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Mindfulness in the Clinic

27 Nov

Jane Brody writes about the role of contemplative care for both palliative care patients and practitioners in today’s  New York Times.

Quote of the Day

24 May

If your mind is clear like space, then you see clearly, hear clearly, smell clearly—everything is clear. That is dharma. That is truth.
—Zen Master Seung Sahn

Quote of the Day

18 May

Often times when I think my head is going to explode with all the “busy-ness” I have to remind myself “this is it, perfect and complete just as it is.” Take a deep breath and then the next step.
-Robert Chodo Campbell, New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care

Quote of the Day

16 May

Love and compassion benefit both ourselves and others. Through kindness to others, your heart and mind will be peaceful and open.

-Dalai Lama

How to Apply Compassion in the Workplace

12 May

Chade-Meng Tan speaks of everyday compassion at Google. According to Meng compassion works in 3 steps:

The first step is attention training. Attention is the basis of all higher cognitive and emotional abilities. Therefore, any curriculum for training emotion intelligence has to begin with attention training. The idea here is to train attention to create a quality of mind that is calm and clear at the same time. And this creates the foundation for emotion intelligence. The second step follows the first step.

The second step is developing self-knowledge and self-mastery. So using the supercharged attention from step one, we create a high-resolution perception into the cognitive and emotive processes. What does that mean? It means being able to observe our thoughtstream and the process of emotion with high clarity, objectivity and from a third-person perspective. And once you can do that, you create the kind of self-knowledge that enables self-mastery.

The third step, following the second step, is to create new mental habits. What does that mean? Imagine this. Imagine whenever you meet any other person, any time you meet your person, your habitual, instinctive first thought is, “I want you to be happy. I want you to be happy.” Imagine you can do that. Having this habit, this mental habit, changes everything at work. Because this good will is unconsciously picked up by other people, and it creates trust, and trust creates a lot of good working relationships. And this also creates the conditions for compassion in the workplace. Someday, we hope to open-source “Search Inside Yourself” so that everybody in the corporate world will at least be able to use it as a reference.

Here is the video of his recent TED Talk:

https://ted.com/talks/view/id/1113

Doing What You Like Is a Reflection of Knowing Who You Are

20 Jun

“The greatest gift you can give to the world is when you discover who you are and manifest that.” Here’s an interview with Zen Master Bon Soeng, guiding teacher at the Empty Gate Zen Center in Northern California.

According to Bon Soeng,”the biggest wisdom comes from not knowing, because if you admit you don’t know, then you’re willing to look.”

Mindfulness, Stress and Eating

15 Mar

How do you eat under stress?  For many, chronic stress gets under the skin, stimulates the appetite and influences what people eat — often leading to the indulgence in sweet, high-fat foods. These foods tend to make you feel better in the short term, but in the long run can cause health issues. Chronic stress, in fact, has been shown to impair immune responses. Elissa Epel, PhD., an Associate Professor in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry, is testing new strategies to help people cope with stress, including the art of mindfulness.

According to Epel, being in the moment serves like a filter to help people better manage how they react in stressful situations. Epel and her colleagues are teaching mindful eating skills – such as the benefits of noticing each bite, how it tastes and how full one feels. The hope is the more mindful you are and the better you can manage and reduce stress, the less likely you are to overeat.

Here’s a video segment which goes into more detail:

links for 2009-02-19

19 Feb

links for 2009-02-17

17 Feb

Mindfulness Can Make You Healthier and Live Longer

2 Jan

Happy New Year — is it resolution time for you? Alex Williams asked the question in today’s New York Times. Research shows that many people who try to make major lifestyle changes, like losing weight, don’t succeed. Why? They are “hard-wired not to change quickly,” said Dr. Marion Kramer Jacobs. On the other hand, Alan Deutschman, the author of “Change or Die,” says some strategies are more likely than others to bring positive results. Here are Deutschman’s four steps to success:

  1. Start with big changes, not small ones.
  2. Act like the person you are trying to become.
  3. “Reframe” the situation.
  4. Don’t do it alone.

  
Dr. Dean Ornish of UCSF  is more optimistic. He believes that by changing your lifestyle you can change your gene expression. In fact, his studies have shown that people who are motivated to make and maintain bigger, healthier changes in lifestyle also achieve better clinical outcomes and even larger cost savings for the healthcare system.

In his recent interview with Edge-The Third Culture, Ornish says  that if stress reduces telomerase (an enzyme that repairs and lengthens damaged telomeres, which are the ends of our chromosomes that control how long we live) and makes telomeres shorter, then stress management techniques, exercise and good nutrition should be able to increase these. 

Ornish later says that “the more inwardly-defined you are, the more you can quiet down your mind and body and experience more of an inner sense of peace and well being, the more empowered you are… people only have power over you if they have something that you think you need. The more inwardly-defined you are, the less you need, so the more powerful you become”. And healthier too!

For more, check out this video from last year’s TED Conference: