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Hair Samples Show Meditation Training Reduces Long-Term Stress -article-
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Summary: Many people claim meditation helps to relieve their daily stresses. A new study provides objective evidence which supports the claims. Researchers found cortisol levels from hair samples decreased by 25% following a six-month meditation training program.

Source: Max Planck Institute

Mental training that promotes skills such as mindfulness, gratitude or compassion reduces the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol in hair. This is what scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and the Social Neuroscience Research Group of the Max Planck Society in Berlin have found out.

The amount of cortisol in hair provides information about how much a person is burdened by persistent stress. Earlier positive training effects had been shown in acutely stressful situations or on individual days – or were based on study participants’ self-reports.

According to a study by the Techniker Krankenkasse, 23 percent of people in Germany frequently suffer from stress. This condition not only puts a strain on the well-being of those affected, but it is also linked to a number of physiological diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and psychological disorders such as depression, one of the world’s leading causes of disease burden.

Therefore, effective methods are being sought to reduce everyday stress in the long term. One promising option is mindfulness training, in which participants train their cognitive and social skills, including attention, gratitude and compassion, through various meditation and behavioural exercises. Various studies have already shown that even healthy people feel less stressed after a typical eight-week training programme.

Until now, however, it has been unclear how much the training actually contributes to reducing the constant burden of everyday stress. The problem with many previous studies on chronic stress is that the study participants were usually asked to self-assess their stress levels after the training. However, this self-reporting by means of questionnaires could have distorted the effects and made the results appear more positive than they actually were.

The reason for such a bias: The participants knew they were training their mindfulness, and a reduction in stress levels was a desired effect of this training. This awareness alone has an impact on subsequent information.

“If you are asked whether you are stressed after a training session that is declared as stress-reducing, even addressing this question can distort the statements,” explains Lara Puhlmann, doctoral student at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and first author of the underlying publication, which has now appeared in the journal

. Factors such as social desirability and placebo effects played a role here. Unlike pharmacological studies, for example, in which the study participants do not know whether they have actually received the active substance or not, so-called blinded studies are not possible in mental training.

“The participants know that they are ingesting the ‘antidote’,” says Puhlmann. “In mindfulness research, we are therefore increasingly using more objective, i.e. physiological, methods to measure the stress-reducing effect more precisely.”

The concentration of cortisol in hair is considered a suitable measure of exposure to prolonged stress. Cortisol is a hormone that is released when we are confronted with an overwhelming challenge, for example. In that particular situation, it helps put our body on alert and mobilise energy to overcome the challenge. The longer the stress lasts, the longer an increased concentration of cortisol circulates around our body – and the more it accumulates in our hair.

On average, hair grows one centimetre per month. To measure the study participants’ stress levels during the 9-month training, the researchers, in cooperation with the working group of Clemens Kirschbaum at the University of Dresden, analysed the amount of cortisol every three months in the first three centimetres of hair, starting at the scalp.

The mental training itself was developed as part of a large-scale longitudinal study on the effects of mental training, the ReSource project, led by Tania Singer, scientific director of the Social Neuroscience Research Group. This 9-month mental training programme consisted of three 3-month sessions, each designed to train a specific skill area using Western and Far Eastern mental exercises.

The focus was either on the factors of attention and mindfulness, on socio-affective skills such as compassion and gratitude, or on so-called socio-cognitive skills, in particular the ability to take perspective on one’s own and others’ thoughts.

Three groups of about 80 participants each completed the training modules in different order. The training lasted up to nine months, 30 minutes a day, six days a week.

Less stress, less cortisol
And it really showed: After six months of training, the amount of cortisol in the subjects’ hair had decreased significantly, on average by 25 percent. In the first three months, slight effects were seen at first, which increased over the following three months. In the last third, the concentration remained at a low level.

The researchers therefore assume that only sufficiently long training leads to the desired stress-reducing effects. The effect did not seem to depend on the content of the training. It is therefore possible that several of the mental approaches studied are similarly effective in improving the way people deal with chronic everyday stress.

