Participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. from r/science
Eight weeks to a better brain
a team led by Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)
“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology
“It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life,” says Britta Hölzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany.
Amishi Jha, a University of Miami neuroscientist who investigates mindfulness-training’s effects on individuals in high-stress situations, says, “These results shed light on the mechanisms of action of mindfulness-based training.
Psychedelic Ayahuasca improved mindfulness and cognitive flexibility significantly in the 24 hours after use. from r/science
Mindfulness (FFMQ total scores and four of the five mindfulness facets: observe, describe, act with awareness, and non-reactivity) and decentering (EQ) significantly increased in the 24 h after ayahuasca use. Cognitive flexibility (CFS and WPCST) significantly improved in the 24 h after ayahuasca use. Changes in both mindfulness and cognitive flexibility were not influenced by prior ayahuasca use.
The present study supports ayahuasca’s ability to enhance mindfulness and further reports changes in cognitive flexibility in the ‘afterglow’ period occur, suggesting both could be possible psychological mechanisms concerning the psychotherapeutic effects of ayahuasca. Given psychological gains occurred regardless of prior ayahuasca use suggests potentially therapeutic effects for both naïve and experienced ayahuasca drinkers.
more on electronics and mental health in this IMS blog
The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study tested 4,500 9-10-year-olds in its first released dataset. The ABCD study is the largest long-term study of brain development in U.S.
Early data from the study, analyzed by another group of researchers from the CHEO Research Institute’s Healthy Active Living and Obesity also showed that kids who spend less than two hours a day on screens, participated in 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity, and received nine to 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep had higher cognitive abilities.Cognition was measured by language abilities, episodic memory, executive function, attention, working memory, and processing speed.
more on mindfulness in this IMS blog
At Your Wits’ End With A Screen-Obsessed Kid? Read This
Anya Kamenetz and Chloee Weiner Jun 30
The relationship between teens, screens and mental health is complex and multidirectional
Abby’s mom has sent her articles about research linking teen depression and suicide to screen use. A 2017 article in The Atlantic magazine — “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” — drew a link between negative trends in teens’ mental health and the rise of smartphones and social media.
The negative relationship between teens’ mental health and technology use is real — but tiny, the researchers found. “A teenager’s technology use can only predict less than 1% of variation in well-being. It’s so small that it’s surpassed by whether a teenager wears glasses to school.”
How to strike a balance? To start, try mentoring, not monitoring
Heitner’s work emphasizes a concept that’s also put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics in its guidelines for parents: media mentoring.
Look for the good in your kids’ media interests
For Benji, Minecraft is a social space where he plays with other kids and pulls pranks. He says he wishes his parents understood more about his screen use — “why it’s entertaining and why we want to do it. And also, for YouTube, why I watch other people playing games. When you watch sports, you’re watching another person playing a game! Why is it so different when you’re watching a person play a video game?”
Work together as a family to make changes.
more on contemplative computing in this IMS blog
more on burnout in this IMS blog
researchers from Penn State say can be as stress-inducing as an emergency room. Teachers enter such an an environment every day, which sometimes feels like life-or-death.
nonprofit program Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE)
half of the students in schools across America have experienced some form of trauma, violence or chronic stress.
After collecting data on those educators’ well-being, observations of classrooms and student behavioral reports over the course of a year, we found that teachers who received emotional regulation training were more emotionally supportive, demonstrated greater sensitivity to student needs, and provided more positive and productive classroom environments. Furthermore, when assessing teachers’ stress levels, those teachers noted considerably less distress, and an improved ability to manage their emotions.
In the face of stressful situations, I instead used techniques like deep breathing and mindful walking to calm my body and mind, gaining that heightened self-awareness to thoughtfully respond to the issue at hand.
more on stress in this IMS blog
End of Year Burnout: How to Finish the Marathon in Stride
Four tips for how to keep going strong all the way to the end of the year.
By Maurice J. Elias May 20, 2014
Cary Cherniss, whose book Beyond Burnout
1. Reconnect your kids and with your kids: Not your students—your kids.
2. Share your interests: Talk to them about things that interest you.
3. Talk about the summer
4. Engage and encourage their aspirations and dreams
Ready to quit? Practical advice for when burnout takes hold
By: Lauren Hamby
Five Ways to Fight Burnout at Work
1. Remember your purpose.
2. Be intentional about who you spend time with.
3. Ask for help if you need it.
4. Be a lifelong learner.
5 Things You Can Do To Avoid Teacher Stress And Burnout
1. Bust Teacher Burnout with a Mental Health Day
2. Better Boundaries Help Stop Teacher Burnout
3. Be Realistic to Avoid Burnout
4. Practice Good Mental Health Habits Daily
5. Be Aware of Your Stress and Stop It Fast
10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout
STEP #1) HAVE FUN DAILY WITH YOUR STUDENTS
STEP #2) TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH
STEP #3) LEARN SOMETHING NEW AND SHARE IT WITH YOUR STUDENTS
STEP #4) HELP ANOTHER TEACHER
STEP #5) MAKE SOMEONE’S DAY
STEP #6) LIGHTEN UP
STEP #7) BE A SCIENTIST
STEP #8) LOOK FOR THE POSITIVE
STEP #9) REDECORATE
STEP #10) TRUST STUDENTS MORE
more on burnout in this IMS blog