Regaining Balance

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The Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness Meditation May Ease Anxiety, Mental Stress.

Posted January 8, 2014 by Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

“Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says that mindfulness meditation makes perfect sense for treating anxiety.... One of her recent studies (which was included in the JAMA Internal Medicine review) found that a mindfulness-based stress reduction program helped quell anxiety symptoms in people with generalized anxiety disorder, a condition marked by hard-to-control worries, poor sleep, and irritability.”

University of Massachusetts Medical School

Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society

“Our work over the last thirty-four years has shown consistent, reliable, and reproducible demonstrations of major and clinically relevant reductions in medical and psychological symptoms across a wide range of medical diagnoses, including many different chronic pain conditions [Kabat-Zinn, 1982; Kabat-Zinn, Lipworth and Burney, 1985; Kabat-Zinn et al, 1986], other medical diagnoses [Kabat-Zinn and Chapman-Waldrop, 1988], and in medical patients with a secondary diagnosis of anxiety and/or panic [Kabat-Zinn et al, 1992; Miller et al, 1995], over the eight weeks of the MBSR intervention, and maintenance of these changes in some cs for up to four years of follow-up.”

“Breathing In vs. Spacing Out”

The New York Times, January 14, 2014

“Two and a half millenniums ago, a prince named Siddhartha Gautama traveled to Bodh Gaya, India, and began to meditate beneath a tree. Forty-nine days of continuous meditation later, tradition tells us, he became the Buddha—the enlightened one.

“More recently, a psychologist named Amishi Jha traveled to Hawaii to train United States Marines to use the same technique for shorter sessions to achieve a much different purpose: mental resilience in a war zone…‘We found that getting as little as 12 minutes of meditation a day helped the Marines to keep their attention and working memory—that is, the added ability to pay attention over time—stable,’ said Jha, director of the University of Miami's Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative. ‘If they practiced less than 12 minutes or not at all, they degraded in their functioning.’

“Jha, whose program has received a $1.7 million, four-year grant from the Department of Defense, described her results at a bastion of scientific conservatism, the New York Academy of Sciences, during a meeting on 'The Science of Mindfulness.'”. . . Michael Posner, of the University of Oregon, and Yi-Yuan Tang, of Texas Tech University, used diffusion tensor imaging before and after participants spent a combined 11 hours over two weeks practicing a form of mindfulness meditation developed by Tang. They found that it enhanced the integrity and efficiency of the brain's white matter, the tissue that connects and protects neurons emanating from the anterior cingulate cortex, a region of particular importance for rational decision-making and effortful problem-solving.”