In an earlier study from the ReSource project with the same sample, the researchers had investigated the effects of training on dealing with acute stressful situations. In this study, the participants were placed in a stressful job interview and had to solve difficult maths problems under observation.

The results showed that people who had undergone socio-cognitive or socio-affective training released up to 51 percent less cortisol under stress than those who had not been trained. In this case, they did not measure the amount of cortisol in the subjects’ hair, but instead acute cortisol surges in their saliva.

Overall, the researchers conclude that training can improve the handling of acute particularly stressful social situations as well as chronic everyday stress.

“We assume that different training aspects are particularly helpful for these different forms of stress,” says Veronika Engert, head of the research group “Social Stress and Family Health” at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.

“There are many diseases worldwide, including depression, that are directly or indirectly related to long-term stress,” explains Puhlmann.

“We need to work on counteracting the effects of chronic stress in a preventive way. Our study uses physiological measurements to prove that meditation-based training interventions can alleviate general stress levels even in healthy individuals.”

https://neurosciencenews.com/medication-cortisol-stress-19443/

Posted on: 10/11 14:04
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The 10 Thought Habits of People with High Self-Worth -Article-
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1. No matter what I’ve done or haven’t done, I’m worthy of love.
A person with a high sense of self-worth takes responsibility for their mistakes, but does not degrade themselves for making them. If they goof, they say, “I did a bad thing” instead of “I am bad.” They say sorry when they needs to, and do what they can to make things right.

2. My “things” do not define me.
You are not the clothes you wear, the car you drive, or the relationship you do or don’t have.

3. I am allowed to feel whatever I’m feeling.
People with self-worthiness are not “always happy.” They feel all the same feelings that anyone else feels.

The difference is that a person with a solid sense of self-worth creates space for their emotions without feeling guilty about them. They understand that their emotions are just tools that are helping them pay attention. They notice their emotions, and allow them to be as they are. Then, when this person no longer needs those emotions, they simply let them go.

4. I delight in the joy of missing out.
A self-worthy person is not afraid to be alone. They love hanging out with their closest friends and family, but also cherish solo time.

This person doesn’t go to parties and events simply because they are afraid to be left out. They believe the people who really matter will always welcome them, and even if they don’t, they will still be okay on their own.

5. It’s not about what happens; it’s about how I respond to what happens.
People who have a high sense of self-worth haven’t had easier lives than people who don’t. They simply remember that only they are responsible for their feelings, thoughts, and actions. They do not stay stuck in victim-hood, and they don’t spend too much time feeling sorry for themselves when things hit the fan.

6. I do what I love, and I love what I do.
What do you value most in life? What do you look forward to doing? What would you do if knew you couldn’t fail—or what would you still do even if you knew you could fail?

A self-worthy person puts their needs first. This doesn’t mean they are selfish — it simply means that they know it is each person’s responsibility to put their own needs first. They inherently know that they can only love and help others to the extent that they love and help themselves, so they make time and set aside energy to invest in the life they want.

The self-worthy person looks for the “win-win” situations. They are able to help others by helping themselves. They believe in fair trade and equal exchange. They find joy in doing what they love, and they honor other people’s right to do what they love, too.

7. I see myself in others.
Self-worth requires the belief that the world is a like a mirror. If people are judging you, it’s because you are reflecting a part of them that they have yet to accept. Sure, their judgment may hurt — but ultimately, it’s about them. It doesn’t have to become your truth. And their judgment can only hurt you to the extent that you hold that judgment against yourself, as well.

The same is true for when you judge others. Whatever you see in someone else is something you have in you. To this end, self-worthy people are thankful for the challenging people in their lives because they see them as opportunities to learn more about themselves. And these people take heart in seeing the positive in others, because that means they can see those things in themselves as well.

8. I believe in something greater than myself.
You don’t have to believe in God or subscribe to an organized religion to have self-worth. But having the belief in some “higher power,” some unifying connection between everyone and everything, can be enough to help you keep things in perspective — even that part of humanity that existed before you were born and that you will contribute to and leave behind when you’re gone.

