Julia Galef: Why you think you’re right — even if you’re wrong

From TED: Perspec­tive is every­thing, espe­cially when it comes to exam­ining your beliefs. Are you a soldier, prone to defending your view­point at all costs — or a scout, spurred by curiosity? Julia Galef exam­ines the moti­va­tions behind these two mind­sets and how they shape the way we inter­pret infor­ma­tion, inter­weaved with a compelling history lesson from 19th-century France. When your stead­fast opin­ions are tested, Galef asks: “What do you most yearn for? Do you yearn to defend your own beliefs or do you yearn to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?” · Go to Julia Galef: Why you think you’re right — even if you’re wrong →

How to tame your inner enemy

From Big Think: The greatest enemy we face — one that is indeed greater than any external threat — is the uncon­trolled mind. This is the wisdom of the Buddhist master Shan­ti­deva, author of the 700 AD Sanskrit text Bodhisattvacharyā­vatāra, or Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life.

What is the uncon­trolled mind? It is the mental habit that makes you timid when it comes to dealing with certain diffi­cult situ­a­tions and also allows oppres­sive and frus­trated feel­ings to build up inside you. As a result, you might “freak out” or “blow up,” becoming your own worst enemy. · Go to How to tame your inner enemy →

Culinary mindfulness and windowfarms: 5 ways to increase well-being

From Fast­Com­pany: As back­ground, culi­nary mind­ful­ness includes mindful eating along with mindful cooking, shop­ping, sharing, remem­bering, and even talking about food. The purpose is to build aware­ness of increasing well-being in all the food choices one makes, to accrue mental wealth from every aspect of one’s calo­ries. Adapting a model of flour­ishing devel­oped by posi­tive psychology, most specif­i­cally by Seligman in his recent book Flourish, culi­nary mind­ful­ness looks to 5 routes for devel­oping well-being: posi­tive emotions and plea­sures, rela­tion­ships, play and fun, meaning, and achieve­ment. · Go to Culi­nary mind­ful­ness and window­farms: 5 ways to increase well-being →

Positive Psychology: Harnessing the power of happiness, mindfulness, and personal strength

Excerpts from Harvard Health Publi­ca­tions: “In 2002, the Corpo­rate Lead­er­ship Council compiled a survey of almost 20,000 employees at 34 compa­nies.  Their find­ings showed a dramatic link between job perfor­mance and atten­tion to strengths: when perfor­mance reviews empha­sized what a person was doing right in the job, it led to a 36% improve­ment in perfor­mance, while empha­sizing perfor­mance weak­nesses led to a 27% decline in perfor­mance.”

Certain strengths have been found to be the most closely linked to happi­ness.  They are grat­i­tude, hope, vitality, curiosity, and love.  These strengths are so impor­tant that they’re worth culti­vating and applying in your daily life, whether or not they come natu­rally to you…”

Mind­ful­ness-based cogni­tive therapy (MBCT), which combines mind­ful­ness prac­tice with cogni­tive behav­ioral tech­niques, has been success­fully used to treat depres­sion and anxiety.…  In a random­ized clin­ical trial published in the Journal of Consulting and Clin­ical Psychology, people with recur­rent depres­sion who partic­i­pated in an eight-week group course of MBCT were signif­i­cantly less likely to become depressed again than people who continued on anti­de­pres­sants without therapy.  During the study, people in the mind­ful­ness group reported greater phys­ical well-being and enjoy­ment in daily life, and 75% were able to discon­tinue their anti­de­pres­sant medica­tion.”

Aspects of mind­ful­ness medi­ta­tion tend to be dose-related– the more you do, the more effect it usually has.  Most people find that it takes at least 20 minutes for the mind to begin to settle, so this is a reason­able way to start.  If you’re ready for a more serious commit­ment, Jon Kabat-Zinn recom­mends 45 minutes of medi­ta­tion at least six days a week.  But you can get started by prac­ticing the tech­niques described here for shorter periods.”

