Health intervention - Rafe

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Health intervention - Rafe

  1. 1. Vipassana MeditationA mindfulness-based practiceTranslation of ‘vipassana’:To see things as they really are
  2. 2. AS THINGS ARE...REALLYOK, IT’S NOT THAT BAD BUT...MEDITATION WAS THE FIRST THINGI THOUGHT OF WHEN I READ THE WORDS“HEALTH INTERVENTION”WHICH TELLS YOU SOMETHING
  3. 3. symptomsthat inspired this interventionPOOR READING AND/OR RESPONSES TO BODILY CUES:•HEADACHES, MAINLY ASSOCIATED WITH LONG PERIODS IN FRONT OF THE COMPUTERSCREEN•THAT CUP OF COFFEE AT 4 IN THE AFTERNOON WHEN AN ORANGE WOULD HAVE SUFFICED•INTERPRETING DEHYDRATION AS HUNGER (NOT MINDFUL OF WATER INTAKE)•NOT RESTING OR RELAXING FATIGUED BODY PARTS, WANTING TO ‘PUSH THROUGH’•STRESS, MANIFESTED IN NECK AND BACK TENSION, UNEVEN OR SHALLOW BREATH,MUSCULAR TIGHTNESS, ACHES AND PAINSTHE MIND:•STRESS, MANIFESTED IN CYCLICAL OR UNWANTED THINKING AND/OR BEHAVIORS•DISTRACTION, PROCRASTINATION, ATTENTION SPAN•OCCASIONAL LOW MOOD STATE ESPECIALLY AROUND THE SENSE OF CONNECTION (OR LACKTHEREOF) TO WHAT I’M DOING, NEGATIVE RUMINATION AND MEMORY RECALL
  4. 4. THE SCIENCE ON MINDFULNESS MEDITATIONOVERVIEW:•VARIOUS TYPES OF MINDFULNESS MEDITATION ARE GROUPED TOGETHER IN THESCEINTIFIC LITERATURE UNDER MBSR: MINDFULNESS-BASED STRESS REDUCTION.•IF INDEED THE STUDY OF THE EFFECTS OF MEDITATION IS STILL IN ITS INFANCY IT IS DUE TOA LACK OF CONSISTENCY IN THE METHODOLOGY ACROSS STUDIESFINDINGS:•SIMILAR TO RELAXATION TRAINING, MBSR IS SHOWN TO MEDIATE DISTRESS, DEPRESSIVERUMINATION, AND POSITIVE MOOD STATES OVER THE SHORT AND LONG TERM. MODELINGSHOWS THAT MBSR’S MEDIATION OF DISTRESS MAY CAUSED BY ITS EFFECT ON RUMINATION.INFACT, MBSR MAY BE UNIQUE IN ITS EFFECT ON DISTRACTION AND RUMINATION (1)•A STUDY ON MBSR AND MOTOR CONSCIOUSNESS SUGGESTED THAT, WHILE A MBSR GROUPFOUND A PHYSICAL TASK JUST AS HARD AS A CONTROL GROUP, THE MBSR GROUPEXPERIENCED MORE PLEASURE DURING THE TASK AND A GREATER SENSE OF CONTROL ANDCALMNESS.(2)
  5. 5. BY NOW...WE KNOW THAT MBSR ENJOYS WIDE APPLICATION IN CLINICAL AND NON-CLINICAL SETTINGS BUTHOW DOES IT WORK, REALLY?ONE STUDY SUGGESTS THAT MINDFULNESS CHANGES EMOTIONAL INFORMATION PROCESSING.MBSR INCREASES POSITIVE WORD RECALL AND POSITIVE MEMORY RECALL. WITH THE BRAINDRAWING FROM ITS ‘SUNNIER’ PARTS ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION DROP SIGNIFICANTLY.NEUROLOGICALLY THIS IS DESCRIBED AS IMPROVED PREFONTAL ATTENTIONAL CONTROLOVER THE AMYGDALA.(3)IT IS NATURAL THAT THE AMYGDALA IS USED IN MOMENTS OF PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONALDISCOMFORT OR THREAT. BUT CHRONIC STRESS OR PAIN CAN CAUSE IT TO BE OVERUSED.IN OTHER WORDS, THE AMYGDALA IS VERY FAST AND VERY DECISIVE BUT SHOULD ONLY HAVETHE MICROPHONE WHEN THE AUDITORIUM IS ON FIRE...SO...DID IT WORK FOR ME?