A person with a high sense of self-worth is neither full of themselves, nor thinks that the world revolves around them. Instead, this person remembers and is humbled by their small but important role in the grand scheme of things. Like a singular wave in a great big ocean, they know they are part of something greater, and as such are never truly “alone.”

9. Every day, I find things to be grateful for.
Gratitude is a daily practice for people with high self-worth. These people appreciate the small and big gifts of life, and expresses appreciation whenever and however they can.

It’s pretty easy to feel grateful when things seem to be going well. A true challenge is to find things you can say “thank you” for even when you are dealing with one of the greatest challenges of your life. You can only do this if you are willing to detach your sense of worthiness from your achievements and your external circumstances.

10. The story I tell about my life means everything.
The way you think influences the way you live.

If you can believe this statement, and start changing your thoughts based on your belief, expect to experience some serious self-growth, new opportunities, and a deepening and hugely empowering sense of self-love.

So, ask yourself: What kind of life story are you telling yourself? What do you say you “always,” “never,” “should,” or “ought to” do? Are these expectations actually true? Where do they come from?

A person with high self-worth asks these questions. They may write them down in a journal or discuss them with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist. They enjoy the process of learning, and at any moment realize that they have the power to change their own story.



Think Worthy Thoughts, Take Worthy Action: The Self-Worth Checklist
For every empowering and self-loving thought you have, there should also be a complementary action to support it. Run through this Self-Worth Checklist and make a goal to start implementing at least one of these nurturing action steps every week, if not every day:

Eat healthy food.
Exercise.
Politely decline invitations to events that you have no interest in attending.
Minimize your alcohol intake.
Get a massage.
Write in a journal.
State affirmations to yourself in the mirror.
Be aware (and cut back on) how many times you say the words, “I’m sorry.”
Ask for help.
Meditate.
Listen to your favorite music.
Treat yourself to something you love to do.
Learn something new.
Do something that takes you out of your comfort zone.
Be confident in your own thoughts, feelings, and opinions.
Practice the fine art of letting go.
Got a friend? Share this list with him or her. Utilize the power in numbers and make your journey of self-worth a collaborative one with the people closest to you. The world needs more people operating closer to their fullest potential, and your commitment to improving your self-worth will certainly help with that.

https://www.wholelifechallenge.com/the ... ple-with-high-self-worth/

Posted on: 10/6 7:17
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Impact of Fear and Anxiety -Article-
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Fear is a human emotion that is triggered by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism that signals our bodies to respond to danger with a fight or flight response. As such, it is an essential part of keeping us safe.

However, when people live in constant fear, whether from physical dangers in their environment or threats they perceive, they can experience negative impacts in all areas of their lives and even become incapacitated.

How fear works
Fear prepares us to react to danger. Once we sense a potential danger, our body releases hormones that:

Slow or shut down functions not needed for survival (such as our digestive system)
Sharpen functions that might help us survive (such as eyesight). Our heart rate increases, and blood flows to muscles so we can run faster.
Our body also increases the flow of hormones to an area of the brain known as the amygdala to help us focus on the presenting danger and store it in our memory.


Impact of chronic fear
Living under constant threat has serious health consequences.

1.Physical health. Fear weakens our immune system and can cause cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, and decreased fertility. It can lead to accelerated ageing and even premature death.
2.Memory. Fear can impair formation of long-term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus. This can make it even more difficult to regulate fear and can leave a person anxious most of the time. To someone in chronic fear, the world looks scary and their memories confirm that.
3.Brain processing and reactivity. Fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and act ethically. This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately.
4.Mental health. Other consequences of long-term fear include fatigue, clinical depression, and PSTD.

So whether threats to our security are real or perceived, they impact our mental and physical wellbeing.

Inherited trauma
Is it possible to experience fear and anxiety because of trauma that didn't even happen to you? Some researchers say yes.

The research in this area is still evolving, but there is some evidence that it is possible to inherit the impact of trauma from our ancestors.

For example, some children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors may have a higher risk for anxiety, depression, and chronic fear.

