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How Physical Fitness May Promote School Success

How Physical Fitness May Promote School Success | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |
Physically fit children absorb and retain new information more effectively than children who are out of shape, a new study finds, raising timely questions about the wisdom of slashing schools’ physical education programs.


Parents and exercise scientists (who, not infrequently, are the same people) have known for a long time that physical activity helps young people to settle and pay attention in school or at home, with salutary effects on academic performance. A representative study, presented in May at the American College of Sports Medicine, found that fourth- and fifth-grade students who ran around and otherwise exercised vigorously for at least 10 minutes before a math test scored higher than children who had sat quietly before the exam.

Melanie Greenberg's curator insight, October 6, 2013 2:12 AM

Exercise helps kids to focus and remember better.

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Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?

Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught? | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |
If everybody knows that test scores and grades aren’t the keys to success, how do we teach, and measure, the things that are?


Social-emotional learning, which is based on the idea that emotional skills are crucial to academic performance.


“Something we now know, from doing dozens of studies, is that emotions can either enhance or hinder your ability to learn,” Marc Brackett, a senior research scientist in psychology at Yale University, told a crowd of educators at a conference last June. “They affect our attention and our memory. If you’re very anxious about something, or agitated, how well can you focus on what’s being taught?”


Once a small corner of education theory, S.E.L. has gained traction in recent years, driven in part by concerns over school violence, bullying and teen suicide. But while prevention programs tend to focus on a single problem, the goal of social-emotional learning is grander: to instill a deep psychological intelligence that will help children regulate their emotions.


For children, Brackett notes, school is an emotional caldron: a constant stream of academic and social challenges that can generate feelings ranging from loneliness to euphoria. Educators and parents have long assumed that a child’s ability to cope with such stresses is either innate — a matter of temperament — or else acquired “along the way,” in the rough and tumble of ordinary interaction. But in practice, Brackett says, many children never develop those crucial skills. “It’s like saying that a child doesn’t need to study English because she talks with her parents at home,” Brackett told me last spring. “Emotional skills are the same. A teacher might say, ‘Calm down!’ — but how exactly do you calm down when you’re feeling anxious? Where do you learn the skills to manage those feelings?”


A growing number of educators and psychologists now believe that the answer to that question is in school. George Lucas’s Edutopia foundation has lobbied for the teaching of social and emotional skills for the past decade; the State of Illinois passed a bill in 2003 making “social and emotional learning” a part of school curriculums. Thousands of schools now use one of the several dozen programs, including Brackett’s own, that have been approved as “evidence-based” by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, a Chicago-based nonprofit. All told, there are now tens of thousands of emotional-literacy programs running in cities nationwide.

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When Empathy Hurts, Compassion Can Heal

When Empathy Hurts, Compassion Can Heal | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |
A new neuroscientific study shows that compassion training can help us cope with other people's distress.


Empathy can be painful. Or so suggests a growing body of neuroscientific research. When we witness suffering and distress in others, our natural tendency to empathize can bring us vicarious pain.


Is there a better way of approaching distress in other people? A recent study, published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, suggests that we can better cope with others’ negative emotions by strengthening our own compassion skills, which the researchers define as “feeling concern for another’s suffering and desiring to enhance that individual’s welfare.”


“Empathy is really important for understanding others’ emotions very deeply, but there is a downside of empathy when it comes to the suffering of others,” says Olga Klimecki, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany and the lead author of the study. “When we share the suffering of others too much, our negative emotions increase. It carries the danger of an emotional burnout.”

Pamir Kiciman's insight:

Such an important topic and distinction. I've been teaching this to my Reiki students for years and years. I'm glad there's now research being done about it. We can help others without causing harm to ourselves! We can help and still remain functional.

Dr. Amy Fuller's curator insight, August 24, 2013 12:40 AM

empathy works best when paired with compassion

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Monotasking Is The New Multitasking

Monotasking Is The New Multitasking | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

How can you get anything done when your tasks turn into competing preoccupations In this age of distraction it's all about monotasking. 


We all know multitasking is inefficient. A classic 2007 study of Microsoft workers found that when they responded to email or instant messaging alerts, it took them, on average, nearly 10 minutes to deal with their inboxes or messages, and another 10-15 minutes to really get back into their original tasks. That means that a mere three distractions per hour can preclude you from getting anything else done.


Then there’s the relationship “inefficiency” that comes from multitasking. You can spend hours rebuilding the good will torched by a single glance at your phone during an inopportune time. We know this, yet we keep doing it.


Fortunately, there are ways to learn to focus.

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To Guide Difficult Conversations, Try Using Compassion

To Guide Difficult Conversations, Try Using Compassion | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

Cultivating an intention to reduce a colleague's suffering and to address the offending behavior as the symptom of a larger problem can create a graceful, non-confrontational way to begin a dialogue that may well result in a workable solution. By contrast, when you accuse your colleague (or friend or family member) of some nefarious intent, you put that person on the defensive, which will likely perpetuate the negative behaviors.

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Memories, Photographs, and the Human Brain

Memories, Photographs, and the Human Brain | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

Memories of our experiences connect with one another and they are the basis of who we are as individuals. Memories of our experiences are called autobiographical memories and they rely on a brain region called the hippocampus.


If the hippocampus were to be taken out of your brain right now, you would be stuck in time and memories of new experiences would rapidly fade away. The hippocampus functions to create a seamless story of the self.


It’s pretty clear that there is a connection between human memory and the photographs we take. Simply put, a photo is information about past light that we can perceive in present time. Similarly, memories are the affects of our past experiences on our present self. Photographs can serve as memory storage and, when viewed, can activate memory recall.


The basis of our autobiographical memory is what happened, where it happened and when it happened. Similarly, the photos we take can store information of what, where and when. In this regard, a photograph is very much like a memory of a life event. Interestingly, doctored images may be more of an accurate analogy to memory, but that’s for another day.

Pamir Kiciman's insight:

As a photographer, I enjoyed the parallels drawn here...

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Digital Detox: Tech-Free Camps To Unplug

Digital Detox: Tech-Free Camps To Unplug | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

The overwhelming and endless stream of electronic alerts and messages on our computers, phones and tablets is driving demand for a new kind of summer camp for adults. "Technology-free" camps that force their campers to surrender their gadgets, wallets and that nagging "fear of missing out" — FOMO — are booking up fast.


Pamir Kiciman's insight:

Also see this story — Kids Unplugged: Summer Camps Ban Electronics:

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How Meditation Works

How Meditation Works | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

There are different forms of mediation practice -- among them Transcendental Meditation or "TM" (a Hollywood-approved technique heralded by David Lynch), Qigoing (a Chinese form of "energy healing"), and even yoga -- all of which carry their own array of benefits; however mindfulness meditation is one of the more widely used, and most heavily researched methods.


Two years ago researchers at Justus Liebig-University in Giessen, Germany and Harvard Medical School integrated decades of existing research into a comprehensive conjectural report, which explains the various neurological and conceptual processes through which mindfulness mediation works (and which recent studies have continued to affirm.)


The report suggests that mindfulness meditation operates through a combination of several distinct mechanisms: attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation, and a change in perspective on the self. Each component is believed to assist us in various aspects of our lives, and when functioning together, the cumulative process claims to lend an enhanced capacity for "self-regulation" -- the ability to control our own "thought, affect, behavior, or attention" (The loss of which has been cited as the cause of much psychological distress and suffering).


In other words, the researchers suggest that the practice allows us to develop a stronger command over the machinery of the mind, a dexterity which, according to a study released this week, stays with you long after you finish meditating.

Pamir Kiciman's insight:

As the first paragraph says, there are many methods of meditation (many more, in fact, than the ones mentioned here). It's quite a disservice to the historical tradition(s) of meditation that only a very few methods are dominating the field of research.


The scope of research is also limited (so far) to the cognitive, mental, neurological and sometimes behavioral benefits of meditation. It's still a good thing that meditation is getting such attention. Just be aware when reading about such studies that they are inherently limited, and meditation has far more depth and width.  

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The Heart of Meditation

The Heart of Meditation | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

The soul is already clear about who we are and what we want: it’s the mind that gets in the way, the intellect. As we connect with our own essence through meditation, we enliven its intelligence, and our connection to it.


Meditation is simply a time in which to plant a seed. Pay attention to the desires, practice, be a good listener, stay in your integrity, and pay attention to the clues along the way, and your desires will manifest.

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How Positive Emotions Lead to Better Health

How Positive Emotions Lead to Better Health | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

New research suggests that meditation or any other mood-enhancing activity can serve as a nutrient for the human body.


“Positive emotion, positive social connections, and physical health influence one another in a self-sustaining, upward-spiral dynamic,” concludes a research team led by psychologist Bethany Kok of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. It found upbeat emotions inspired by a meditative practice led to greater feelings of connectedness with others, which positively impacted “a biological resource that has been linked to numerous health benefits.”



Jared Broker's curator insight, June 19, 2013 5:50 PM

I think as we learn to become quiet and relaxed within, the stress chemicals go away.  Maybe this is us going back to our natural state.

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Channeling Depression Into a Powerful Tool for Creativity

Channeling Depression Into a Powerful Tool for Creativity | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

Decades of research have found that introversion, emotional sensitivity, and vulnerability to negativity—seeing the glass as half empty—are all common personality traits of highly creative people. They are also common symptoms of depression. In fact, artists and writers are eight to ten times as likely as the general population to suffer from mood disorders. Many studies speculate that this is because artists tend to examine their lives more deeply than the average person and that they draw on unpleasant experiences to feed their work.


“Creative people might be more likely to experience negative emotions,” says Wendy Berry Mendes, the Sarlo/Ekman associate professor of emotion at the University of California, San Francisco, who conducted a study while at Harvard University to look at how mood change can affect creativity. In one study, researchers measured levels of DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate), a hormone that when at lower-than-normal levels is associated with depression, before people received either harsh negative criticism or positive feedback in a mock job interview. Then the subjects were assigned a creative task. “Receiving negative compared to positive feedback was associated with enhanced creativity,” says Berry Mendes. “This was especially the case for individuals who had lower levels of DHEAS,” indicating they were predisposed to depression.

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The Life of Meditation

The Life of Meditation | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

Meditation is natural to life and the human experience. It’s natural, but because of conditioning it may at first seem challenging. It’s considered marginal or exotic, but the body-mind states it uncovers for us are all the various states we seek through other activities, both healthy ones and not so healthy ones. The benefits of meditation are lasting too. It doesn’t require special equipment, there’s no need for a student loan, you don’t have to go anywhere to meditate, and it enhances your days unlike anything else.

Pamir Kiciman's insight:

From my own Reiki Help Blog... Making meditation user-friendly.


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How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking

How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

Harvard Business Review


A study showed that people distracted by incoming email and phone calls saw a 10-point fall in their IQs. What's the impact of a 10-point drop? The same as losing a night of sleep. More than twice the effect of smoking marijuana.


Doing several things at once is a trick we play on ourselves, thinking we're getting more done. In reality, our productivity goes down by as much as 40%. We don't actually multitask. We switch-task, rapidly shifting from one thing to another, interrupting ourselves unproductively, and losing time in the process.


Roy Sheneman, PhD's curator insight, July 25, 2013 8:35 AM

Muti-tasking if largely over-rated and can be destructive if not managed

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Simple Lifestyle Changes can Reverse Aging at Cellular Level

Simple Lifestyle Changes can Reverse Aging at Cellular Level | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |
Moderate exercise, reducing stress and eating better can increase telomere length, which scientists associate with longer, healthier lives.


Lifestyle changes may turn back the biological clock, and reverse aging on a cellular level, new evidence shows. In a pilot study, researchers found that men who ate a better diet, exercised moderately and led a less stressful lifestyle over a few years, had an increase in the length of their telomeres — the caps at the ends of chromosomes that protect them from deterioration. 


Telomeres get shorter each time cells divide. When they have shrunk to a certain length, a cell may die or stop dividing. 


In the study, 10 men were asked to adopt a plant-based diet, do moderate exercise and stress-reducing activities such as meditation and yoga.

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Left Brain vs. Right: It's a myth, research finds

Left Brain vs. Right: It's a myth, research finds | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |
Participants in a new study used both sides of their brains equally, debunking the idea of left- or right-brain dominance.


Popular culture would have you believe that logical, methodical and analytical people are left-brain dominant, while the creative and artistic types are right-brain dominant. Trouble is, science never really supported this notion. 


Now, scientists at the University of Utah have debunked the myth with an analysis of more than 1,000 brains. They found no evidence that people preferentially use their left or right brain. All of the study participants — and no doubt the scientists — were using their entire brain equally, throughout the course of the experiment.

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10 Simple, Science-Backed Ways To Be Happier Today

10 Simple, Science-Backed Ways To Be Happier Today | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

Did you know that the perfect temperature for happiness is 13.9C Adjust your thermostat then check out these 10 quick tips for maximizing mirth.


1.  Exercise more—7 minutes might be enough
2.  Sleep more—you’ll be less sensitive to negative emotions
3.  Move closer to work--a short commute is worth more than a big house
4.  Spend time with friends and family--don’t regret it on your deathbed
5.  Go outside--happiness is maximized at 13.9°C
6.  Help others--100 hours a year is the magical number
7.  Practice smiling--it can alleviate pain
8.  Plan a trip--but don’t take one
9.  Meditate--rewire your brain for happiness
10. Practice gratitude--increase both happiness and life satisfaction

Maria Teresa Frezet terapeuta olistica's curator insight, August 21, 2013 3:09 AM

Often, when we take steps towards happiness, it all seems so slow.... But this is the perspective of the mind, Which is different from the soul!


