[S]cientists say that meditators…may be benefiting from changes in their brains. The researchers report that those who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had measurable changes in gray-matter density in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.
Posts Tagged ‘stress’
Positive Vibes Really Do Protect Health (PsychCentral):
An evidence-based review of published literature finds support for the premise that feeling good may be good for your health…“We all age. It is how we age, however, that determines the quality of our lives,” said Anthony Ong, Ph.D., of Cornell University, author of the review article. The data he reviews suggest that positive emotions may be a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and illness.
–Almost three in 10 (29 percent) residents report having a great deal of stress (defined as an 8, 9 or 10 on a scale of 1 to 10), compared to 24 percent of Americans overall.
–LA residents are more likely than Americans overall to point to the economy as a source of stress (75 percent vs. 65 percent) and less likely to cite family responsibilities (47 percent vs. 58 percent).
–The percentage of individuals who report feeling stressed out at work jumped significantly, from 29 percent in 2009 to 39 percent in 2010.
True for you? You’re not alone.
Yoga, meditation, pets, nature, and 15 other mood helpers.
Meditation Can Improve Brain Function (PsychCentral)
New study finds new connection between yoga and mood (ScienceDaily)
The Psychology of Nature (Wired)
Robert Sapolsky–spotlighted in the previous post’s link–talks humanness (beginning at 5:00).
The list of ailments connected to stress is staggeringly diverse and includes everything from the common cold and lower-back pain to Alzheimer’s disease, major depressive disorder, and heart attack. Stress hollows out our bones and atrophies our muscles. It triggers adult-onset diabetes and is a leading cause of male impotence. In fact, numerous studies of human longevity in developed countries have found that psychosocial factors such as stress are the single most important variable in determining the length of a life.
Worry a lot? To consider: The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts. You may know Alan Watts from oft-broadcast lectures–eager audience hanging on every wryly wise, British-accented utterance. (Lectures can be sampled via this podcast or downloads around the net.)
In this short book, Watts takes on worry and anxiety–a.k.a. insecurity. He argues that to live is to be insecure; all we be can certain about is the present moment. He encourages awareness, mindfulness, acceptance–Buddhist principles all adopted as central tenets of many therapy approaches (ACT, DBT, MBSR…) since the book was penned in 1951. Here’s a sample, about acceptance:
The human organism has the most wonderful powers of adaptation to both physical and psychological pain. But these can only come into full play when the pain is not being constantly restimulated by this inner effort to get away from it, to separate the “I” from the feeling. The effort creates a state of tension in which the pain thrives. But when the tension ceases, mind and body begin to absorb the pain as water reacts to a blow or a cut.