20s, possibly late 20s and maybe even beyond, Jensen says.

 

"The last place to be connected — to be fully myelinated — is the front of your brain," Jensen says. "And what's in the front? Your prefrontal cortex and your frontal cortex. These are areas where we have insight, empathy, these executive functions such as impulse control, risk-taking behavior."

 

This research also explains why teenagers can be especially susceptible to addictions — including drugs, alcohol, smoking and digital devices.

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Feeling Overwhelmed? Remember the "RAIN" Mindfulness Practice

Feeling Overwhelmed? Remember the "RAIN" Mindfulness Practice | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

In order to flower, self-compassion depends on honest, direct contact with our own vulnerability. Compassion fully blossoms when we actively offer care to ourselves.

 

The acronym RAIN, first coined about 20 years ago by Michele McDonald, is an easy-to-remember tool. It has four steps:

 

Recognize what is going on;
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
Investigate with kindness;
Natural awareness, which comes from not identifying
with the experience.

 

We each have the conditioning to live for long stretches of time imprisoned by a sense of deficiency, cut off from realizing our intrinsic intelligence, aliveness, and love. The greatest blessing we can give ourselves is to recognize the pain of this trance, and regularly offer a cleansing rain of self-compassion to our awakening hearts.

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Randy Bauer's curator insight, Today, 1:01 PM

The RAIN principle when applied to mindfulness. A reflection on how compassion begins with self-care.

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4 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude in Children

4 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude in Children | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

Someone once said it’s not what kind of world we’re leaving for our children, but what kind of children we’re leaving for our world. Kindness and a sense of gratitude are core values that we need to help encourage in children. 

 

Studies have shown that children who cultivate gratitude in their lives have better social relationships and do better in school. Being grateful actually contributes to our overall sense of well-being and helps increase our happiness. But, as any parent of a young child knows – especially during the holidays – encouraging gratitude in the midst of pressure for expensive or numerous gifts can be challenging.

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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, December 2, 2014 2:00 PM

Gratitude can be part of our daily conversations and what we experience each day in living.

 

@ivon_ehd1

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Why Walking Helps Us Think

Why Walking Helps Us Think | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it
Since at least the time of Greek philosophers, many writers have discovered a deep, intuitive connection between walking, thinking, and writing.

 

When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain. Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention. Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them.

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Train Your Brain To Feel More Compassion

Train Your Brain To Feel More Compassion | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

Scientific evidence shows that we can teach our brains to feel more compassion, both for others and ourselves. Many of us know that if we want to become more physically healthy, we can exercise. What if we want to improve our emotional health? Are there ways to train emotional “muscles” such as compassion? Would such training improve our lives?

Compassion meditation is an ancient contemplative practice to strengthen feelings of compassion towards different kinds of people. The feeling of compassion itself is the emotional response of caring and wanting to help when encountering a person’s suffering.

 

In a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, after only two weeks of online training, participants who practiced compassion meditation every day behaved more altruistically towards strangers compared to another group taught to simply regulate or control their negative emotions. Not only that, the people who were the most altruistic after receiving compassion training also were the individuals who showed the largest changes in how their brains responded to images of suffering. These findings suggest that compassion is a trainable skill, and that practice can actually alter the way our brains perceive suffering and increase our actions to relieve that suffering.

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Laura Hansen's curator insight, October 21, 2014 7:13 PM

Why is this so? My two cents from the "consciousness, we are nodes in a network being" perspective:


1. Awareness is Everything. When we direct our attention inward we can become aware of the universal frequency that flows through all life. Touching this frequency with our awareness immediately manifests it mentally, emotionally and physically as a deep knowing that we are of one self.


2. Universal Self Runs More of the Show. Touching this universal frequency manifests as the decision-making consciousness we use and identify with. Which means we make fewer decisions based upon one person's need only at the expense of another.

Ipnotica's curator insight, October 22, 2014 6:19 PM

Compassion - could it be the most valuable "skill" to have?

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Kids And Screen Time: What Does The Research Say?

Kids And Screen Time: What Does The Research Say? | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

Kids read emotions better after spending several days without electronic media, according to new research.

 

The UCLA researchers studied two groups of sixth-graders from a Southern California public school. One group was sent to the Pali Institute, an outdoor education camp in Running Springs, Calif., where the kids had no access to electronic devices. For the other group, it was life as usual.

 

At the beginning and end of the five-day study period, both groups of kids were shown images of nearly 50 faces and asked to identify the feelings being modeled. Researchers found that the students who went to camp scored significantly higher when it came to reading facial emotions or other nonverbal cues than the students who continued to have access to their media devices.

