Meditation Guides

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MP3 downloads and podcasts of guided meditations. Visit Dr. Jennifer Howard’s virtual meditation room for free guided meditation and online meditation.

Mediitation is anxiety’s natural remedy.

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How Meditation Works

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There are different forms of mediation practice — among them Transcendental Meditation or “TM” (a Hollywood-approved technique heralded by David Lynch), Qigoing (a Chinese form of “energy healing”), and even yoga — all of which carry their own array of benefits; however mindfulness meditation is one of the more widely used, and most heavily researched methods.

Two years ago researchers at Justus Liebig-University in Giessen, Germany and Harvard Medical School integrated decades of existing research into a comprehensive conjectural report, which explains the various neurological and conceptual processes through which mindfulness mediation works (and which recent studies have continued to affirm.)

The report suggests that mindfulness meditation operates through a combination of several distinct mechanisms: attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation, and a change in perspective on the self. Each component is believed to assist us in various aspects of our lives, and when functioning together, the cumulative process claims to lend an enhanced capacity for “self-regulation” — the ability to control our own “thought, affect, behavior, or attention” (The loss of which has been cited as the cause of much psychological distress and suffering).

In other words, the researchers suggest that the practice allows us to develop a stronger command over the machinery of the mind, a dexterity which, according to a study released this week, stays with you long after you finish meditating.

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Why Self-Compassion Helps You Meet Life’s Challenges

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Do you regularly try to motivate yourself with self-criticism and mental projections about all the bad things that will happen to you if you don’t get it together? While this approach may create that extra surge of adrenaline to meet your work deadline, cold call the next potential client, get to the gym, or get your house cleaned before the in-laws visit, it comes at a cost. You end up feeling bad about yourself a lot of the time.

You get into constant “fight or flight” mode, trying to avoid the negative imagined consequences, which messes with your cortisol and other stress hormones. You get overwhelmed, and decide to zone out playing video games or posting mindlessly on social media, or you rebel and eat, drink, or spend too much, thus creating more self-disgust. If this sounds familiar, perhaps you need a healthy dose of self-compassion.

by Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D.

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