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The 5 minute 'Health' read - Background

I read a fair amount of research and thought some people might be interested in recent studies that I've found helpful.  I plan to write a brief approximately 1,200 word (5 minute read) newsletter/blog post pretty much every week, highlighting helpful material that has emerged in the previous couple of months.  I'll rotate through six topic areas ... Lifestyle, Positive Psychology, Relationships, Ageing, Psychedelics, and Meditation.  I also plan to write occasional posts where I go into more detail about particular related subject areas. 

Breathing

             "As you breathe in, cherish yourself.  As you breathe out, cherish all beings."     Dalai Lama

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love."   Marcus Aurelius

How to live well - a shared exploration

“ To stand and stare, to watch the rising sun, fills me with such calm happiness, I am sure I have dwindled away too much time on inessentials. ” - Diana Gault (when dying of cancer)

                                   how to live well – a shared exploration 

what is it? This course is ambitious. It aims to help us live longer, healthier lives that are more energised, happy and fulfilled. We will work to improve our knowledge and activities in three interconnected areas – optimising wellbeing, nourishing relationships, and living with health, energy & resilience. The course is constructed partly on the recent state-of-the-art, evidence-based ENHANCE intervention for building wellbeing, with ingredients that focus on our values, self-determination theory’s needs/goals/motivations, mindfulness & compassion, positive emotions & savouring, and the central importance of relationships. 

Compassion, wisdom & wellbeing: an 8 week training

A good friend & I have just been sorting out the practical details of running an 8 week course together on "Compassion, wisdom & wellbeing", starting in January.  Some aspects still need to be tweaked, but the basic publicity information runs like this:

"If you want others to be happy, practise compassion.  If you want to be happy, practise compassion."   Dalai Lama

    "Wisdom, compassion, & courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men."    Confucius

Upgrading the 'breathing space' meditation, some research-based suggestions (4th post): compassion & implementation intentions

Ch.14: Meditation, Gratitude & Savouring

“ There are no paths, paths are made by walking. ” - Australian Aboriginal saying

There are so many interesting issues that can be covered in this chapter, for example "Four aspects of inner focus" model.  Mindfulness.  Acceptance.  Presence.  Flow.  Positive psychology findings.  Importance of gratitude/savouring.

 

Balanced meditation practice: an overview

Taking our attention inwards can be done helpfully in so many ways.  We can relax; we can be mindfully aware; we can use visualisations; we can deeply savour present time experience; we can process difficulties from our pasts or prepare ourselves for challenges in the future.  There are so many useful ways of using our minds to help ourselves.  In the diagram below, one can think of "mindfulness' as representing "content irrelevant" - it's how we're relating to mind-body content rather than what the mind-body content is that's important.  "Exploring & processing" however is very much "content relevant" - whether one is gaining perspective by seeing what the content is and "naming" it, or seeing what the content is and learning from it (as in focusing).

Mindful self-compassion: affectionate breathing meditation

I'm just back from a five day Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) retreat in Iceland with Chris Germer & Christine Brahler.  MSC teaches a whole host of meditation practices, with three underlined as core meditations.  These three are Affectionate Breathing, Loving-Kindness for Ourselves, and Giving & Receiving Compassion.  In this post I talk a bit more about the initial core meditation practice - Affectionate Breathing.

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