Tag Archives: mind body

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:

Mindfulness Meditation Takes Off

26 May

Buddhist psychotherapy — shrinking with a dose of mindfulness meditation–  has been well embraced in California for years.  Jeff Kitzes, Zen Master of the Empty Gate Zen Center in Berkeley California, is  well known in the Bay area for his practice of integrating  Zen Buddhism and Western Psychotherapy. You can read some of his teachings here: Psychotherapy and Zen

Now, people across the country are taking note of Zen therapy’s growing popularity.Benedict Carey reports in today’s New York Times that "mindfulness meditation has become perhaps the most popular new psychotherapy technique of the past decade."

Here are excerpts from the May 27, 2008 article:

"…Mindfulness meditation, as it is called,
is rooted in the teachings of a fifth-century B.C. Indian prince,
Siddhartha Gautama, later known as the Buddha. It is catching the
attention of talk therapists of all stripes, including academic
researchers, Freudian analysts in private practice and skeptics who see
all the hallmarks of another fad.

For years, psychotherapists have worked to relieve suffering by
reframing the content of patients’ thoughts, directly altering behavior
or helping people gain insight into the subconscious sources of their
despair and  anxiety.
The promise of mindfulness meditation is that it can help patients
endure flash floods of emotion during the therapeutic process — and
ultimately alter reactions to daily experience at a level that words
cannot reach. “The interest in this has just taken off,” said Zindel
Segal, a psychologist at the Center of Addiction and Mental Health in
Toronto, where the above group therapy session was taped. “And I think
a big part of it is that more and more therapists are practicing some
form of contemplation themselves and want to bring that into therapy.”

At workshops and conferences across the country, students, counselors and psychologists   in private practice throng lectures on mindfulness. The National Institutes of Health
is financing more than 50 studies testing mindfulness techniques, up
from 3 in 2000, to help relieve stress, soothe addictive cravings,
improve attention, lift despair and reduce hot flashes.

Some proponents say Buddha’s arrival in psychotherapy signals a
broader opening in the culture at large — a way to access deeper
healing, a hidden path revealed…"

Read the full article here: Lotus Therapy