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Monday, June 25, 2007

The best day of your life

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own.

No apologies or excuses.

No one to lean on, rely on, or blame.

The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.

(Bob Moawad)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Meditation May Bolster Brain Activity!

I have been practicing meditation on regular basis and from the day I finished my meditation course, I felt a great change in my life, physically, mentally in both ways. As a dedicated teacher you are expected to be a very active, creative and hard working person. And I admit here that I could utilize my skills and abilities through a regular practice of it. How meditation can blaster brain activity, there is a scientific prove, I can show you.

I am quoting here an article, which was published by National Academy of Science, online edition:"Meditation May Bolster Brain Activity-Buddhist Meditation May Produce Lasting Changes in the Brain"By Jennifer WarnerWebMD Medical News Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MDon Wednesday, November 10, 2004Nov. 10, 2004

"Meditation may not only produce a calming effect, but new research suggests that the practice of Buddhist meditation may produce lasting changes in the brain.Researchers found that monks who spent many years in Buddhist meditation training show significantly greater brain activity in areas associated with learning and happiness than those who have never practiced meditation.

The results suggest that long-term mental training, such as Buddhist meditation, may prompt both short and long-term changes in brain activity and function.Buddhist Meditation May Change the BrainIn the study, which appears in this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, researchers compared the brain activity of eight long-time Buddhist monks and 10 healthy students.

The average age of the monks was 49, and each had undergone mental training in meditation for 10,000 to 50,000 hours over the course of 15 to 40 years.The students' average age was 21. They had no prior experience in meditation and received one week of meditative training before the start of the study.Both groups were asked to practice compassionate meditation, which does not require concentration on specific things. Instead, the participants are instructed to generate a feeling of love and compassion without drawing attention to a particular object.

Researchers measured brain activity before, during, and after meditation using electroencephalograms.They found striking differences between the two groups in a type of brain activity called gamma wave activity, which is involved in mental processes including attention, working memory, learning, and conscious perception.The Buddhist monks had a higher level of this sort of gamma wave activity before they began meditation, and this difference increased dramatically during meditation.

In fact, researchers say the extremely high levels of gamma wave activity are the highest ever reported.The monks also had more activity in areas associated with positive emotions, such as happiness.Researchers say the fact that the monks had higher levels of this type of brain activity before meditation began suggests that long-term practice of Buddhist or other forms of meditation may alter the brain.Although age differences may also account for some of the differences found by this study, researchers say that the hours of meditation practice, rather than age, significantly predicted gamma wave activity.Researchers say more studies are needed to look at whether differences in brain activity are caused by long-term meditation training itself or by individual differences before training.You can get the original page from this link:

Web md

How to ease your stress/depression?

Mostly, whenever we face a physical or mental problem, there is a pharmacological subscription suggested from the doctor. And in most cased, when the problem is related to mind or psychological, only anti-depressants are the first suggestion from the doctor. But we know that the antidepressant medication have many side effects. Moreover it is not the cure for the problem, only a temporary relief.

People are also looking for non-pharmacologic relief of illness, including depression. Unfortunately, the evidence to support the effectiveness of alternative therapies against the disease isn't strong.
Alternative or complementary therapies probably won't do much to ease really serious depression, but for mild depression or anxiety, some tips can be helpful.
For any form of mild depression, all of these things can help:

One study released about five years ago, found that exercise could be a major weapon against depression.
"Exercise, at least when performed in a group setting, seems to be at least as effective as standard antidepressant medications in reducing symptoms in patients with major depression," said researcher James Blumenthal, a professor of medical psychology at Duke University.

His team's study found that 10 months of regular, moderate exercise reduced depressive symptoms at a rate equal to that of Zoloft.
Another study, this time by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, found that 30-minute workouts done three to five times a week could cut depressive sy Even less vigorous activities, such as T'ai chi or yoga, may help lower blood pressure and ease stress, Marsh said. "People who exercise also tend to feel that they have more control over their life," she added. That's important, since a persistent feeling of helplessness is a hallmark of depression.

According to Marsh, the science is much less clear when it comes to the effectiveness of supplements and herbal medicines. For example, there's little good data to support the use of either foliate or the B vitamins in warding off the blues.
Perhaps the most talked-about herbal therapy for depression is St. John's wart, but "the evidence that it can help moderate-to-severe depression is very poor,"
Non-pharmacologic interventions such as massage therapy, acupuncture or aromatherapy are great at easing short-term stress, "but the real issue, when it comes to depression, is what the effect is over the long term?
One thing the science does show, however, is that contacts with others -- friends, family, clubs and group activities -- can boost mood and help ease depression.

These tips can improve your mental well being, as well as your physical well being.

I am including here 2 self screening tests, which are free to use, provided by Department of Psychiatry (NYU Medical Center/NYU School of Medicine)

The Online Anxiety Screening Test

The Online Depression Screening Test

KEEP IN MIND: that these preliminary screening tests are for depressive symptoms that do not replace in any way a formal psychiatric evaluation. It is designed to give a preliminary idea about the presence of mild to moderate depressive symptoms that indicate the need for an evaluation by a psychiatrist.

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