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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, October 2, 2014 2:15 PM

A worthwhile read. What are the challenges parents and teachers face as a result? Digital technology is here, but what can we do to help work with it mindfully?

 

@ivon_ehd1

Lon Woodbury's curator insight, October 7, 2014 12:39 AM

As the comments say, there were too many variables so this study is not very reliable.  However, it does seem enough to warrant more and better studies.  -Lon

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The Biology Of Altruism: Good Deeds May Be Rooted In The Brain

The Biology Of Altruism: Good Deeds May Be Rooted In The Brain | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it
Angela Stimpson donated a kidney to a complete stranger. Why did she do it? Researchers found that the brains of Stimpson and other altruists are sensitive to fear and distress in a stranger's face.

 

People like Stimpson are "extraordinary altruists," according to Abigail Marsh. She's an associate professor of psychology at Georgetown University and one of the country's leading researchers into altruism.

 

Marsh wanted to know more about this type of extraordinary altruism, so she decided to study the brains of people who had donated a kidney to a stranger.

 

The amygdala was significantly larger in the altruists compared to those who had never donated an organ. Additionally, the amygdala in the altruists was extremely sensitive to the pictures of people displaying fear or distress.

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Music Helps Kids' Brains Process Language

Music Helps Kids' Brains Process Language | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

Musical training doesn't just improve your ear for music — it also helps your ear for speech. That's the takeaway from an unusual new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers found that kids who took music lessons for two years didn't just get better at playing the trombone or violin; they found that playing music also helped kids' brains process language.

 

The brain depends on neurons. Whenever we take in new information — through our ears, eyes or skin — those neurons talk to each other by firing off electrical pulses. We call these brainwaves. With scalp electrodes, Kraus and her team can both see and hear these brainwaves.

 

Using some relatively new, expensive and complicated technology, Kraus can also break these brainwaves down into their component parts — to better understand how kids process not only music but speech, too. That's because the two aren't that different. They have three common denominators — pitch, timing and timbre — and the brain uses the same circuitry to make sense of them all.

 

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How To Live In The Moment And Get Work Done At The Same Time

How To Live In The Moment And Get Work Done At The Same Time | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it
Clearing your mind and living in the moment isn't about putting productivity on hold. You can be more profitable with less brain clutter.

 

A stretched-thin, stressed-out workplace is not the workplace of the future. It falls on business managers to change this culture and promote focus and compassion--a concept making the rounds in workplace circles known as “mindfulness.” This is the technique of tuning out the noise and focusing deliberately on what is important.

 

Studies have found that mindfulness at work can increase engagement, productivity, innovation, and measurable business results.

 

Focus, well-being, happiness, and compassion are skills that complement executive behaviors and can be learned, practiced, and mastered.

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How To Rewire Your Brain For Greater Happiness

How To Rewire Your Brain For Greater Happiness | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could hack into our own brains and rewire them to be happier?

 

Science has shown we actually can thanks to a phenomenon called experience-dependent neuroplasticity. "It’s a fancy term to say the brain learns from our experiences," says Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and author of the book Hardwiring Happiness. "As we understand better and better how this brain works, it gives us more power to change our mind for the better."

 

Understanding how our brains function can help us better control them.

 

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Are You Emotionally Intelligent? Here's How to Know for Sure

Are You Emotionally Intelligent? Here's How to Know for Sure | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

When emotional intelligence (EQ) first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into the broadly held assumption that IQ was the sole source of success.

 

Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as being the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. The connection is so strong that 90 percent of top performers have high emotional intelligence.

 

Emotional intelligence is the "something" in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.

 

Despite the significance of EQ, its intangible nature makes it difficult to measure and to know what to do to improve it if you're lacking. What follows are sure signs that you have a high EQ.

 

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Walking: The Secret Ingredient for Health, Wealth, and More Exciting Neighborhoods

Walking: The Secret Ingredient for Health, Wealth, and More Exciting Neighborhoods | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it
It's been called "America's untrendiest trend." The evidence that millions of people are finally walking again is as solid as the ground beneath our feet.

 

“Walking is the most common form of physical activity across incomes and ages and education levels,” explained Thomas Schmid of the federal CDC at a conference in Pittsburgh last fall. The CDC’s most recent researchshows that the number of Americans who walk for leisure or fitness at least once a week rose to 62 percent in 2010 from 56 percent in 2005—that’s almost 20 million more people on their feet.

 

Walking is already more prevalent across the United States than most of us realize. Paul Herberling of the U.S. Department of Transportation noted that 10.4 percent of all trips Americans make are on foot—and 28 percent of trips under a mile. For young people, it’s 17 percent of all trips. Americans walk most frequently for exercise, errands, and recreation, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

Last year the first ever Walking Summit was held in Washington, D.C., drawing more than 400 people from 41 states and Canada. A second summit is scheduled for October 28–30, 2015, in D.C.

 

The 2013 summit, which sold out weeks in advance, marked the birth of a new walking movement committed to: encouraging everyone to walk more; and boosting policies, practices, and investments that make communities everywhere more walkable. It was convened by the Every Body Walk! Collaborative, a joint effort involving more than 100 influential organizations across many fields to promote walking as part of the solution to problems ranging from chronic disease and health care costs, to climate change and the decline of community.

 

Walking also strengthens our social connections, which have been shown to be as important to health as physical activity, says Kaiser Permanente Vice-President Tyler. The more we are out walking, the more people in our community we come to know.

 

Americans overwhelmingly view walking as a good thing, according to a national survey . Here’s what it found:

 

-Good for my health (94 percent)

-Good way to lose weight (91 percent)

-Great way to relax (89 percent)

-Helps reduce anxiety (87 percent)

-Reduces feelings of depression (85 percent)

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How to Increase Compassion at Work

How to Increase Compassion at Work | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

Most would agree that we need more compassion to help reduce human suffering in the world. But few prioritize building compassion in the place where we spend most of our waking time—our jobs.

 

Research suggests that compassionate workplaces increase employee satisfaction and loyalty. A worker who feels cared for at work is more likely to experience positive emotion, which in turn helps to foster positive work relationships, increased cooperation, and better customer relations. Compassion training in individuals can reduce stress, and may even impact longevity. All of these point to a need for increasing compassion’s role in business and organizational life.

 

Now, some researchers want to make compassion training more convenient and appealing for those in the best position to spread its benefits: business leaders. Dan Martin from California State University, East Bay, and Yotam Heineberg of Palo Alto University—both visiting scholars at Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education—have come up with a promising format: compassion development dyads, or CDD for short. They hope that their CDD program will help to revolutionize the workplace.

 

CDD is a hybrid of compassion training and technology. Two people “meet” online via Skype for an hour a week for eight weeks to have structured discussions on topics gleaned from the science of personal and social well-being—topics like mindfulness, emotional literacy, and the importance of having a growth mindset.

 

The curriculum, based in large part on the work of researcher Paul Gilbert, the psychologist who pioneered compassion-focused therapy, helps people to become aware of how they typically respond to stress and threat in social and work situations, and then trains them to respond in more appropriate ways using tools like self-soothing, empathic listening, and compassion.

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Being a Kind Boss Pays Off

Being a Kind Boss Pays Off | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

 

There’s an age-old question out there: Is it better to be a “nice” leader to get your staff to like you? Or to be tough as nails to inspire respect and hard work? Despite the recent enthusiasm for wellness initiatives like mindfulness and meditation at the office, and despite the movement toward more horizontal organizational charts, most people still assume the latter is best.

 

The traditional paradigm just seems safer: be firm and a little distant from your employees. The people who work for you should respect you, but not feel so familiar with you that they might forget who’s in charge. A little dog-eat-dog, tough-it-out, sink-or-swim culture seems to yield time-tested results and keep people hungry and on their toes. After all, if you’re a leader who seems like you care a little too much about your employees, won’t that make you look “soft”? Won’t that mean you will be less respected? That employees will work less hard?

 

New developments in organizational research are providing some surprising answers to these questions.

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Thanksgiving and Gratitude: The Science of Happier Holidays

Thanksgiving and Gratitude: The Science of Happier Holidays | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

As the holiday shopping season moves into high gear, it’s easy to get caught up in the rush of spending. But consider this conclusion from recent scientific research: Materialistic people are less happy than their peers. They experience fewer positive emotions, are less satisfied with life and suffer higher levels of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

 

Why is this the case—and how can we avoid falling into the unhappiness trap of materialism this holiday season?

One answer has been emerging from social science: Cultivate a mind-set of gratitude. Gratitude is proving to be about much more than the occasional “thank you.” Instead, the principles of Thanksgiving give rise to a unique way of seeing the world.

 

The latest evidence suggests that, rather than simply being about good manners, the emotion of gratitude might have deep roots in humans’ evolutionary history, sustaining the social bonds that are key not only to our happiness but also to our survival as a species.

 

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Many older brains have plasticity, but in a different place

Many older brains have plasticity, but in a different place | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

Brain scientists have long believed that older people have less of the neural flexibility (plasticity) required to learn new things. A new study shows that older people learned a visual task just as well as younger ones, but the seniors who showed a strong degree of learning exhibited plasticity in a different part of the brain than younger learners did.

