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Numerous studies show that happy individuals are successful across multiple life domains, including marriage, friendship, income, work performance, and health. The authors suggest a conceptual model to account for these findings, arguing that the happiness-success link exists not only because success makes people happy, but also because positive affect engenders success. Three classes of evidence--crosssectional, longitudinal, and experimental--are documented to test their model. Relevant studies are described and their effect sizes combined meta-analytically. The results reveal that happiness is associated with and precedes numerous successful outcomes, as well as behaviors paralleling success. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that positive affect--the hallmark of well-being--may be the cause of many of the desirable characteristics, resources, and successes correlated with happiness. Limitations, empirical issues, and important future research questions are discussed.

This paper evaluates the benefits of meditation in regard to emotional intelligence (EI), perceived stress and negative mental health with cross-sectional and experimental studies. It first studied 351 full-time working adults with different amounts of experience in meditation for these factors in order to test the hypothesis that their differences in them were based on differences in meditation experience, and found that those participants with greater meditation experience exhibited higher EI, and less perceived stress and negative mental health than those who had less or none. It then randomly divided 20 graduate students with no previous experience of meditation into a mindfulness meditation group (n = 10) and a control group (n = 10), and measured them for the same variable pre-treatment and post-treatment to test the hypothesis that meditation training improves people's state, and found that those who completed the mindfulness meditation training demonstrated significant improvements compared to the control group.

Critical pedagogy, even as inflected by certain poststructuralisms, tends to reinforce rather than subvert deep-seated humanist assumptions about humans and nature by taking for granted the borders that define nature as the devalued Other. These assumptions are called into question by discussion of how relationships between language, communication, and meaningful experience are conceptualized outside the field of critical pedagogy. We deal constructively with some anthropocentric blind spots within critical pedagogy generally and within poststructuralist approaches to critical pedagogy in particular. We hope to illuminate places where these streams of thought and practice move in directions compatible with critical environmental education.

Tracy, BL and Hart, CEF. Bikram yoga training and physical fitness in healthy young adults. J Strength Cond Res 27(3): 822-830, 2013-There has been relatively little longitudinal controlled investigation of the effects of yoga on general physical fitness, despite the widespread participation in this form of exercise. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the effect of short-term Bikram yoga training on general physical fitness. Young healthy adults were randomized to yoga training (N = 10, 29 +/- 6 years, 24 sessions in 8 weeks) or a control group (N = 11, 26 +/- 7 years). Each yoga training session consisted of 90-minute standardized supervised postures performed in a heated and humidified studio. Isometric deadlift strength, handgrip strength, lower back/hamstring and shoulder flexibility, resting heart rate and blood pressure, maximal oxygen consumption (treadmill), and lean and fat mass (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) were measured before and after training. Yoga subjects exhibited increased deadlift strength, substantially increased lower back/hamstring flexibility, increased shoulder flexibility, and modestly decreased body fat compared with control group. There were no changes in handgrip strength, cardiovascular measures, or maximal aerobic fitness. In summary, this short-term yoga training protocol produced beneficial changes in musculoskeletal fitness that were specific to the training stimulus.

Mindfulness-based interventions have been heralded as promising means of alleviating chronic stress. While meta-analyses indicate that mindfulness-based interventions significantly reduce global measures of stress, how mindfulness-based interventions modulate the specific mechanisms underpinning chronic stress as operationalized by the National Institute of Mental Health research domain criteria (RDoC) of sustained threat has not yet been detailed in the literature. To address this knowledge gap, this article aims to (1) review evidence that mindfulness-based interventions ameliorate each of the 10 elements of behavioral dysregulation characterizing sustained threat via an array of mindful counter-regulatory strategies; (2) review evidence that mindfulness-based interventions modify biological domains implicated in sustained threat, such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, as well as brain circuits involved in attentional function, limbic reactivity, habit behavior, and the default mode network; and (3) integrate these findings into a novel conceptual framework of mindful self-regulation in the face of stress-the Mindfulness-to-Meaning Theory. Taken together, the extant body of scientific evidence suggests that the practice of mindfulness enhances a range biobehavioral factors implicated in adaptive stress coping and induces self-referential plasticity, leading to the ability to find meaning in adversity. These mechanistic findings can inform the treatment development process to optimize the next generation of mindfulness-based interventions for greater therapeutic efficacy.

Biofeedback is a mind–body technique in which individuals learn how to modify their physiology for the purpose of improving physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Much like physi- cal therapy, biofeedback training requires active participation on the part of patients and often regular practice between training sessions. Clini- cal biofeedback may be used to manage disease symptoms as well as to improve overall health and wellness through stress management training. Research has shown that biofeedback interven- tions are efficacious in treating a variety of medi- cal conditions, and many Americans are turning to biofeedback and other less traditional therapies for their routine healthcare.Clinical biofeedback training is growing increasingly popular in the USA, as many people are seeking out relatively new approaches to healthcare. This article provides an overview of clinical biofeedback training, outlines two models of training, details research which has established how effective biofeedback is in patients with a given disease, and describes who should be re- ferred for biofeedback training.

The therapeutic efficacy of systemic drug delivery vehicles depends on their ability to evade the immune system, cross the biological barriers of the body and localize at target tissues. Leukocytes possess all of these functions and exert their targeting ability through cellular membrane interactions. Here we show that NanoPorous Silicon particles (NPS) can successfully perform all these actions when coated with cellular membranes purified from white blood cells. These hybrid particles called LeukoLike Vectors (LLV) were able to: prevent rapid clearance of phagocytic cells of the immune system; communicate with endothelial cells through receptor-ligand interaction; transport and release a payload across an inflamed reconstructed endothelium. Furthermore, LLV retained their functions when injected in vivo, showing enhanced circulation time and improved accumulation in the tumour.

Up to 50% of individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) do not recover after two antidepressant medication trials, and therefore meet the criteria for treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is one promising treatment; however, the extent to which MBCT influences clinical outcomes relative to baseline neural activation remains unknown. In the present study we investigated baseline differences in amygdala activation between TRD patients and healthy controls (HCs), related amygdala activation to depression symptoms, and examined the impacts of MBCT and amygdala activation on longitudinal depression outcomes. At baseline, TRD patients (n = 80) and HCs (n = 37) participated in a functional magnetic resonance imaging task in which they identified either the emotion (affect labeling) or the gender (gender labeling) of faces, or passively viewed faces (observing). The TRD participants then completed eight weeks of MBCT or a health enhancement program (HEP). Relative to HCs, the TRD patients demonstrated less amygdala activation during affect labeling, and marginally less during gender labeling. Blunted amygdala activation in TRD patients during affect labeling was associated with greater depression severity. MBCT was associated with greater depression reductions than was HEP directly following treatment; however, at 52 weeks the treatment effect was not significant, and baseline amygdala activation across the task conditions predicted depression severity in both groups. TRD patients have blunted amygdala responses during affect labeling that are associated with greater concurrent depression. Furthermore, although MBCT produced greater short-term improvements in depression than did HEP, overall baseline amygdala reactivity was predictive of long-term clinical outcomes in both groups.

Up to 50% of individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) do not recover after two antidepressant medication trials, and therefore meet the criteria for treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is one promising treatment; however, the extent to which MBCT influences clinical outcomes relative to baseline neural activation remains unknown. In the present study we investigated baseline differences in amygdala activation between TRD patients and healthy controls (HCs), related amygdala activation to depression symptoms, and examined the impacts of MBCT and amygdala activation on longitudinal depression outcomes. At baseline, TRD patients (n = 80) and HCs (n = 37) participated in a functional magnetic resonance imaging task in which they identified either the emotion (affect labeling) or the gender (gender labeling) of faces, or passively viewed faces (observing). The TRD participants then completed eight weeks of MBCT or a health enhancement program (HEP). Relative to HCs, the TRD patients demonstrated less amygdala activation during affect labeling, and marginally less during gender labeling. Blunted amygdala activation in TRD patients during affect labeling was associated with greater depression severity. MBCT was associated with greater depression reductions than was HEP directly following treatment; however, at 52 weeks the treatment effect was not significant, and baseline amygdala activation across the task conditions predicted depression severity in both groups. TRD patients have blunted amygdala responses during affect labeling that are associated with greater concurrent depression. Furthermore, although MBCT produced greater short-term improvements in depression than did HEP, overall baseline amygdala reactivity was predictive of long-term clinical outcomes in both groups.

The article reviews the book "Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine" edited by Theresia Hofer with Pasang Yotan Arya.

<p>Enhancing body awareness has been described as a key element or a mechanism of action for therapeutic approaches often categorized as mind-body approaches, such as yoga, TaiChi, Body-Oriented Psychotherapy, Body Awareness Therapy, mindfulness based therapies/meditation, Feldenkrais, Alexander Method, Breath Therapy and others with reported benefits for a variety of health conditions. To better understand the conceptualization of body awareness in mind-body therapies, leading practitioners and teaching faculty of these approaches were invited as well as their patients to participate in focus groups. The qualitative analysis of these focus groups with representative practitioners of body awareness practices, and the perspectives of their patients, elucidated the common ground of their understanding of body awareness. For them body awareness is an inseparable aspect of embodied self awareness realized in action and interaction with the environment and world. It is the awareness of embodiment as an innate tendency of our organism for emergent self-organization and wholeness. The process that patients undergo in these therapies was seen as a progression towards greater unity between body and self, very similar to the conceptualization of embodiment as dialectic of body and self described by some philosophers as being experienced in distinct developmental levels.</p>
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Purpose: Meditative movement (MM) practices are increasingly being studied, including examination of the potential for these modalities to contribute to weight management.Methods: A search was conducted for randomized controlled trials testing one or both of two forms of MM, Tai Chi and Qigong, reporting effects on changes in body composition. Data from these studies were extracted and tabled, and a meta-analysis of studies with inactive control conditions was conducted. Risk of bias was assessed, and seven RCTs had a low risk of bias. Sources of bias include publication bias and selection of English only.Results: Publications meeting inclusion criteria yielded 24 studies (N = 1621 participants). Significant improvements in body composition, primarily body mass index, were noted for 41.7% of studies. A synthesis table describes the distribution of design factors, including type of comparison condition (inactive vs. active) and baseline body composition status (whether or not overweight/obese). A meta-analysis was conducted on 12 studies with inactive controls (using a random effects model) finding a small-to-medium treatment effect (SMD = − 0.388, CI = [− 0.732, − 0.044], t = 2.48, p < 0.03) for TC or QG interventions with a high level of heterogeneity.Conclusions: Tai Chi and Qigong show demonstrable effects on body composition, when compared to inactive control conditions. Systematic evaluation and valid conclusions regarding the impact of Tai Chi and Qigong on body composition outcomes will require more targeted study designs and control of comparison conditions. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR

The brain and the cardiovascular system influence each other during the processing of emotion. The study of the interactions of these systems during emotion regulation has been limited in human functional neuroimaging, despite its potential importance for physical health. We have previously reported that mental expertise in cultivation of compassion alters the activation of circuits linked with empathy and theory of mind in response to emotional stimuli. Guided by the finding that heart rate increases more during blocks of compassion meditation than neutral states, especially for experts, we examined the interaction between state (compassion vs. neutral) and group (novice, expert) on the relation between heart rate and BOLD signal during presentation of emotional sounds presented during each state. Our findings revealed that BOLD signal in the right middle insula showed a significant association with heart rate (HR) across state and group. This association was stronger in the left middle/posterior insula when experts were compared to novices. The positive coupling of HR and BOLD was higher within the compassion state than within the neutral state in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex for both groups, underlining the role of this region in the modulation of bodily arousal states. This state effect was stronger for experts than novices in somatosensory cortices and the right inferior parietal lobule (group by state interaction). These data confirm that compassion enhances the emotional and somatosensory brain representations of others' emotions, and that this effect is modulated by expertise. Future studies are needed to further investigate the impact of compassion training on these circuits.
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STUDY DESIGN: This study determined bone mineral density (BMD) of cervical, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae in healthy asymptomatic human subjects. OBJECTIVES: To test the hypothesis that BMD of neck vertebrae (C2-C7) is equivalent to BMD of lumbar vertebrae (L2-L4). SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: BMD of lumbar vertebrae is correlated to their strength. Although numerous studies exist quantifying BMD of the human lumbar spine, such information for the cervical spine is extremely limited. In addition, BMD correlations are not established between the two regions of the spinal column. METHODS: Adult healthy human female volunteers with ages ranging from 18 to 40 years underwent quantitative computed tomography (CT) scanning of the neck and back. All BMD data were statistically analyzed using paired nonrepeating measures ANOVA techniques. Significance was assigned at a P < 0.05. Linear regression analyses were used to compare BMD as a function of level and region; +/-95% confidence intervals were determined. RESULTS: When data were grouped by cervical (C2-C7), thoracic (T1), and lumbar (L2-L4) spines, mean BMD was 260.8 +/- 42.5, 206.9 +/- 33.5, and 179.7 +/- 23.4 mg/mL. Average BMD of cervical vertebrae was higher than (P < 0.0001) thoracic and lumbar spines. Correlations between BMD and level indicated the lowest r value for T1 (0.42); in general, the association was the strongest in the lumbar spine (r = 0.89-0.95). The cervical spine also responded with good correlations among cervical vertebrae (r ranging from 0.66 to 0.87). CONCLUSIONS: The present study failed to support the hypothesis that BMD of lumbar spine vertebrae is equivalent to its cranial counterparts. The lack of differences in BMD among the three lumbar vertebral bodies confirms the appropriateness of using L2, L3, or L4 in clinical or biomechanical situations. However, significant differences were found among different regions of the vertebral column, with the cervical spine demonstrating higher trabecular densities than the thoracic and lumbar spines. In addition, the present study found statistically significant variations in densities even among neck vertebrae.

People frequently await uncertain news, yet research reveals that the strategies people naturally use to cope with uncertainty are largely ineffective. We tested the role of mindfulness for improving the experience of a stressful waiting period. Law graduates awaiting their bar exam results either reported their trait mindfulness (Study 1; N = 150) or were instructed to practice mindfulness meditation (Study 2; N = 90). As hypothesized, participants who were naturally more mindful or who practiced mindfulness managed their expectations more effectively by bracing for the worst later in the waiting period and perceived themselves as coping better. Additionally, participants who were low in dispositional optimism and high in intolerance of uncertainty benefited most from mindfulness (relative to control) meditation. These findings point to a simple and effective way to wait better, particularly for those most vulnerable to distress.

The phobic fear response appears to resemble an intense form of normal threat responding that can be induced in a nonthreatening situation. However, normative and phobic fear are rarely contrasted directly, thus the degree to which these two types of fear elicit similar neural and bodily responses is not well understood. To examine biological correlates of normal and phobic fear, 21 snake phobic and 21 nonphobic controls saw videos of slithering snakes, attacking snakes and fish in an event-related fMRI design. Simultaneous eletrodermal, pupillary, and self-reported affective responses were collected. Nonphobic fear activated a network of threat-responsive brain regions and involved pupillary dilation, electrodermal response and self-reported affect selective to the attacking snakes. Phobic fear recruited a large array of brain regions including those active in normal fear plus additional structures and also engendered increased pupil dilation, electrodermal and self-reported responses that were greater to any snake versus fish. Importantly, phobics showed greater between- and within-subject concordance among neural, electrodermal, pupillary, and subjective report measures. These results suggest phobic responses recruit overlapping but more strongly activated and more extensive networks of brain activity as compared to normative fear, and are characterized by greater concordance among neural activation, peripheral physiology and self-report. It is yet unclear whether concordance is unique to psychopathology, or rather simply an indicator of the intense fear seen in the phobic response, but these results underscore the importance of synchrony between brain, body, and cognition during the phobic reaction.
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Thirty years of brain imaging research has converged to define the brain's default network-a novel and only recently appreciated brain system that participates in internal modes of cognition. Here we synthesize past observations to provide strong evidence that the default network is a specific, anatomically defined brain system preferentially active when individuals are not focused on the external environment. Analysis of connectional anatomy in the monkey supports the presence of an interconnected brain system. Providing insight into function, the default network is active when individuals are engaged in internally focused tasks including autobiographical memory retrieval, envisioning the future, and conceiving the perspectives of others. Probing the functional anatomy of the network in detail reveals that it is best understood as multiple interacting subsystems. The medial temporal lobe subsystem provides information from prior experiences in the form of memories and associations that are the building blocks of mental simulation. The medial prefrontal subsystem facilitates the flexible use of this information during the construction of self-relevant mental simulations. These two subsystems converge on important nodes of integration including the posterior cingulate cortex. The implications of these functional and anatomical observations are discussed in relation to possible adaptive roles of the default network for using past experiences to plan for the future, navigate social interactions, and maximize the utility of moments when we are not otherwise engaged by the external world. We conclude by discussing the relevance of the default network for understanding mental disorders including autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease.

BACKGROUND: The frontal lobe has been crucially involved in the neurobiology of major depression, but inconsistencies among studies exist, in part due to a failure of considering modulatory variables such as symptom severity, comorbidity with anxiety, and distinct subtypes, as codeterminants for patterns of brain activation in depression. METHODS: Resting electroencephalogram was recorded in 38 unmedicated subjects with major depressive disorder and 18 normal comparison subjects, and analyzed with a tomographic source localization method that computes the cortical three-dimensional distribution of current density for standard electroencephalogram frequency bands. Symptom severity and anxiety were measured via self-report and melancholic features via clinical interview. RESULTS: Depressed subjects showed more excitatory (beta3, 21.5-30.0 Hz) activity in the right superior and inferior frontal lobe (Brodmann's area 9/10/11) than comparison subjects. In melancholic subjects, this effect was particularly pronounced for severe depression, and right frontal activity correlated positively with anxiety. Depressed subjects showed posterior cingulate and precuneus hypoactivity. CONCLUSIONS: While confirming prior results implicating right frontal and posterior cingulate regions, this study highlights the importance of depression severity, anxiety, and melancholic features in patterns of brain activity accompanying depression.
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In this book, Larry Rosenberg explicates how freedom from suffering is a reality which can be attained through right action: cultivating tranquility and insight through the full awareness of breathing. The author provides a clear description of insight meditation and how it can be used to liberate ourselves from delusion.

A Program to Relieve Stress, Anxiety, Asthma, Hypertension, Migraine, and Other Disorders for Better Health Take a deep abdominal breath. That's the prescription from leading stress and anxiety treatment expert Robert Fried. This straightforward self-improvement guide shows you how to take advantage of several easy breathing techniques and exercises to effectively reduce stress--the most common health complaint in North America--as well as many other health problems. Dr. Fried presents simple breathing exercises anyone can do, any time--at your desk or in bed as you're dropping off to sleep. In this book, you'll receive expert advice on: * The Hows and Whys of Breathing--your lungs and the science of respiration. * The Five-Day Program for Better Breathing and Relaxation--the connection between stress/relaxation and abdominal breathing. * Nutrition and Breathing--foods that can actually improve your blood circulation. * Specific Health Disorders--discover the link between breathing and asthma, migraines, hypertension, anxiety, and depression.

Given the limited success of conventional treatments for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), investigations of alternative approaches are warranted. We examined the effects of a breathing-based meditation intervention, Sudarshan Kriya yoga, on PTSD outcome variables in U.S. male veterans of the Iraq or Afghanistan war. We randomly assigned 21 veterans to an active (n = 11) or waitlist control (n = 10) group. Laboratory measures of eye-blink startle and respiration rate were obtained before and after the intervention, as were self-report symptom measures; the latter were also obtained 1 month and 1 year later. The active group showed reductions in PTSD scores, d = 1.16, 95% CI [0.20, 2.04], anxiety symptoms, and respiration rate, but the control group did not. Reductions in startle correlated with reductions in hyperarousal symptoms immediately postintervention (r = .93, p < .001) and at 1-year follow-up (r = .77, p = .025). This longitudinal intervention study suggests there may be clinical utility for Sudarshan Kriya yoga for PTSD.

Given the limited success of conventional treatments for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), investigations of alternative approaches are warranted. We examined the effects of a breathing-based meditation intervention, Sudarshan Kriya yoga, on PTSD outcome variables in U.S. male veterans of the Iraq or Afghanistan war. We randomly assigned 21 veterans to an active (n = 11) or waitlist control (n = 10) group. Laboratory measures of eye-blink startle and respiration rate were obtained before and after the intervention, as were self-report symptom measures; the latter were also obtained 1 month and 1 year later. The active group showed reductions in PTSD scores, d = 1.16, 95% CI [0.20, 2.04], anxiety symptoms, and respiration rate, but the control group did not. Reductions in startle correlated with reductions in hyperarousal symptoms immediately postintervention (r = .93, p < .001) and at 1-year follow-up (r = .77, p = .025). This longitudinal intervention study suggests there may be clinical utility for Sudarshan Kriya yoga for PTSD.

Given the limited success of conventional treatments for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), investigations of alternative approaches are warranted. We examined the effects of a breathing-based meditation intervention, Sudarshan Kriya yoga, on PTSD outcome variables in U.S. male veterans of the Iraq or Afghanistan war. We randomly assigned 21 veterans to an active (n = 11) or waitlist control (n = 10) group. Laboratory measures of eye-blink startle and respiration rate were obtained before and after the intervention, as were self-report symptom measures; the latter were also obtained 1 month and 1 year later. The active group showed reductions in PTSD scores, d = 1.16, 95% CI [0.20, 2.04], anxiety symptoms, and respiration rate, but the control group did not. Reductions in startle correlated with reductions in hyperarousal symptoms immediately postintervention (r = .93, p < .001) and at 1-year follow-up (r = .77, p = .025). This longitudinal intervention study suggests there may be clinical utility for Sudarshan Kriya yoga for PTSD.

Neurophysiological studies may explain how breathing techniques normalize stress response, emotion regulation, and autonomic and neuroendocrine system function. Breath practices have been shown to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, mass disasters, depression, and attention deficit disorder. Technology-assisted breathing interventions facilitate therapeutic breathing by using either static cues such as a breath pacer or real-time feedback based on physiological parameters such as heart rate variability. The empirical literature indicates that technology-assisted breathing can be beneficial in mental health treatment, though it may not be appropriate for all individuals. Initial in-person training and evaluation can improve results.

Neurophysiological studies may explain how breathing techniques normalize stress response, emotion regulation, and autonomic and neuroendocrine system function. Breath practices have been shown to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, mass disasters, depression, and attention deficit disorder. Technology-assisted breathing interventions facilitate therapeutic breathing by using either static cues such as a breath pacer or real-time feedback based on physiological parameters such as heart rate variability. The empirical literature indicates that technology-assisted breathing can be beneficial in mental health treatment, though it may not be appropriate for all individuals. Initial in-person training and evaluation can improve results.

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