How to meditate:
Here’s How You Can Meditate Anytime, Anywhere (video & article) – Mingyur Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist monk (This video is really useful and it makes me laugh every time I watch it! Sometimes I watch it just to giggle along with him.)
Preventing Discouragement (video) – Gen Kelsang Rabten (British) Buddhist monk on how to work with the mind during meditation practice. (Brilliant. I really appreciate the clarity of this offering. He teaches in Hong Kong at the Kadmapa Centre in Causeway Bay.)
What is mindfulness?
What is Mindfulness? (article) – Finding Peace in a Frantic World’s nice description of mindfulness.
3 Misconceptions About Meditation (article) – Susan Piver, bestselling author and meditation teacher, debunks 3 big meditation myths that I hear over and over again. This offering is so powerful, after I heard it I took a certification course with her that had me up at 4am for 9 weeks in a row! 🙂
Mindfulness & the Brain:
The Benefits of Meditation (video) – Jon Kabat-Zinn (renouned teacher & researcher, on the effects of mindfulness on the brain.)
How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains (video) – Sara Lazar, Neuroscientist, at TEDxCambridge 2011. Sara Lazar’s amazing brain scans show meditation can actually change the size of key regions of our brain, improving our memory and making us more empathetic, compassionate, and resilient under stress.
Mindfulness & Sleep:
Online mindfulness intervention reduces fatigue, negative work-related worry (article) – ScienceDaily excerpt of a study by Dawn Querstret and Professor Mark Cropley. “Brief online mindfulness interventions requiring only two hours of training and practice per week are effective at reducing fatigue and negative work-related rumination and at improving sleep quality, a study concludes.” Reported September 9, 2014.
Mindfulness meditation helps fight insomnia, improves sleep (article) – Harvard Medical School report on a study led by David S. Black, PhD, MPH (Harvard Medical School). The study was done on older adults (55+) and found that compared to typical sleep hygiene education, mindfulness was more effective. Reported February 18, 2015.
Patients with insomnia have altered activity in specific brain regions (article) – A ScienceDaily excerpt of a study led by Daniel Buysse M.D. (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center). “Specific brain regions, including those involved in awareness of self and tendency to ruminate, show altered activity in patients with insomnia when compared to good sleepers, according to a new study. This study… may increase understanding of why treatments such as mindfulness meditation are effective in some patients.” Reported October 19, 2016.
Study links heavy texting, sleep problems in college freshmen (article) – ScienceDaily excerpt of research by psychology professor Karla Murdock (Washington and Lee University). “The key finding was that a higher number of daily texts was associated with more sleep problems. Murdock notes that this finding reinforces previous evidence pointing to a direct association between cell-phone use and poor sleep in adolescents and emerging adults. Among the potential causes for this connection are two tendencies: students’ feeling pressured to respond immediately to texts, no matter what time of day or night, and students’ sleeping with the phone nearby, thus being awakened by the alerts from incoming texts.” Reported September 26, 2013.
Things to Take into Consideration (Contraindications & Criticism):
Is Mindfulness Safe? (article) – This article describes contraindications to mindfulness, mainly mental-emotinal health issues.
In my opinion, because mindfulness helps us see ourselves more clearly, I DO NOT recommend that you do this without the support of a counselor or psychotherapist if you know that you have strong mental-emotional challenges. Likewise, if you start to feel overwhelmed by what you are discovering about yourself get support immediately. If you have mental-emotional issues that require the care of a counselor or psychotherapist, it is best to consult your them first, and if they agree, to do mindfulness under their supervision.
Does Mindfulness Mean Anything? (article) – Thoughtful article about the two main sources of criticism of mindfulness as we’re using it today: that the science isn’t as rigorous as proponents are making it out to be (that mindfulness isn’t better than other options available for stress reduction, depression, etc) and that it is being stripped of it’s depth by secularizing it, removing the Buddhist philosophy that it stems from.
Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (article) – JAMA article by Goyal et al. A meta-analysis of 47 rigorous meditation trials (culled from 18,757 trials as of 2012!) finding that mindfulness may help with depression, anxiety and pain; and was not found to be significantly more effective than exercise, medication, or therapy. I find the Discussion section especially interesting.