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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Time to adopt Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as a public health intervention to ease depression?

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As near­ly 10,000 fresh­men and trans­fers arrived on cam­pus at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les, last fall, they were invit­ed to try some­thing nev­er before offered dur­ing stu­dent ori­en­ta­tion: depres­sion screen­ing.

The hope, admin­is­tra­tors explained, is that by iden­ti­fy­ing their risk for depres­sion, stu­dents can get the sup­port they need before they face the rig­ors of acad­e­mia and the dis­ori­ent­ing expe­ri­ence of liv­ing away at col­lege. Read the rest of this entry »

Mindfully debunking four meditation myths

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Mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion can help us lead hap­pi­er, health­i­er lives … at least accord­ing to sci­ence. Yet many of us still balk at the idea of prac­tic­ing it our­selves. Per­haps we fear that med­i­ta­tion is too new agey, or it might slow us down or lead to com­pla­cen­cy. Some might fear mind­ful­ness could come at the expense of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, Read the rest of this entry »

Study finds clear–yet surprisingly different–benefits in 3 types of meditation-based mental training

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As cit­i­zens of the 21st cen­tu­ry, we face many prob­lems that come with an indus­tri­al­ized and glob­al­ized world. I’m not a lawyer or a politi­cian, but a psy­chol­o­gist and neu­ro­sci­en­tist. So research on how to train help­ful men­tal and social capac­i­ties is my way to con­tribute to a more healthy, com­mu­nal, and coop­er­a­tive civ­i­liza­tion.

For the past five years, that research has tak­en the form of the ReSource Project, one of the longest and most com­pre­hen­sive stud­ies on the effects of med­i­ta­tion-based men­tal train­ing to date. Lots of research treats the con­cept of med­i­ta­tion as a sin­gle prac­tice, when in fact med­i­ta­tion encom­pass­es a diver­si­ty of men­tal prac­tices that train dif­fer­ent skills and dif­fer­ent parts of the brain. Our goal was to study the spe­cif­ic effects of Read the rest of this entry »

Want to feel more Calm, get some Headspace, and practice Mindfulness Daily?

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Let me ask again…want to feel more Calm, get some Head­space, and prac­tice Mind­ful­ness Dai­ly?

There are apps for that—hundreds of them, besides the three I just men­tioned.

These apps make a promise: Rather than invest­ing count­less hours and dol­lars in mind­ful­ness class­es or mind­ful­ness-based ther­a­py, we can choose to med­i­tate from the com­fort of our smart­phones. Users are flock­ing to mind­ful­ness apps in hopes of cul­ti­vat­ing kind atten­tion to their own thoughts and feel­ings, and of reap­ing the men­tal and phys­i­cal ben­e­fits that go along with mind­ful­ness.

But do they work? What does sci­ence say about mind­ful­ness apps? Read the rest of this entry »

Six tips for social-emotional learning (SEL) to transfer into real-world skills

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Social-emo­tion­al learn­ing (SEL) teach­es the key atti­tudes and skills nec­es­sary for under­stand­ing and man­ag­ing emo­tions, lis­ten­ing, feel­ing and show­ing empa­thy for oth­ers, and mak­ing thought­ful, respon­si­ble deci­sions. For five years, I was an edu­ca­tor in the field teach­ing mind­ful­ness and emo­tion­al skills to teenagers at six dif­fer­ent high schools.

Over and over, I saw the pow­er of mind­ful­ness to trans­form the inner lives of stu­dents. Stu­dents became less stressed, more self-reg­u­lat­ed, and more thought­ful toward their class­mates. But I also saw that Read the rest of this entry »

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