The Saybrook Forum



Mindfullness training results in more ethical business decisions


Meditating Monks Recently the federal Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission concluded about the 2008 economic collapse:  “there was a systemic breakdown in accountability and ethics.”

No kidding. 

It goes on:  “Unfortunately – as has been the case in past speculative booms and busts – we witnessed an erosion of standards of responsibility and ethics that exacerbated the financial crisis.”

This isn’t limited to the past, either:   lack of accountability and ethics is prevelent all over the business world. How do we encourage ethical decision making in business? If ethics courses in business school did the job, we wouldn’t have had a financial collapse in the first place.  Two researchers offer another solution.

Doctoral Student Nicole Ruedy and Maurice Schweitzer professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania have published a report called “In the Moment: The Effect of Mindfulness on Ethical Decision Making”, in the February issue of Journal of Business Ethics.

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The horrors of the past are very much a part of the present. Why are we ignoring them?


Most people think the Holocaust was a one-time, unthinkably tragic sequence of events that we would never let happen again.

Most people think that slavery ended decades ago – and was a horrendously barbaric practice that has no place in the modern world.

Most people are mistaken.

Our world continues to condone slavery and genocide.  They’re more clandestine, more under the radar, than their historical predecessors, but they’re very real and very 21st century. 

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Research shows: the secret to lasting love is gratitude


Love by Bohringer Friedrich We all want a relationship that works – but most of us, if we’re honest, admit we only have a limited idea how to do that.  

What makes relationships between committed couples and married partners work? What causes them to fail? It turns out there are answers, and one of them will surprise you.

In March, the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences will publish a study that looks at gratitude among married partners. A first of its kind, the research comes in the wake of studies that prove the positive effects of gratitude for the physical and psychological well-being of individuals. The couples research looks at fifty married couples of at least twenty years, and gathered specific data. A sneak peak of the research results suggest:  gratitude makes all the difference.

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"Dreaming" isn't just sleeping: it's problem solving, meaning making, and a key to health


Nun's_dream_by_Karl_Briullov We spend a third of our lives sleeping – and if you’re not sleeping enough, you could be in trouble. The National Sleep Foundation compiled research that shows lack of sufficient qualitysleep is linked to:

But the thing we miss out on most is dreaming.  Dreaming gives our brains the time and the space to process our everyday experiences. That process in itself is beneficial.

Scientists at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center recently published research that supports this perspective. They found that while we are sleeping, our brains are happily working, undistracted by the day to day busyness. In the sleep state the brain has the opportunity to track, file and integrate all of the information that was gathered throughout the day with what we already have stored away. In that tracking the mind can find solutions to tasks that may have stumped us earlier in the day.

It’s as if our brains are working hard to organize our thoughts – and that’s beneficial for our waking lives.

Dream research is looking how we can be more active in our “learning” or “problem solving” while we’re sleeping.

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To help victims of disaster, we have to remember them


Oil-spill It’s been nearly ten months since the largest oil spill in the history of the United States. For American media, it is a distant memory. For those that it affects, it is still an everyday horror story.

 On that dreadful day of April 10, 2010, oil spewed out into some of the worlds most precious and vital wildlife sanctuaries in the Golf Coast. Scientists estimate 18-39 million barrels of oil leaked into the waters over a series of months spreading over nearly 30,000 square miles.

Media attention has primarily focused on the immediate effects of the spill, the environmental travesty, and its effect on the American food supply.

This is significant. But the human toll of this travesty is unreported on, and far worse. 

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How well does your body know your mind?


Bharata_natyam_dancer_medha_s The best way to understand what you’re feeling might be to ask what your body’s doing. 

Anyone who’s been paying attention to research knows there’s a connection between the mind and the body ... and anyone who’s been paying careful attention is at least a little aware on a visceral level of how that connection works.  The ability to observe the mind-body connection in action is called “emotional coherence.” The greater the level of emotional coherence the greater our ability is to notice the connection between a pounding heart and anger.  

Is it possible to improve our emotional coherence through specialized training?

In a 2010 study, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley investigated that question.  Their study included 21 Vipassana meditators, 21 dancers, and 21 individuals who did not practice any form of specialized body awareness practice. Participants watched four films that were designed to bring up a range of emotions. While they watched these films, there were then asked to monitor their own emotional experiences. They used a dial that had a rating scale ranging from very negative to very positive and completed a number of questionnaires. The researchers also monitored the participants heart rate with an EKG.

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In a crisis, most of us make things worse. Here's how not to ...


Tao You’ve probably heard that the term “crisis” in Mandarin Chinese means both danger and opportunity. But how does that work, exactly?  How does a person change the next major crisis in their life and turn it into an opportunity to grow and thrive?

There is a dark omen around “crises,” and rightfully so.  It’s all too common for a crisis to lead to a domino effect and cascade:  the old adage suggests that bad things happen in three, and we all have stories. 

That’s because most people are surprisingly bad at keeping today’s crisis from snowballing into tomorrow’s.  All too often our urge to “problem solve” no matter what the cost is an over-reaction that only make matters worse. 

As Rollo May said, “It is an old and ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way and we grasp more fiercely at research, statistics, technical aids…”

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Drug companies are waging Pharmacological Warfare on us – and what the FDA doesn’t know can kill you


Assorted pharmaceuticals by LadyofProcrastination Recently the New York Times highlighted the story of a US soldier who returned home from war and then died from his healthcare.  It was tragic for him, and it happens all the time.


The soldier suffered from Multiple Pharmaceutical Toxicity – what happens when the multiple drugs prescribed by physicians interact in patients.  Many of these interactions have never been tested in clinical trials or regulated by the FDA.


There are no limits to the number of prescription medications one person can take. And therefore, as in the case of US Solider Anthony Mena, no limit to the pill combinations; thus the multiple synthetic chemical interactions of different medications are essentially tested on you and me. And, folks, it does not look good.




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Where you excercise can be as important as how much


Outdoor exercising It’s tough for gym rats to get exercise outside right now, with most of the country buried in snow and ice.  But make no mistake:  getting non-industrialized in your lungs air can increase mental well-being. 

A collaboration of researchers supported by two health research organizations reviewed the outcomes from research trials and outdoor exercise initiatives. Data from 833 adults who participated in these studies indicate that exercising outdoors;

  • Improved mental well being
  • Was revitalizing and energizing
  • And increased positive engagement 

all the while decreasing

  • tension
  • confusion
  • anger
  • depression

Earlier research published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that even spending a brief amount of time outdoors will have a positive effect on mental health. That brief amount of time is actually just five minutes. Five minutes outside of a cubicle will probably have a positive effect on anyone.

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Alumni Messenger

Saybrook OS Department Chair Dr Nancy Southern to Present Free Webinar on Developing Leadership Skills, Feb 23, 8:30 AM

ICO Consulting presents a free webinar to develop leadership skills on February 23, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time ICO Consulting, comprised of a team of experts in collaborating across distance and difference, is hosting an interactive webinar February 23, 2011, at 8:30 am Pacific Time. Presented by Nancy Southern, Ed.D., this webinar is designed to inspire and support your desire to create...

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