When nothing seems to happen, let's remind to ourselves that our higher self knows exactly what to do and where to go! 


Once we have expressed a TRUE INTENTION to be happy, we will make it!

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Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness

Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |
People who are happy but have little-to-no sense of meaning in their lives have the same gene expression patterns as people who are enduring chronic adversity.


Happiness may not be as good for the body as researchers thought. It might even be bad. People who are happy but have little to no sense of meaning in their lives — proverbially, simply here for the party — have the same gene expression patterns as people who are responding to and enduring chronic adversity. That is, the bodies of these happy people are preparing them for bacterial threats by activating the pro-inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation is, of course, associated with major illnesses like heart disease and various cancers.

It’s important to understand that for many people, a sense of meaning and happiness in life overlap; many people score jointly high (or jointly low) on the happiness and meaning measures in the study. But for many others, there is a dissonance — they feel that they are low on happiness and high on meaning or that their lives are very high in happiness, but low in meaning. This last group, which has the gene expression pattern associated with adversity, formed a whopping 75 percent of study participants. Only one quarter of the study participants had what the researchers call “eudaimonic predominance” — that is, their sense of meaning outpaced their feelings of happiness.

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Is Your Work Playlist Helping Or Hurting You?

Is Your Work Playlist Helping Or Hurting You? | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

Unfamiliar music makes you more productive--no, wait, it makes you less productive. Which one is it?


Depends. As SoundCloud has said, since sound is fundamental to humanity, its possibilities are infinite. One of those possibilities is helping to mitigate the distractedness of the open office--where all that yabbering pulls you away from the work you're doing. But the right music can pull you back in, as Michele Hoos observes for the Daily Muse.


Listening to your favorite songs is a transactionless kind of positivity--but it can have its costs.


She cites Your Playlist Can Change Your Life, a pop psych book that explores how music affects us. Soundwaves are potent stuff, the authors explain: After smell, music is the "fastest, most user-friendly way to influence and reset your brain networks without using an external substance."


Trippy. So how do we use it?


Pamir Kiciman's insight:

It has to be just the right kind of music. After some testing and experience with your personal proclivities, it becomes easier to find the right sounds for the job at hand. Having eclectic taste helps too.

Andy Galicki's curator insight, October 13, 2013 10:06 PM

According to this article, the types of music that you listen to while doing something can greatly influence your productivity. Supposedly if you listen to your favorite songs while you work, you actually get less done due to the fact that you want to focus on that music as opposed to doing the work you were supposed to. On the contrary, if you listen to music that you are unfamiliar with, you are more likely to not get attached to it and so you will focus more on the task at hand.

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The Morality of Meditation

The Morality of Meditation | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

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.


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

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Beyond McMindfulness

Beyond McMindfulness | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

Uncoupling mindfulness from its ethical and religious Buddhist context is understandable as an expedient move to make such training a viable product on the open market. But the rush to secularize and commodify mindfulness into a marketable technique may be leading to an unfortunate denaturing of this ancient practice, which was intended for far more than relieving a headache, reducing blood pressure, or helping executives become better focused and more productive.


While a stripped-down, secularized technique -- what some critics are now calling "McMindfulness" -- may make it more palatable to the corporate world, decontextualizing mindfulness from its original liberative and transformative purpose, as well as its foundation in social ethics, amounts to a Faustian bargain. Rather than applying mindfulness as a means to awaken individuals and organizations from the unwholesome roots of greed, ill will and delusion, it is usually being refashioned into a banal, therapeutic, self-help technique that can actually reinforce those roots.

Pamir Kiciman's insight:

This is an excellent critique of the mindfulness fad seen nowadays in corporations, publishing houses, scientific research circles and popular culture.

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Meditation’s Effects on Emotion Shown to Persist

Meditation’s Effects on Emotion Shown to Persist | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

Meditation affects a person’s brain function long after the act of meditation is over, according to new research.


“This is the first time meditation training has been shown to affect emotional processing in the brain outside of a meditative state,” said Gaelle Desbordes, Ph.D.

Dr. Amy Fuller's curator insight, August 7, 2013 11:36 PM

Meditation really does change our mood...and it's lasting change.

Damon Baragwanath's curator insight, August 19, 2013 10:59 PM

Personally I practice daily meditation and subjectively can vouch for the research results. Even without undergoing elaborate laboratory tests. Because you quite simply, feel the benefits yourself.


At a research level it has been well documented that meditation influences the nuerotransmitters in your brain, normalises blood pressure, reduces depression, anxiety and facilitates healing on the Physical, Mental and Emotional planes.