 

When many older subjects learned a new visual task, the researchers found, they unexpectedly showed a significantly associated change in the white matter of the brain. White matter is the the brain’s “wiring,” or axons, sheathed in a material called myelin that can make transmission of signals more efficient. Younger learners, meanwhile, showed plasticity in the cortex, where neuroscientists expected to see it.

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Curiosity: It Helps Us Learn, But Why?

Curiosity: It Helps Us Learn, But Why? | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it
New research suggests that curiosity triggers chemical changes in the brain that help us better understand and retain information.

 

What, exactly, is curiosity and how does it work? A study published in the October issue of the journal Neuron suggests that the brain's chemistry changes when we become curious, helping us better learn and retain information.

 

"There's this basic circuit in the brain that energizes people to go out and get things that are intrinsically rewarding," Ranganath explains. This circuit lights up when we get money, or candy. It also lights up when we're curious.

 

When the circuit is activated, our brains release a chemical called dopamine, which gives us a high. "The dopamine also seems to play a role in enhancing the connections between cells that are involved in learning."

 

Indeed, when the researchers later tested participants on what they learned, those who were more curious were more likely to remember the right answers.

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Laura Hansen's curator insight, October 30, 2014 11:14 AM

Creating a culture within your organization where curiosity is rewarded improves morale, inspires innovative problem-solving, reduces errors, and helps leaders and their teams have meaningful work relationships.


Building curiosity-centric exercises and staff development trainings is a great next step.


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Why Saying Is Believing — The Science Of Self-Talk

Why Saying Is Believing — The Science Of Self-Talk | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it
Self-help videos tell women to learn to love their bodies by saying nice things to themselves in the mirror. Can shushing your harshest critic actually rewire the brain?

 

David Sarwer is a psychologist and clinical director at the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania. He says that, in fact, a mirror is one of the first tools he uses with some new patients. He stands them in front of a mirror and coaches them to use gentler, more neutral language as they evaluate their bodies.

 

"Instead of saying, 'My abdomen is disgusting and grotesque,' " Sarwer explains, he'll prompt a patient to say, " 'My abdomen is round, my abdomen is big; it's bigger than I'd like it to be.' "

 

The goal, he says, is to remove "negative and pejorative terms" from the patient's self-talk. The underlying notion is that it's not enough for a patient to lose physical weight — or gain it, as some women need to — if she doesn't also change the way her body looks in her mind's eye.

 

This may sound weird. You're either a size 4 or a size 8, right? Not mentally, apparently.

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Finding Happiness by Cultivating Positive Emotions

Finding Happiness by Cultivating Positive Emotions | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

When people increase their daily diets of positive emotions, they find more meaning and purpose in life. They also find that they receive more social support—or perhaps they just notice it more, because they’re more attuned to the give-and-take between people. They report fewer aches and pains, headaches, and other physical symptoms. They show mindful awareness of the present moment and increased positive relations with others. They feel more effective at what they do. They’re better able to savor the good things in life and can see more possible solutions to problems. And they sleep better.

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Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Love to Write

Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Love to Write | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

James W. Pennebaker has been conducting research on writing to heal for years at the University of Texas at Austin. "When people are given the opportunity to write about emotional upheavals, they often experience improved health," Pennebaker writes. "They go to the doctor less. They have changes in immune function." 

 

Why? Pennebaker believes this act of expressive writing allows people to take a step back and evaluate their lives. Instead of obsessing unhealthily over an event, they can focus on moving forward. By doing so, stress levels go down and health correspondingly goes up.

 

Pamir Kiciman's insight:

This is why I'm a big proponent of journaling. I suggest it to everyone, and have journaled myself for many years. It's the time alone with one's inner realm that counts. It makes for interesting and revealing reading later on, and makes use of our ability to self-reflect in the best way. We must communicate with ourselves!

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The Mental and Emotional Benefits of Dancing

The Mental and Emotional Benefits of Dancing | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it

While you may be aware of the physical benefits of dancing, perhaps you didn’t know that it has an even more beneficial effect on your brain.

 

We have been dancing since prehistoric times, as a form of expression, celebration, or ritual. Dancing in a social setting causes the release of endorphins – the chemical in the brain that reduces stress and pain – resulting in a feeling of well being similar to what is known as “runners’ high.”

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You Should Spend Money on Experiences, Not Things

You Should Spend Money on Experiences, Not Things | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness | Scoop.it
Anticipation of a new experience is the best part, new data shows.

 

All of the studies indicated that anticipation of an experience is more exciting and pleasant than the anticipation of a material purchase — regardless of the price of the purchase.


One reason the research is important to society is that it “suggests that overall well-being can be advanced by providing an infrastructure that affords experiences—such as parks, trails, beaches—as much as it does material consumption."

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