More and more people are seeing benefits from learning and practicing mindfulness, both in decreasing stress and stress-related illnesses, as well as in improving their mental health in learning how to let go of painful thoughts or [Read more…]
How long should you meditate?
The increased popularity and research evidence for mindfulness and meditation has led many people to integrate meditation into their lives. For some people meditation is a way to stay centered and feel sane; for others it’s a way to manage anxiety; for others it’s a way to deal with stress, attention deficits, or other difficulties. Whatever the reason people practice meditation, many ask, “How long should I meditate?” This very simple question, however, does not have a straightforward answer. [Read more…]
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 finding is another example of scientists finding
evidence that that the brain can experience far more physical changes than previously thought. This study suggests that we can change our brains in just [Read more…]