Many people with a form of anxiety characterized by overworrying find that they spend an excessive amount of time pondering either the future or the past. New research published this month in Science suggests that doing so worsens our mood. Does this very human tendency to get caught up in thoughts about the past and future affect you? [Read more…]
Stress is unavoidable. However, we handle stress is often within our control. There are good ways and bad ways to handle stress, and meditation is considered a healthy stress reduction strategy.
To lower our stress levels, we can either reduce the number of stressors in our lives or we can try to reduce the effect of these stressors. Research suggests that meditation helps us reduce stress by limiting the extent to which each stressor bothers us. As a result, our overall stress levels [Read more…]
A recent and important research study out of neuro-imaging researcher Sara Lazar’s lab (my old lab) at Massachusetts General Hospital was published in late January. The study found changes in the structure of the brains in people who completed an eight-week class in mindfulness meditation. This result is another piece of evidence that that the adult brain can experience far more physical changes than previously thought.
This study suggests that we can change our brains in just [Read more…]
For several reasons, mindfulness and meditation have been the subject of more and more well executed scientific research over the past twenty years. Much of this research has investigated the effect of meditation on mood and on the brain’s ability to regulate emotion. Other research has investigated the capacity for meditation to [Read more…]
An article in the New York Times health section today, entitled “Lotus Therapy,” describes the increasingly prevalent use of mindfulness techniques in psychotherapy over the past ten years. The article describes the state of research on the use of mindfulness meditation as “thin,” and indeed the evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness’ use for anxiety and depression is not as substantial as the evidence for cognitive-behavioral therapy or antidepressant medication. However, the research that has been conducted to this point paints a picture of mindfulness meditation as [Read more…]