Your tempera­ment also influ­ences how you handle choice and how it influ­ences your happi­ness.  ‘I never settle for second best.’  Does that sound like you?  Psychol­o­gists would call you a maxi­mizer: in your quest for the best deal or product, you need to eval­uate all the choices before making a deci­sion.  Other people are satis­fi­cers: they have stan­dards for what they want in a given circum­stance, but as soon as some­thing meets those stan­dards (which can be high or low) they make the deci­sion.  Judged by measur­able criteria, maxi­mizers may make the best choices.  In research at Columbia Univer­sity and Swarth­more College, students were rated on their tendency toward maxi­mizing or satis­ficing and were followed for a year as they searched for jobs.  By the crite­rion of starting salary, maxi­mizers found the best jobs, making 20% more.  However, going through the process they expe­ri­enced many more nega­tive emotions, and after being hired they were less happy with their jobs than their class­mates who looked for the good-enough option.  Who made the best deci­sion: those with the higher salary or those with greater happi­ness?” · Go to Posi­tive Psychology: Harnessing the power of happi­ness, mind­ful­ness, and personal strength →

Is suffering necessary for the spiritual life?

From Derek Beres at Big Think: One of my first yoga instruc­tors used to say, ‘Suffering is optional.’ In the imme­diate he was refer­encing the struggle to remain in chal­lenging postures—our mindset could shift from one of struggle to that of accep­tance. Under­lying the asana was the notion that we choose to view exis­tence as laced with suffering…or not.

That life could be filled with content­ment instead of constant anguish was a reve­la­tion. Essen­tially raised agnostic, even I felt the heavy weight of guilt that pervades those of my gener­a­tion, a hard reality to escape in America. · Go to Is suffering neces­sary for the spir­i­tual life? →

Why mindfulness and meditation are good for business

From Knowledge@Wharton: In a world focused on increased produc­tivity and instant grat­i­fi­ca­tion, it’s hard to imagine that busi­ness­people have much time for medi­ta­tion. But huge corpo­ra­tions — including Google, Monsanto, Hearst and National Grid –have discov­ered the bene­fits of medi­ta­tion at work, including improved team­work, more effec­tive deci­sion-making and lower levels of employee stress. In this inter­view with Knowledge@Wharton, Mirabai Bush, co-founder of the Center for Contem­pla­tive Mind in Society, spoke with Katherine Klein, vice dean of Wharton’s Social Impact Initia­tive, about the bene­fits of contem­pla­tive thinking. · Go to Why mind­ful­ness and medi­ta­tion are good for busi­ness →

The power of concentration

From NY Times: Medi­ta­tion and mind­ful­ness: the words conjure images of yoga retreats and Buddhist monks. But perhaps they should evoke a very different picture: a man in a deer­stalker, puffing away at a curved pipe, Mr. Sher­lock Holmes himself. The world’s greatest fictional detec­tive is someone who knows the value of concen­tra­tion, of “throwing his brain out of action,” as Dr. Watson puts it. He is the quin­tes­sen­tial unitasker in a multi­tasking world. · Go to The power of concen­tra­tion →

Free meditations from Mindfulness

Find peace in a frantic world with these five medi­ta­tions, including The Choco­late Medi­ta­tion. Connecting with your senses is one of the core bene­fits of Mind­ful­ness medi­ta­tion. Many tradi­tions use nuts or fruit as the focus for a medi­ta­tion on the senses of taste, smell and touch. But you can use any food at all so we devel­oped a medi­ta­tion based on choco­late. · Go to Free medi­ta­tions from Mind­ful­ness →

Three keys to mindful leadership coaching

From Douglas Riddle at Forbes: There are count­less exec­u­tive coaches I would never hire for myself, no matter how wise, insightful, dynamic or expe­ri­enced. Admit­tedly, I’m a hard guy to please, so what I require might not be a good guide for others. However, if a coach can’t create an envi­ron­ment that dissolves the limi­ta­tions of history, expec­ta­tion, and assump­tion, I’m not inter­ested.

How does a coach do that? By creating in the conver­sa­tion with the coachee a sense of open, reflec­tive explo­ration. The coaches who expand my mind, emotions and perfor­mance come to the coaching rela­tion­ship from a place of inner calm. They have quiet minds. They are not beguiled by fancy tech­niques or elegant coaching models. They are midwives for the narrow, messy emer­gence into a larger world – and they rely on habits of mind­ful­ness to accom­plish that. · Go to Three keys to mindful lead­er­ship coaching →

Mindfulness meditation for adults & teens with ADHD

From Sharp­Brains: Dr. David Rabiner shares an excel­lent review of a new study that ana­lyzes the ben­e­fits of mind­ful­ness for ado­les­cents and adults with atten­tion deficits. He writes that “although this is clearly a pre­lim­i­nary study, the results are both inter­est­ing and encour­aging.” · Go to Mind­ful­ness medi­ta­tion for adults & teens with ADHD →