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Simple wisdom for complex lives. Quotes, tips & stories to help us help ourselves and each other.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been an effective intervention for decades, but few clinicians have discovered the powerful treatment of combining CBT with Mindfulness.Clinical psychologist and mindfulness expert Dr. Richard Sears has created a practical, engaging skills manual that clearly defines the principles of CBT and then demonstrates steps for integrating mindfulness practices into therapy -- all drawing from the latest research. Straight-forward explanations and dozens of worksheets provide fresh insights and new tools to move therapy forward when treating stress, anxiety, panic, depression, pain, trauma, addictions, and other issues.

Mindfulness neuroscience is an emerging research field that investigates the underlying mechanisms of different mindfulness practices, different stages and different states of practice as well as different effects of practice over the lifespan. Mindfulness neuroscience research integrates theory and methods from eastern contemplative traditions, western psychology and neuroscience, and from neuroimaging techniques, physiological measures and behavioral tests. We here review several key theoretical and methodological challenges in the empirical study of mindfulness neuroscience and provide suggestions for overcoming these challenges.

In this study, the authors both developed and validated a self-report mindfulness measure, the Toronto Mindfulness Scale (TMS). In Study 1, participants were individuals with and without meditation experience. Results showed good internal consistency and two factors, Curiosity and Decentering. Most of the expected relationships with other constructs were as expected. The TMS scores increased with increasing mindfulness meditation experience. In Study 2. criterion and incremental validity of the TMS were investigated on a group of individuals participating in 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction programs. Results showed that TMS scores increased following treatment, and Decentering scores predicted improvements in clinical outcome. Thus, the TMS is a promising measure of the mindfulness state with good psychometric properties and predictive of treatment outcome. Keywords: Toronto Mindfulness Scale; self-report assessment: mindfulness; meditation; psychometric characteristics
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The study of emotional signaling has focused almost exclusively on the face and voice. In 2 studies, the authors investigated whether people can identify emotions from the experience of being touched by a stranger on the arm (without seeing the touch). In the 3rd study, they investigated whether observers can identify emotions from watching someone being touched on the arm. Two kinds of evidence suggest that humans can communicate numerous emotions with touch. First, participants in the United States (Study 1) and Spain (Study 2) could decode anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude, and sympathy via touch at much-better-than-chance levels. Second, fine-grained coding documented specific touch behaviors associated with different emotions. In Study 3, the authors provide evidence that participants can accurately decode distinct emotions by merely watching others communicate via touch. The findings are discussed in terms of their contributions to affective science and the evolution of altruism and cooperation.
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ABSTRACT: For most of this past century, scholarship on the topics of personality and emotion has emerged from the humanities and social sciences. In the past decade, a remarkable change has occurred in the influence of neuroscience on the conceptualization and study of these phenomena. This article argues that the categories that have emerged from psychiatric nosology and descriptive personality theory may be inadequate, and that new categories and dimensions derived from neuroscience research may produce a more tractable parsing of this complex domain. The article concludes by noting that the discovery of these biological differences among individuals does not imply that the origins of these differences lie in heritable influences. Experiential shaping of the brain circuitry underlying emotion is powerful. The neural architecture provides the final common pathway through which culture, social factors, and genetics all operate together.
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In the present review of recent empirical research, the authors point to ways by which meditation may complement the traditional goals of the academy by helping to develop traditionally valued academic skills as well as help to build important emotional and interpersonal capacities that foster psychological well-being and the development of the whole person.

Since its introduction to the behavioral science research community 25 years ago, interest in mindfulness has burgeoned. Much of that interest has been among clinical researchers testing the efficacy of mindfulness-based or mindfulness-integrated interventions for a variety of conditions and populations, and this volume is testament to the vitality of investigation and diversity of applied knowledge that now exist in the field. In the last 5 years or so, researchers have also become interested in describing and operationalizing the mindfulness construct itself. This more recent line of work is important for four reasons: The first concerns the basic scientific principle that a phenomenon can be studied only if it can be properly defined and measured.
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Reviews progress toward the development of a cognitive theory of aptitude for learning and presents descriptive and prescriptive goals for aptitude theories. Preliminary hypotheses about the nature of cognitive processes in aptitude for learning from instruction are reviewed. 12 constituent points of the descriptive theory are presented. Some of these points are summary conclusions on much prior research, whereas others are less well supported at present. However, all contribute to the effort to describe learning and aptitude for learning in conformable terms. Some prescriptive implications of the theory, intended as hypotheses for instructional development and design research in particular locations, are also discussed. (102 ref)