Descendants of survivors of other massive traumas, especially slavery and attempted genocide, often report symptoms that are similar to those experienced by the people who endured the traumas themselves.

As a result, communities of African Americans, Indigenous people, and other marginalized groups may experience a shared sense of grief and ongoing fear.

This inherited trauma is often compounded by the reality of ongoing discrimination and brutality.

https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/impact-fear-and-anxiety






Posted on: 10/4 13:45
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Re: Five Things You Notice When You Quit the News
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Another thing I noticed is that many things that seem important on the news later are found not to be. They just fade into other stories which hold our attention while we read them but seldom have a meaningful effect on our lives.

I agree with Link that news stories from a funny perspective are easier to watch then regular doom and gloom stories.

Posted on: 10/4 13:40

Edited by Octagon on 2021/10/19 14:36:37
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Re: Trials from the Force
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A guy I know once told me that there are 3 types of people, Sheep who live in fear and follow the heard for protection. Wolves, who prey on sheep and often use fear to manipulate them. Sheepdogs who are assigned to protect the sheep from the wolves.

We as Jedi are meant to be the guardians of those who cannot defend themselves. We don't live as the sheep live because that's not us. We don't draw our power from the world but from the Living Force which reveals all things to us once we learn how to receive it's knowledge. That knowledge sets Jedi free from fear and gives us peace in the middle of any storm. We can instantly see the wolves for what they are and take the appropriate actions to protect the heard.

Thanks for sharing that Roz. Blessings on your project!

Posted on: 10/4 13:25
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Re: How to break bad habits - try this and see results
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bump.

Posted on: 10/1 8:39
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Re: Podcast 251: A NeuroCycle for healing grief + how to reclaim the loss of self & identity
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I had a close friend who suddenly crossed over and I actually felt a dark hole of emptiness within me. I processed it but not with the intent of neutralizing the negative energies that it had placed in me, I was still hanging on to depressing thoughts.

This actually weakened my immune system a great deal. Later, I was able to process her death, let it go, and find peace which allowed internal healing to take place. Now when I remember her I'm at peace. It's important to process pain, depression, grief, and any other emotions that lowers the bodies internal energies. It was a lesson well learned.

This should be done with everyone who have left negative associations in ones life, such as anyone you feel has done you wrong and generate negative feeling in your thoughts about them. This energy could hold you back and drag you down effecting other situations in your life. Release it and let it. Clean out that closet of suppressed feelings and emotions.

Force light your path!

Posted on: 9/30 12:44
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Podcast 251: A NeuroCycle for healing grief + how to reclaim the loss of self & identity
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGeV8601C-c

SHOW DESCRIPTION: In this podcast I discuss the different types of grief, how to manage grief using the Neurocycle, what happens in the brain and body when we don’t deal with our grief, how grief can affect our emotional and physical health, how to help a loved one deal with their grief, and more!


The grief doesn’t change, but we have changed because of the grief, and over time the space around the grief gets bigger and healing becomes more manageable
https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=search&v=2980183105572306

Posted on: 9/30 12:37
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Practice this Technique to Relieve Daily Stress… Three Keys to Heart - Brain - Earth Harmony
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Practice this Technique to Relieve Daily Stress… Three Keys to Heart - Brain - Earth Harmony

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nsm8SCWjic

Gregg Braden & Wisdom Traditions Team would like to thank all of you who sent 100s and 100s of emails asking Gregg to share ‘Heart - Brain Harmonization Mediation Technique’. As this video contains mediation segment, pls do not watch/listen whilst driving, operating heavy machinery and or undertaking any physical activities which may cause harm.
Special Thanks to HeartMath Institute - https://www.heartmath.org/
If you like this video, you may also like Gregg Braden’s Wisdom Codes - https://www.greggbraden.com/

Posted on: 9/28 22:22
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Re: Buddhist Monk, Who Died Is Still Alive - Article
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Lots of videos on YouTube about his technique and I down loaded his app a while ago.

Posted on: 9/23 13:34
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