Archive for June, 2014

Mindfulness Training Helps College Students

Posted on: June 30th, 2014 by The Mindfulness Movie

Mindfulness Could Help to Improve College Students Testing Ability: Study Says Dear John: Association for Psychological Science:
As if the stress-relieving, healthifying effects of mindfulness weren’t enough, a new study shows it could actually help students perform better on tests by boosting their memory and reading comprehension skills.
The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, shows that mindfulness training could help college students do better on the verbal reasoning part of the GRE (Graduate Record Examination, an admissions test commonly used for graduate school).
“Our results suggest that cultivating mindfulness is an effective and efficient technique for improving cognitive function, with widereaching consequences,” the researchers, from the University of California, Santa Barbara, wrote in the study.
Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

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Mindfulness & Business

Posted on: June 23rd, 2014 by The Mindfulness Movie

Featured Story: Corporate Mindfulness

Dear John:

Many people think of mindfulness as diametrically opposed to business, but only until they see the overwhelming evidence of mindfulness’ benefits in all aspects of business: innovation, productivity, health, collaboration, negotiation, etc. Many companies that have realized the advantages of mindfulness training encourage employees to center themselves during the day using various relaxation techniques. Some businesses even institute mandatory retreats and mindfulness breaks during the workday.

Chapter 29 in The Ten Paradoxes: The Science of Where’s My Zen?  presents evidence of the positive effects of Mindfulness (or what the ancient masters have called No Mind) and Business. Some of the studies presented here may aid the implementation of mindfulness in your career or business.

Most businesspeople would immediately assume that mindfulness and business are unrelated, as one belongs in the monastery and the other in the cold, swift corporate world of money. If you told your customers, clients, or associates that you were using a technique called No Mind (mindfulness), their response might be, “I am paying you to use your entire mind, not no mind.”

Paradoxically, studies demonstrate that you actually increase your intelligence and creativity when you think less (Claxton, 2000). Through the study and practice of mindfulness,

your brain solves problems more efficiently, more intuitively and more creatively, and it grasps solutions which lay outside the scope of your normal over-thinking mind. So No Mind Business is not lack of mind but enhanced mind with superior performance…

Alive or Dead?

Posted on: June 16th, 2014 by The Mindfulness Movie

An interesting lesson in awakening, but first…

Last week, in a spur of sales we hit #22 on Amazon Best Seller list for documentaries. That’s amazing! It’s really great to see this type of momentum pushing toward mindfulness. The need is there! And the magic that is necessary to make change is not so far off. It’s as much effort as spending that one extra moment to recycle a piece of trash instead of throwing into the main waste. If we individually spend a moment to be mindful, then as a culture we can begin to awaken and realize what we need to do. What that next step will be! Yet, the hardest thing we need to do is sometimes so very simple.



Alive or Dead?

One Zen master and his student walked into a funeral parlor—filled with bereaved family and friends—the student takes his hand and pounds it loudly on the coffin, Bang! He burst out.

“Alive or Dead?”

The master answers quickly, “I’m not saying alive, I’m not saying dead.”

The shocked mourners watch and soon return to normalcy.

The student yells, “Why not?”

Followed by the master, “I’m not saying! I’m not saying!”

Are you waiting for the punch line?

In Zen, the punch line is realized through a shift in perspective from our normal feeling of IN our selves to a feeling that is OUT of our selves. Simply, a shift out of ego is what is necessary and it is a mindful state that can be obtained through mindfulness practice.

“Alive or Dead?” Our minds keep everything alive or dead. When someone passes on, it’s our memories that keep him or her alive. It’s our memories and patterns of our behaviors that keep identity and character alive. When we are mindless, we act within the patterns of our own thoughts and emotions, trapped by our own limits. When we are mindful, we can step outside the patterns and observe them. Then, change them! Ask yourself, “Are you alive or dead when doing what I am doing in this moment?”

“I’m not saying alive, I’m not saying dead.” Who can say what we keep alive or don’t keep alive? It’s up to us to determine these patterns—sometimes with the help of professionals and friends. No one can really say. But with more mindful moments in our lives we become more aware of what is alive or dead within us. And most importantly, what we are keeping alive or dead.

“I’m not saying! I’m not saying!” This is a blessing from the master to force the student into his own mind to find his own answer and not be told what it should be or shouldn’t be. Those that tell us what we should and shouldn’t do can never really help us unless we decide to mindfully act on it. It’s like telling someone with claustrophobia after shoving him into a small closet, “Oh, don’t be scared anymore, everything will be fine!” Nothing you say or can say will help this person in that moment. They need to realize it on their own and that is the key to awakening.

Mindfulness can be that bridge to help us to awaken to what is Alive or Dead in our lives and change it if necessary.

Mindfulness Training Program May Help Olympic Athletes Reach Peak Performance

Posted on: June 14th, 2014 by The Mindfulness Movie

Written by Christina Johnson

Connor Fields, winner of the 2014 USA Cycling Elite BMX National Championship and the 2013 BMX World Champion, agreed that meditation has helped. “But the biggest thing I have learned is how to be consciously mindful and aware of my current situation,” he said. “I am more present than I used to be.”

Indeed, the goal of mindfulness training is to help people become more fully present in the moment by training their minds to notice when their thoughts are wandering, and then to bring their attention back to the current moment. Repeated over and over, the researchers say, the brain’s baseline functioning changes and so does its anatomy.

Haase said that other researchers have shown that long-time practitioners of meditation have larger regions of the brain known as the insular cortex and hippocampus. Their brain’s gray matter is also denser, she said, and their white matter has greater connectivity.

One of the more fascinating discoveries made by the Paulus research team is that Navy seals and elite adventure athletes have mental attributes that are also cultivated by meditation. Their work has shown that compared with “average Joes,” these peak performers tend to be:

In tune with their bodily sensations. They are more likely to notice if their heart is racing or if they have tightness in a muscle. The scientific term for this state is “interoception” and it refers to the ability to help the brain maintain the body’s natural equilibrium by bringing awareness to bodily sensations.
More focused. They spend more time in an “intentional mode,” as opposed to mind wandering, the default mental state for most people. Not surprisingly, those who spend more time focused on the task at hand will likely be higher performers than those who are constantly distracted.
Not averse to challenge. Instead of fleeing or avoiding stressful situations, they orient toward difficulty and are more likely to deal well with whatever is happening around them. The scientists believe that the ability to face stressful situations head-on alleviates some of the long-term negative health effects of stress.

Recent studies with U.S. Marine Corps personnel have shown that mindfulness training reduces neuronal activity in the anterior insular cortex and anterior cingulate, regions of the brain responsible for integrating emotional reactivity, cognition and interoception. High-activity levels in these brain regions are associated with anxiety and mood disorders…

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