3 Quick Tips for Fitting Mindfulness Into Your Day

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Have you ever been about to make a presentation and felt your heart racing? Rub on a little extra deodorant before a big job interview? Being aware of your body and its reactions to certain stimuli has long been called “mindfulness.” Being mindful of your body and its surroundings has been shown in research from top medical universities like Harvard, Northwestern, and Johns Hopkins to reduce stress, increase brain density, and work to help increase empathy, memory, and attention span. 

For maximum benefits, some studies claim 45 minutes to one hour a day of mindfulness meditation is needed. But with today’s frenzied pace—9-hour workdays, parental or elder care duties for many, exercising to keep the rest of your body fit, and time to develop yourself professionally—an extra hour of sitting in a dark room focusing on your breath might just make you feel even more anxious.  Click here to read more...

Animals and Empathy

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The reason we connect so much with mammals, rather than other animals, is because they seem to understand our moods and read our body language, according to Dr. Frans de Waal, an expert and lecturer on animal social behavior.

“Most of our pets are mammals because mammals sense our emotions, we sense theirs and so we connect better with them than, say, fish or iguanas.” People believe that their pets really understand them and to an extent, de Waal agrees.  Click here to read more...

You Could Have PTSD Symptoms and Not Even Know It

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Most people will experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives, whether they’ve lived it themselves, witnessed it, or heard about it happening to a friend or family member. 

In fact, five out of 10 women in the United States—yes, half—will experience one of these events, like a tragic car accident or sexual assault. When this happens, it’s normal and expected for those affected to act differently afterward—nightmares, being hyper-alert, or avoiding the place where the trauma happened, for example.  Click here to read more...

Parents Screen Time Is Hurting Kids

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Smartphones have by now been implicated in so many crummy outcomes—car fatalities, sleep disturbances, empathy loss, relationship problems, failure to notice a clown on a unicycle—that it almost seems easier to list the things they don’t mess up than the things they do. Our society may be reaching peak criticism of digital devices.

Even so, emerging research suggests that a key problem remains underappreciated. It involves kids’ development, but it’s probably not what you think. More than screen-obsessed young children, we should be concerned about tuned-out parents.  Click here to read more...

Talking to Kids After They Come Out

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Summer vacation can be a stressful time. Getting together with family will sometimes surface old hurts or disagreements; political, religious, or otherwise. This can be especially true for LGBTQ youth or young adults in a family environment that is not supportive.

Family gatherings can act as a catalyst for people to vocalize their disapproval of the youth’s sexual orientation or gender identity / expression. Even those who believe they are well-meaning can try to draw other adults into this damaging exchange; using the gathering as an opportunity to shame a child into altering this extremely personal aspect of their identity.

Study: Empathetic people process music differently, enjoy it more

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It’s no surprise our level of empathy impacts how we process social interactions with other people. But how might empathy affect the way we process music?

That’s the question addressed in a first-of-its-kind study published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. The results showed that high-empathy people not only got more pleasure from listening to music, but also experienced more activity in brain regions associated with social interactions and rewards.  Click here to read more...

What Not to Do When a Loved One Is Hurting

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 “It’s all for the best.” “He is in a better place.” “You will get over this.” “Time heals everything.” “You weren’t meant to be together.” “Everyone passes; it was her time.”

These are all well-meaning, and in most cases caring, things that people tend to say when someone they know or love is hurting. It’s painful for most people to watch a person they care about suffer and yet feel unable to do anything about it. Most people are uncomfortable with the pain of others’ suffering: They just don’t know what to do and how to help. Instead of just sitting with the pain, they offer condolences like those listed above.  Click here to read more...

How Reading Can Boost Empathy

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Here’s a question for you: how empathic do you think you are? As a teacher, it’s likely your answer will be ‘very’. But how empathetic do you think your pupils are? This answer may vary more.

In a society in which hate crimes are rocketing and public discourse is arguably more divisive ever, being able to empathise – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person – is something that every member of our society should be able to do.  Click here to read more...