The orientation of this volume and the Longevity and Optimal Health: Integrating Eastern and Western Perspectives conference is that there is abundant evidence in the scientific and medical literatures that the diligent practice of certain yoga-meditational regimens can lead to a spectrum of health enhancements, ranging from modest to profound, and that these can be investigated in a scientifically rigorous fashion. This overview will summarize these possibilities regarding improved human longevity, regeneration, and protection of health and serve to introduce the perspectives of conference participants from all of the traditions represented.

We compared the relative effects of 5 weeks of either concentration or loving-kindness meditation (CM, LKM) on mindfulness (including two subscales—presence and acceptance) and affect using a multiple baseline ABA design. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) indicated that 48–71 % of the total variance was attributable to individual differences. While meditating, CM practitioners experienced progressive increases in mindfulness and acceptance, while LKM practitioners exhibited increases in mindfulness, presence, and positive affect. When practitioners ceased meditation, those in the CM condition declined in mindfulness, acceptance, and positive affect throughout the cessation period. Individuals in the LKM group showed a progressive decrease in presence and a singular drop in negative affect immediately following meditation. There was a dissociation between acceptance and presence, with CM influencing the former and LKM the latter. Because mindfulness and positive affect did not decrease after the meditation period for the LKM group, these results suggest that LKM may induce more enduring changes in these variables. However, while meditation-specific HLMs indicated differences between meditation types, a combined HLM with both meditation conditions showed no group differences in the meditation or cessation phases of the study. More substantial were individual differences in response to meditation; these point to the necessity of using either large sample sizes in group means testing for meditation research or techniques permitting individual-based analysis such as HLM and single-subject designs.

Spatial working memory is a cognitive brain mechanism that enables the temporary maintenance and manipulation of spatial information. Recent neuroimaging and behavioral studies have led to the proposal that directed spatial attention is the mechanism by which location information is maintained in spatial working memory. Yet it is unclear whether attentional involvement is required throughout the period of active maintenance or is only invoked during discrete task-phases such as mnemonic encoding. In the current study, we aimed to track the time-course of attentional involvement during spatial working memory by recording event-related brain potentials (ERPs) from healthy volunteers. In Experiment 1, subjects performed a delayed-recognition task. Each trial began with the presentation of a brief stimulus (S1) that indicated the relevant location that subjects were to maintain in working memory. A 4.8-5.3 sec delay interval followed during which a single task-irrelevant probe was presented. The delay interval concluded with a test item (S2) to which subjects made a response indicating whether the S2-location was the same as the S1-memory location. To determine if attention was differentially engaged during discrete phases of the trial, task-irrelevant probes were presented early (400-800 msec following S1-offset) or late (2600-3000 msec following S1-offset) during the delay interval. Sensory-evoked ERPs (P1 and N1) elicited by these irrelevant probes showed attention-like modulations with greater amplitude responses for probes occurring at the S1-memory locations in comparison to probes presented at other locations. This pattern was obtained for both early- and late-delay probes. Probe-evoked activity during delayed-recognition trials was similar to activity observed when spatial attention was explicitly focused on a location in visual space (Experiment 2). These results are consistent with a model of spatial working memory in which perceptual level selective attention is utilized throughout the entire period of active maintenance to keep relevant spatial information in mind.
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Several randomised controlled trials suggest that mindfulness-based approaches are helpful in preventing depressive relapse and recurrence, and the UK Government’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recommended these interventions for use in the National Health Service. There are good grounds to suggest that mindfulness-based approaches are also helpful with anxiety disorders and a range of chronic physical health problems, and there is much clinical and research interest in applying mindfulness approaches to other populations and problems such as people with personality disorders, substance abuse, and eating disorders. We review the UK context for developments in mindfulness-based approaches and set out criteria for mindfulness teacher competence and training steps, as well as some of the challenges and future directions that can be anticipated in ensuring that evidence-based mindfulness approaches are available in health care and other settings.
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Introduction: The word yoga (Goya) is derived from the Sanskrit yii and means: bind, connect, attach and focus attention on something. It also means connection, and the union. The system of yoga has collected and systematized Patanjali in his "Yoga Sittrach" work. Yoga has the task of shaping proper physical culture and spirit (mind), regardless of religious beliefs, national origin, membership in a social group. The aim of the study was to evaluate the relationship between yoga and regular coaching strategy for coping with stress, blood pressure and abdominal obesity. Material and methods: The study involved 100 people divided into 2 groups. The first group comprised students regularly practicing yoga. The second group were randomly selected subjects not regularly engaged in sport. The age of the subjects ranged 18-60 years and over. Research material was gathered using a questionnaire designed by the authors, and the mini -COPE test. In addition, blood pressure and waist circumference were measured to assess the prevalence of abdominal obesity. Results: Among people who practice yoga the average waist circumference was 82.8 +/-8 in women and 90.3 +/-11 in men (p < 0.034). A healthy waistline was found in 43 (86%)subjects in the yoga group, and 34 (68%) subjects in the control group. Body mass index (BMI) also falls in favour of yoga, and in this group 15 (30%) more subjects had normal BMI. Abdominal obesity and BMI indicating obesity was found in 10 (20%) subjects from the yoga group and 15 (30%) from the control group. The study revealed no significant differences in mean blood pressure between the analysed groups. Conclusions: Based on the analysis of the questionnaire mini-COPE people regularly Training Yoga choose more effective strategies for coping with stress. Regular practice of yoga is a factor in reducing abdominal obesity. Men who trains yoga have blood pressure lower than those who doesn't practice any sport.

