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Recent research: diet associated depression, weight & violence, vitamin D fall prevention, IBS & anxiety, yoga & mindfulness

Here are a mixed bag of six recent research papers on diet, vitamin D, IBS and yoga (all details & abstracts to these studies are listed further down this blog post).  The first three papers highlight the toxic effects on psychological health, physical health, and society of our processed, high sugar diets.  Sanchez-Villegas et al map a bit more clearly the potential link between diet and depression.  They conclude "Our results suggest a potential protective role of the MDP (Mediterranean dietary pattern) with regard to the prevention of depressive disorders; additional longitudinal studies and trials are needed to confirm these findings."  Fiorito et al show that intake of sweetened drinks in 5 year old girls predicts overweight over subsequent childhood and adolescence, and - rather scarily - Moore & colleagues show a link between confectionary consumption at age 10 and subsequent violence in adulthood.  They concluded "Children who ate confectio

Updated NICE guidelines on treating depression

NICE - the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence - recently published guidance on "Depression in adults (update)" and on "Depression with a chronic physical health problem".  The "Depression in adults (update)"  replaces guidance originally published in 2004 and amended in 2007.  The 28 page Quick reference guide provides a helpful overview.  Interestingly NICE here use the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for depression rather than the ICD-10 criteria (used in their earlier publications).  A four step approach is charted - each step is described both by who the intervention is for (e.g.

Recent research: six studies on emotional & relationship ‘intelligence’ – placebo, warmth, mindfulness, & emotions

Here are half a dozen research papers that have recently interested me in the broad areas of emotional and relationship "intelligence" (all details & abstracts to these studies are given further down this blog posting).  Kelley et al report on "Patient and practitioner influences on the placebo effect" which in this study was " ... twice as large as the effect attributable to treatment group assignment."  Practitioners assigned to give warm, empathic consultations achieved considerably better outcomes than those assigned to neutral consultations, although the " ...

Autogenic training: sixth session

Here are the handouts, recordings, and reflection/record sheets for the sixth Autogenic training session.  There are four overlapping themes to this 'lesson'.  Obviously a key issue is the next Autogenic Training step - the focus on the abdominal area.  I usually initially get trainees to put a hand or both hands on their abdomen when they are learning this exercise.  The hand(s) are positioned a little below the belly button, unless the trainee has specific abdominal symptoms - when positioning the hand(s) over the troublesome area may be more appropriate.  The hand(s) don't have to be in direct contact with the skin.  A sense of gentle, warm contact through clothing is fine.  This typically helps one focus on the abdominal area and the hand contact also merges easily with the feeling of belly relaxation and warmth that one begins to allow. 

Four aspects model & some associated evidence for relaxation, meditation & imagery

Relaxation, meditation, mindfulness, hypnosis, imagery and other associated methods form a complex, loosely interlinked field.  The "Four aspects of helpful inner focus" model, that I've put together to help me make more sense of this territory, looks like this: 

Four aspects model

For a downloadable copy of this diagram click here.  There is a fair amount of data supporting most of these methods.  To give some examples:

Autogenic training, session 5

Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow - perhaps it all will.

- Einstein

Here are the handouts and other materials for the fifth Autogenic training session.  Start this exercise once you have worked through the first four lessons.  Take your time.  If you have conscientiously worked your way through to this fifth session, you're doing really well.  Congratulations.  Don't feel you have to finish each new exercise in a week.  Take longer if you want to - these are skills that can last a lifetime, so enjoy developing them really thoroughly.  Session five introduces focussing on the breath, extending our ability to apply these skills during other activities, better understanding of emotions, and the use of therapeutic writing.

Autogenic training: fifth session

Here are the handouts and other materials for the fifth Autogenic training session.  Start this exercise once you have worked through the first four lessons.  Take your time.  If you have conscientiously worked your way through to this fifth session, you're doing really well.  Congratulations.  Don't feel you have to finish each new exercise in a week.  Take longer if you want to - these are skills that can last a lifetime, so enjoy developing them really thoroughly.  Session five introduces focussing on the breath, extending our ability to apply these skills during other activities, better understanding of emotions, and the use of therapeutic writing.

Recent research: six studies on positive psychology, goals, relationships, caregiving, mindfulness & nature

Here are half a dozen studies that one could loosely put under the broad umbrella of positive psychology.  Zorba the Greek said "Take what you want and pay for it, says God." and Niemiec et al's study, on the effects of achieving different kinds of goal, supports this statement (for all six research studies mentioned in this blog post see below for abstracts and links).  Quoting Niemiec et al's somewhat awkward language: "The relation of aspiration attainment to psychological health was found to differ as a function of the content of the goals. Attainment of the intrinsic aspirations for personal growth, close relationships, community involvement, and physical health related positively to basic psychological need satisfaction and psychological health.

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