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New book by Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson describes four reasons why long-term meditation can lead to profound improvements in our minds, brains, and bodies

Mindfulness meditation is everywhere these days. From the classroom to the board room, people are jumping on the mindfulness bandwagon, hoping to discover for themselves some of its promised benefits, like better focus, more harmonious relationships, and less stress.

I too have started a mindfulness meditation practice and have found it to be helpful in my everyday life. But, as a science writer, I still have to wonder: Is all of the hype around mindfulness running ahead of the science? What does the research really say about mindfulness?  Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) beat usual care for chronic back pain

behavioral healthStudy finds mindfulness meditation offers relief for low-back pain (NIH release):

“Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may prove more effective than usual treatment in alleviating chronic low-back pain, according to Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 recent scientific studies on the value of mindfulness in education

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More and more studies are showing the potential benefits of mindfulness practices for students –to improve physical health, psychological well-being, social skills, even academic performance in some cases– as well as for teachers and administrators –primarily to reduce stress and burnout–.

To give you an update on the landscape of scientific research about the role of mindfulness in education, here goes our selection of ten recent studies, all of them recent randomized controlled trials, with brief descriptions of each Read the rest of this entry »

Under what conditions can mindfulness courses help health care workers manage stress and burnout?

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Medical professionals are burdened daily with the pain and suffering of patients. Many work long hours, and regularly face stressful situations. This burden does not come without consequence: 60 percent of physicians report having experienced burnout at some point in their careers.

Mindfulness courses designed to help health care workers Read the rest of this entry »

Meditation can Change the Structure of the Brain

(Editor’s Note: We are pleased to bring you this arti­cle by Jason Marsh, thanks to our col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Greater Good Mag­a­zine.)

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I consider myself something of a prospective meditator—meaning that a serious meditation practice is always something I’m about to start… next week. So for years, I’ve been making a mental note of new studies showing that meditation can literally change our brain structure in ways that might boost concentration, memory, and positive emotions.

The results seem enticing enough to make anyone drop into the full lotus position—until you read the fine print: Much of this research involves people who have meditated for thousands of hours over many years; some of it zeroes in on Olympic-level meditators who have clocked 10,000 hours or more. Pretty daunting.

Well, a new study offers some hope—and makes the benefits of meditation seem within reach even for a novice like me. The study, published in January in the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, suggests that meditating for just 30 minutes a day for eight weeks can increase the density of gray matter in brain regions associated with memory, stress, and empathy. Read the rest of this entry »

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