By now, everyone knows that mindfulness meditation is good for you—but what's still surprising scientists is just how quickly it works. Ten minutes of meditation won't make you a better mutlitasker—there's no such thing, as psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman explains—but it will make you more adept at switching tasks and returning to a deep level of concentration more quickly after a distraction. Every time you practice meditation, you’re strengthening the neural circuitry for focus and training your brain away from mind-wandering. Beyond the need to concentrate for work, pleasure, or to overcome negative emotion, mindfulness meditation can also help to manage disorders like PTSD, anxiety, and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). This last one particularly has shown incredible results, and Goleman cites one exercise a teacher in a rough neighborhood of New York City practices routinely with their class of seven-year-old kids, over half of which have special needs like ADD and autism. That daily ritual keeps the class environment calm and constructive, and is empowering the children with self-control strategies early on. The scientific research evidence on the benefits of meditation is already compelling, and there are major studies underway, which Goleman expects will reveal many more insights that can be used to instruct creative, educational, and mental health practices.

Early theorists (Freud and Darwin) speculated that extremely shy children, or those with anxious temperament, were likely to have anxiety problems as adults. More recent studies demonstrate that these children have heightened responses to potentially threatening situations reacting with intense defensive responses that are characterized by behavioral inhibition (BI) (inhibited motor behavior and decreased vocalizations) and physiological arousal. Confirming the earlier impressions, data now demonstrate that children with this disposition are at increased risk to develop anxiety, depression, and comorbid substance abuse. Additional key features of anxious temperament are that it appears at a young age, it is a stable characteristic of individuals, and even in non-threatening environments it is associated with increased psychic anxiety and somatic tension. To understand the neural underpinnings of anxious temperament, we performed imaging studies with 18-fluoro-deoxyglucose (FDG) high-resolution Positron Emission Tomography (PET) in young rhesus monkeys. Rhesus monkeys were used because they provide a well validated model of anxious temperament for studies that cannot be performed in human children. Imaging the same animal in stressful and secure contexts, we examined the relation between regional metabolic brain activity and a trait-like measure of anxious temperament that encompasses measures of BI and pituitary-adrenal reactivity. Regardless of context, results demonstrated a trait-like pattern of brain activity (amygdala, bed nucleus of stria terminalis, hippocampus, and periaqueductal gray) that is predictive of individual phenotypic differences. Importantly, individuals with extreme anxious temperament also displayed increased activity of this circuit when assessed in the security of their home environment. These findings suggest that increased activity of this circuit early in life mediates the childhood temperamental risk to develop anxiety and depression. In addition, the findings provide an explanation for why individuals with anxious temperament have difficulty relaxing in environments that others perceive as non-stressful.
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