To conclude, if you've never experienced meditation then I highly recommend giving it a go. Although please begin slowly, be patient with yourself set small bite-size goals along the way e.g. On your intital meditation practice I'd recommend trying it for 10-15 mins and then over time increase your sessions by perhaps 5 mins each week up to a mximum of 30-60 mins.Ensure that you are warm and comfortable and focus soley on your breath - in and out, deep and slow whilst allowing thoughts to filter in and out of your mind.


Thank you

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How Imagination Shapes Your Reality

How Imagination Shapes Your Reality | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

Western thinkers have tended to draw a line between reality—that which we “actually” experience—and imagination, seen as a frivolous, dreamlike diversion. For millennia, though, spiritual contemplatives and artists have taken flights of fancy much more seriously and challenged the firmness of that line. And surprising recent advances in neuroscience, particularly in the field of brain scanning, have added support to their conviction that our imagination and sense of reality are closely intertwined. The human capacity for imagination not only shapes our minds but also weaves the fabric of reality itself.

Maria Teresa Frezet terapeuta olistica's curator insight, June 20, 2013 4:49 PM

Once we understand the great power we have to create our reality, then we start clearing up our thoughts and emotions because we definetly want to create a plesant life!!!!


Some suggestions? Let's start learning how we are and what we feel inside by observing the reactions that we arouse in other people...Let's understand that only through this sort of "mirror effect" we can actually get to know ourselves and change our world!


This is the main idea of Thanks Attitude. By accepting the theory of the mirror, the consequence is gratitude towards people and situations that are on our way to show us parts we wouldn't be able to see on our own.

Marty Roddy's curator insight, August 15, 2013 7:30 PM

Open the mind and spirit.......

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The Power of the Creative Arts

The Power of the Creative Arts | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

A recent analysis of past studies highlights the health benefits of music, dance, and art therapy.


On the whole, people with cancer who were assigned to creative arts treatments reported less depression, anxiety, and pain and a better quality of life during the programs than those who were put on a wait list or continued receiving usual care. For example, in one 2010 study, listening to half an hour of familiar music cut reported pain levels at least in half for 42 percent of hospitalized patients, while just eight percent of those in a comparison group saw relief.

Jeff Hairston's curator insight, October 7, 2013 3:21 AM

I've experienced significant healing via artistic creativity.

It works.

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5 Steps to Clear Mental Clutter

5 Steps to Clear Mental Clutter | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

Clutter is anything that gets in the way of what matters most to you. It can certainly be material—unwanted trinkets and clothes that no longer fit—but clutter also can be spiritual, emotional, and psychological.


Regrets, anger, frustrations, anxieties, envy, and other nonproductive emotions may be depleting your limited energy. And, unfortunately, mental clutter doesn’t magically disappear; the only way to alleviate mental clutter is to deal with it.



Roy Sheneman, PhD's curator insight, July 25, 2013 8:22 AM

Clear the path to increased energy and focus.

Dr. Amy Fuller's curator insight, August 7, 2013 11:19 PM

practical and helpful

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Sacred Moments: Influencing our Stress and Well-Being

Sacred Moments: Influencing our Stress and Well-Being | Meditation Compassion Mindfulness |

Empirical research suggests that, in considering an approach to pursuing a lifestyle conducive to good overall health and well-being, an important factor is cultivating a sense of sacredness in one's life. Recent studies show a high positive connection between the way we think and feel in relation to the sacred and well-being. Some studies suggest that connecting with the transcendent and experiencing a transcendent sense of self foster well-being. Other studies find that well-being is positively correlated with a sense of support from the transcendent in areas such as marriage, parenting, healthy family relationships, and sustaining physical health.


What are sacred qualities? Sacred qualities were defined as having two components:


1) They inherently possess spiritual qualities as defined by Lynn Underwood and the World Health Organization, such as gratefulness, feeling of connection with and support from the transcendent, sweet-sadness, awe, compassion, and/or a deep sense of inner peace.


2) They are imbued with descriptive qualities such as precious, dear, blessed, cherished, and/or holy.

Pamir Kiciman's insight:

For further insight take a look at my post "Spirituality: The Unifying Bond of Life"

Sam Asiata's curator insight, May 10, 2013 10:21 PM

When wanting to maintain a healthy and physical relationship with one's self; being aware of differentiated methods from both the past and present can help to determine whether it will lead to success or mishap.

The BioSync Team's curator insight, May 12, 2013 12:43 PM

The true task of spiritual life is not found in faraway places or unusual states of consciousness; it is here in the present. It asks of us a welcoming spirit to greet all that life presents to us with a wise, respectful and kindly heart.
— Jack Kornfield

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