More help via mindfulness, this time for elementary school kids in Watts:
Mindfulness has been found beneficial for stress reduction, anxiety and depression, dietary challenges, addiction recovery, and many other conditions. Now it has found its way into a classroom where children as young as three are using its techniques to manage emotions and stay calm.
Using a strategy called Calm Classroom, Los Angles students, ranging from transitional kindergartners to fifth graders, are being guided by teachers three times during the school day through three-minute mindfulness exercises. The drills call on students to refocus their attention on deep breathing, relaxation, and body awareness.
Haven’t tried it? For some free, short, guided meditations, check out UCLA’S Mindful Awareness Research Center.
Interesting study, by Dr. Carl Hart, written up in the New York Times:
At the start of each day, as researchers watched behind a one-way mirror, a nurse would place a certain amount of crack in a pipe — the dose varied daily — and light it. While smoking, the participant was blindfolded so he couldn’t see the size of that day’s dose.
Then, after that sample of crack to start the day, each participant would be offered more opportunities during the day to smoke the same dose of crack. But each time the offer was made, the participants could also opt for a different reward that they could collect when they eventually left the hospital. Sometimes the reward was $5 in cash, and sometimes it was a $5 voucher for merchandise at a store.
When the dose of crack was fairly high, the subject would typically choose to keep smoking crack during the day. But when the dose was smaller, he was more likely to pass it up for the $5 in cash or voucher.
“They didn’t fit the caricature of the drug addict who can’t stop once he gets a taste,” Dr. Hart said. “When they were given an alternative to crack, they made rational economic decisions.”
A study finds a possible explanation why men are twice as likely as women to become alcoholics.
Dopamine has multiple functions in the brain, but is important in this context because of its pleasurable effects when it is released by rewarding experiences, such as sex or drugs…Despite similar consumptions of alcohol, the men had greater dopamine release than women.
PsychCentral: Train Brain To Reduce Cravings.
Smokers who are taught cognitive strategies, such as thinking about the long-term consequences of smoking, show increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with cognitive control and rational thought.
WebMD: Internet Overuse May Cause Depression.
Researchers say that their work suggests that teens who use the Internet pathologically may be about 2.5 times more likely to develop depression than teens who are not addicted to the Internet.
Jane Brody looks at smoking.
[O]ver the course of a day, as the brain continues to be exposed to nicotine, partial tolerance develops and each subsequent cigarette produces less of an effect. But during sleep, nicotine comes off the receptors and smokers awaken with an intense craving for a cigarette.
One in eight ER visits due to mental health and/or substance abuse.
New government statistics show that nearly 12 million visits made to U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2007 involved people with a mental disorder, substance abuse problem, or both.
PsychCentral: Relationship Breakup Similar to Addiction Withdrawal
Rejection by a romantic partner is a bitter pill. New research suggests the trauma is severe because love rejection affects primitive areas of the brain associated with motivation, reward and addiction cravings…
A.A., then and now: After 75 Years, We Don’t Know How It Works. David Brooks weighs in here.
In a culture that thinks of itself as individualistic, A.A. relies on fellowship. The general idea is that people aren’t really captains of their own ship. Successful members become deeply intertwined with one another — learning, sharing, suffering and mentoring one another. Individual repair is a social effort.
Also on this site, a list of 12-step programs in L.A. Whether you’re aiming at recovery or not, if you’ve never been to a 12-step meeting, they’re well worth checking out. (Make sure it’s an open meeting–outsiders welcome.)