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Is short duration sleep a problem or is it just disturbed sleep that leads to increased mortality risk? A personal exploration.

It is clear that there is a U-shaped association between sleep duration and mortality, with both short and long sleep linked with increased death rates.  This finding is underlined by two major recent research overviews - Gallicchio & Kalesan "Sleep duration and mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis" and Cappuccio et al's "Sleep duration and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies".  There is so much interesting that one could write about this, but this particular blog post is triggered by a personal query that I have.  I try hard - and am mostly successful - to have a very healthy lifestyle.  I eat well, exercise well, keep a sensible weight, don't smoke, don't d

Learning MBSR: third evening of the course - the surprising importance of practising mindfulness during movement

Well last night was the third session of this MBSR course.  I wrote last week about the second evening and also about mindfulness during daily activities.  We packed a lot into this session - there were four practical meditation exercises involving attending to sounds, breath & body awareness, mindfulness during movement & a brief breathing space.  We also had quite extensive group discussions of our experience during each of these practices, a pair exercise to discuss our "homework" last week (it felt helpful to me that this was a bit longer than last session's pair discussion) and more general "homework" exploration in the group.

Learning mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR): first evening of the course

I wrote a blog post a few days ago entitled "Mindfulness: teaching & learning".  I talked about my decision to participate in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course, saying "Why participate in a MBSR course? Basically because I think it would be rather interesting! There's a real groundswell of energy for mindfulness based approaches at the moment. Some of it is "faddy" and will ebb away over time. Some of the energy though is helping us understand much more about mindfulness and how it can best be used in helping us live with less suffering and more joy. So what are my "learning objectives" for the MBSR course?

D: Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, session 4

“ Of all the means which are procured by wisdom to ensure happiness throughout the whole of life, by far the most important is the acquisition of friends. ” - Epicurus

So yesterday we had the fourth evening of this twelve session course.  I posted on the third session last week.  What we covered is illustrated on the Powerpoint handouts I gave out as two six-slides-to-a-page handouts.  Click on slides 1-6, Powerpoint or slides 1-6, PDF and slides 7-12, Powerpoint or slides 7-12, PDF to see.

B: Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, session 2

“ Any unexplained phenomenon passes through three stages before the reality of it is accepted. During the first stage it is considered laughable. During the second stage, it is adamantly opposed. Finally, during the third stage, it is accepted as self-evident. ” - Arthur Schopenhauer

So it was the second session of the group yesterday.  I blogged about the first session last week.  Sadly a couple of people couldn't get to this second meeting - due to a pre-planned holiday and to an unexpected crisis.  It's quite common for participants to miss one or two evenings across a twelve session course like this, but I want to be careful when people miss such an early meeting.  It's important that they don't lose their way and get left behind.  They will get copies of the handouts and the Autogenic CD, but I also make a note to contact them myself.   

A: Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, session 1

“ No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. ” - Aesop

Yesterday we had the first evening of the Life Skills group.  I've written in the past about the background planning behind this group.  How did this first meeting go?  Well there were nine of us - eight participants and myself.  Rather demandingly I'm both running a new course and trying to get used to new technology at the same time.  For years, when running small group trainings here at our house, I've used an overhead projector to shine transparencies up onto the wall.  For a while I've wanted to upgrade to a laptop and data projector, and this evening I went ahead to put this into practice.

Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing

“ A bird will drop frozen from a bough without once having felt sorry for itself. ” - D.H. Lawrence

In the 1970's I taught yoga and several different types of meditation.  In the 1980's I began teaching courses in Autogenic Training, a form of deep relaxation/meditation.  I continued running Autogenic classes for about 25 years.  In addition to the relaxation/meditation exercises, the teaching also covered several other life skill/stress management techniques.  For a much fuller description of these eight session courses, visit the Autogenic Training section of this website.

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