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Mindful : December 2015
Clever slang and witty port- manteaus have their place, but sometimes it’s too much to handle. We selected a few recent faves. PRECRAST- INATION Procrastination is old news. The latest menace to your well-being is precrastination, when you get things done just for the sake of it, at the expense of thoughtful execution. ROGA Roga. When you run and then do yoga. Roga. JOBBATICAL Don’t take a year off to travel and enjoy the world. Instead, bring work with you on a “jobbatical.” But, in all seri- ousness, it could be a great way for young people to explore while advancing their careers. BUZZ WORDS Major strides in mindfulness research Plenty of studies examine the effects of mindfulness, but few do so over an extended period of time with an extensive cohort. That’s about to change. Psychologists and neuroscientists from Oxford University and University College London will explore how mindfulness affects mental health for 7,000 students aged 11 to 16, and will track their progress over seven years. Help for the judging heart Meditation increases your own well-being, but how much does it affect your concern for others’ well-being? Researchers compared three groups—one given a six-week practice in loving-kindness meditation, another offered discussion only, and a third with neither meditation training nor discussion. Only participants who practiced loving-kindness meditation showed less bias toward homeless people, though no change in their attitude toward black people. The upshot? Loving-kindness can improve bias, but not always and not toward everyone. MBSR: What’s good about it? Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduc- tion has been around for a while, but just how effective is it for the average person? Researchers from Harvard and other institutions sought to find out, setting up a review of literature about MBSR and the experience of otherwise healthy adults suffering from stress or anxiety. They found MBSR to be moderately effective in reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and distress. Meanwhile, researchers in the Netherlands confirmed that practicing mindfulness daily can improve psychological well-being, and a group of German psychologists reported that mindfulness could moderate the negative emotional reactions that can accompany neu- rotic states of mind. DID YOU KNOW? SAGE YOUNG GIRL WRITES MEDITATION BOOK A 10-year-old girl from New Jersey wrote a book about meditation. That’s right. Uncle Namaste and the Medi- tating Monkeys was penned by Sage Kimberly Sackett, who wrote the book “so everybody would meditate, and stay peaceful and calm.” Sage’s book is available on Amazon.com. The gut is often referred to as the “second brain,” because the nerves in its lining arise from the same tissues as our central nervous system—and research has shown that emotional and psychosocial factors can trigger symptoms in the gut. WHY EMMA WATSON MEDITATES Actor and activist Emma Watson, known for her role as Herm- ione Granger in the Harry Potter movie franchise andasaUN Women Goodwill Ambassador, is also a certified yoga and medita- tion instructor. She says she pursued medita- tion as “a way to always feel safe and at home within myself. Because I can never rely on a physical place.” BOOSTING BODY IMAGE You don’t have to change your body in order to like it more. When multi- generational adult women who took a three-week medi- tation training in self-compassion were compared with a control group given no such exposure, the meditators experi- enced significant gains in body appreciation. THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MEDITATION To help hospital patients feel calm and relaxed while sitting for hours in the waiting room, artist Tom Wilkinson made a stained glass piece of a meditat- ing brain as it appears in an MRI. The eye-catching installation is on display in the radiology department at The Royal Free Hospital in London, UK. December 2015 mindful 11 PHOTOGRAPHS:COURTESYOFTOMWILKINSON,EMMAWATSONCOURTESYOFUNWOMEN/CELESTESLOMAN