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.
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.
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…”
Drug companies are waging Pharmacological Warfare on us – and what the FDA doesn’t know can kill you02/18/2011
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.
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
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.
The news has been hard on anti-depressants – calling them little better than placebos with side-effects. So, if you’re depressed, what can help?
Find a group.
A new review of research on depression shows that a peer group can help reduce symptoms of depression with similar if not better results than cognitive behavior therapy and other traditional care methods.
Dr. Paul Pfeiffer, M.S., assistant profession of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School, reviewed 10 randomized clinical trials from 1989-2009 of peer group based interventions for depression.
He found that getting the support of a peer group has been shown to decrease feelings of isolation and reduces stress. The great part is that in a group people are able to share information on healthy habits and their own personal stories of struggle and eventual success, improving their lives in multiple ways.
That’s just the beginning. Other specific studies on the subject shows that peer groups can be helpful to many in their healing process.
A new survey shows that – depending on who you are and where you live – national pride can have a definite impact on happiness.
Mike Morrison, Louis Tay and Ed Diener predicted that even when people fall into hard times, even when we don’t have enough money or food, they can find consolation in personal pride for their nations.
To find out they interviewed 132,516 individuals from 128 countries via telephone and in-person, who completed multiple surveys on life satisfaction, national satisfaction, domain (standard of living, personal health and job), residential mobility (are they planning on moving) and environmental variables (do you have electricity, telephone, television). All of these surveys were compiled to get a sense of an individuals’ Subjective Well Being (SWB).
They found that satisfaction with one’s country can a strong predictor for life satisfaction -- but only for some people
For you and me, this is an automatic experience. Experts say, the average healthy adult breaths 9-14 breaths every minute. That’s every 4-5 seconds.
It turns out that if we make this routine process a little less routine, it can have life-giving and healing effects for cancer other physical and psychological aliments?
New research published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine proves that breathing and guided imagery have substantial benefits for stress management and post-surgery healing; especially for cancer patients. The research studied 159 men with cancer and found that a stress management program focused on proper breathing techniques and healing imagery resulted in stronger immune responses in recovery; measured by higher levels of cell function and circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines, which directly affect the healing process after surgery and after cancer treatment.
Dr. Jeffrey Rossman in the acclaimed Mind Body Mood Solution presents various breathing strategies that are empirically validated to help with chronic pain, psychiatric diagnoses, physical illness and overall wellness.
If you are presently healthy—or suffering from an illness, check out these breathing strategies and you very well might be on your way to a healthier tomorrow.
What makes me nervous is that that BigPharma is handing out little white pills to deal with this problem ... and instead of helping anxiety, these pills are funding the vacation homes of corporate executives.
What makes me downright frightened is that research nearly 30 years in the making shows that some of these anti-anxiety drugs cause brain damage similar to the long-term effects of alcohol abuse.
Yes, you heard me correctly. Anti-anxiety medication more likely to cause your brain to shrink than it is to cure your anxiety. And a lot of Americans are on them.
Twenty eight percent of us will struggle with anxiety in our lifetimes, and 83 million Americans take tranquilizers to deal with it. Commonly called “benzos” they are often known by the names: Valium, Xanax, Librium, Ativan, and Klonopin. “Benzos” are said to cause memory loss, damage to the cerebral cortex, addiction, cognitive impairment, memory loss—and a host of other domino effects.
Is it possible to find peace even within the confines of prison?
For 43- inmates of the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility just outside of Birmingham, Alabama, many of whom are serving life sentences without possibility of parole, inner peace has indeed become attainable. They’ve taken 10-day, in house, Vipassanā meditation retreat ... and. the results are looking pretty good.
The William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility is the set for the documentary The Dhamma Brothers. The 2007 film focused on the prisoner meditation program and followed four inmates, convicted of murder, through their progress of learning and practicing Vipassanā.
Vipassanā is one of two types of meditation practice in the Buddhist Tradition that is sometimes referred to as “Insight meditation” here in the U.S. Insight into self is the primary focus of this meditation practice: it is a way of self-transformation through observing self. The practice focuses in on the deep connection between the mind and the body. That focus is achieved in meditation by paying attention to physical sensation in the body.
Someone who is in prison can’t go far ... there are walls everywhere. But they can go deep. Someone who has been convicted of a crime can’t change their past, but they can get insight into their present, and insight into themselves. Imagine the impact that an intensive study of Insight Meditation could have.
But we don’t have to imagine.