  6. 6. INTERVENTION•THE NEXT STEP WAS TO FIND INSTRUCTION IN HOW TO INTERVENE THROUGH MBSR: IATTENDED SEVERAL BEGINNER MEDITATIONS AT THE NEW YORK INSIGHT MEDITATIONCENTER (NYIMC.ORG) IN MANHATTAN.•THE BEGINNER’S SIT WAS ONLY ONCE A WEEK, TUESDAY NIGHTS. THIS DIDN’T SEEM LIKEENOUGH FOR A TEN WEEK INTERVENTION. I FOUND THROUGH THE CENTER A SIT INBROOKLYN MUCH CLOSER TO HOME THAT HAPPENED BIMONTHLY ON MONDAYS.I’VE ALREADY IDENTIFIED BIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS OF STRESS DUE TO ABUSY LIFE
  7. 7. •IN BOTH CASES I STAYED FOR THE DHAMMA TALK AFTERWARDS. I WASN’T REALLY LOOKINGFOR A BELIEF SYSTEM (AND NONE WAS PUSHED ON ME) BUT THE LECTURES HELPED ME TOUNDERSTAND OTHER PEOPLE’S EXPECTATIONS FOR THEIR MEDITATION, GAIN ADDITIONALINSIGHT INTO HOW TO MEDITATE AND, PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANTLY, A SENSE OF WHAT ARECONSIDERED UNIVERSAL GOALS AND EXPERIENCES IN VIPASSANA.INTERVENTION CONT’D
  8. 8. •THE COST OF ATTENDING GROUP MEDITATIONS WAS BASED ON THE BUDDHIST NOTION OFDANA: VOLUNTARY DONATION TO THE ‘TEMPLE’ THAT IN MY CASE WORKED OUT TO 5 TO 10DOLLARS PER SIT. THIS WAS IMPORTANT FOR MY ATTENDANCE AND ADHERENCE BECAUSE,HAD THE PRICING BEEN HIGHER OR MANDATORY, I WOULD HAVE GONE LESS OR MIGHT HAVECOME TO THINK OF THE INTERVENTION AS INDULGENT RATHER THAN PERSONALMAINTENANCE. IT MIGHT HAVE ACTIVATED PART OF MY SELF-CONCEPT: A MILD CONTEMPTFOR THE FITNESS/SPIRITUAL COMPLEX...INTERVENTION CONT’D
  9. 9. BUMPS IN THE ROAD•IT SEEMED OBVIOUS TO MEDITATE IN THE MORNINGS BUT I COULDN’T DO IT. I TRIED ANDTRIED BUT MY ADHERENCE WAS POOR.•MY BEST TIMES FOR ADHERENCE TURNED OUT TO BE FRIDAY THROUGH MONDAY AT AROUNDFIVE IN THE AFTERNOON.•I FOUND THAT I HAD TO REDUCE MY COFFEE INTAKE, EVEN IN THE MORNINGS, TO GET THEMOST OUT OF MY AFTERNOON SITS. OVER THE COURSE OF THE INTERVENTION I HAVEREDUCED MY COFFEE INTAKE BY ABOUT HALF -A WELCOME CHANGE.AS I STARTED TO TRY AND BRING A MEDITATION PRACTICE HOME WITH MEIT FELT AS THOUGH MY ENVIRONMENT WAS SUDDENLY COMPRISEDOF ONLY TWO COMPONENTS:AND,OF COURSE,
  10. 10. •SOME OF MY MEDIA HABITS, NAMELY POLITICAL SCREEDS AND COMMENT BOARDS, PROVEDCOUNTER-PRODUCTIVE.•FULL NIGHTS OF SLEEP PROVED ESSENTIAL. WITHOUT PROPER SLEEP I’D GROW SLEEPYWHILE MEDITATING OR BE TOO WIRED.•THE HARDEST CHALLENGE BY FAR, AND I KNOW I’M NOT ALONE ON THIS, WAS SIMPLYGETTING MY BODY TO STOP FOR A MINUTE EVEN WITH ALTERATIONS IN STIMULI. AS ANOVICE MEDITATOR I KNOW MY MIND WILL TAKE TIME TO HAVE REAL MOMENTS OF PAUSEAND NON-JUDGMENT. BUT THE BODY HAS ITS OWN ATTENTION SPAN AND MINE IS PRETTYSMALL WITHOUT HELP...•I STARTED TO TIRE MYSELF BEFORE SITTING BY JUGGLING A SOCCER BALL IN THE PARK FORAN HOUR. THE ADVANTAGE HERE WAS THAT I DO THIS ANYWAY BUT ALSO JUGGLING ASOCCER BALL HAS A WAY OF CLEARING THE MIND OF ALL ELSE.•MAYBE THIS IS CHEATING BUT EXERCISE BEFORE SITTING ALSO PRODUCED ENDORPHINSWHICH, UNLIKE CAFFEINE, FEEL LIKE STABLE ENERGY.STRATEGIES AND HABIT CHANGES
  11. 11. monday tuesday wednesday thursday friday saturday sundaymeditationsit80% 30% 10% 10% 100% 70% 80%exercisetime100% 10% 0% 10% 100% 90% 100%amount ofsleep8hrs 7hrs 7hrs 6.5hrs 8hrs 8hrs 8hrscoffeeintake2 cups 3 cups 3 cups 3 cups 2 cups 3 cups 2 cups•BELOW IS AN OBSERVATION TABLE WITH THE AVERAGE RATES OF ADHERENCE TOMEDITATION AND EXERCISE, AS WELL AS AVERAGE AMOUNTS OF SLEEP AND COFFEE OVERTHE TEN WEEK INTERVENTION PERIOD. PLEASE NOTE: I DIDN’T RECORD LENGTH OFMEDITATIONS (NEVER LESS THE 20 MIN., NEVER MORE THAN 45 MIN.) NOR QUALITY OF THEM.THE FIRST TWO ROWS SIMPLY DOCUMENT THE 10 WEEK AVERAGE OF ADHERENCE.•TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY ARE MY BUSIEST DAYS; THAT IS REFLECTED IN THETABLE BELOWOBSERVATION
  12. 12. OBSERVATION CONT’D•ADHERENCE TO BOTH MEDITATION AND EXERCISE AS WELL AS, TO SOME EXTENT, REDUCEDCOFFEE INTAKE AND SUFFICIENT SLEEP PROVED DIFFICULT MID-WEEK WHEN I HAD BOTHWORK AND SCHOOL. OFTEN THERE WAS LITERALLY NO TIME FOR MEDITATION AND EXERCISE;SLEEP AND CAFFEINE INTERVENTIONS COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER OBSERVED DURING THEBUSIEST PART OF THE WEEK•FRIDAY WAS MY BEST DAY ADHERENCE-WISE. THIS REFLECTED AN EXCITEMENT TO RESUMETHE INTERVENTION AFTER THE KIND OF BUSY DAYS THAT INSPIRED THE INTERVENTION IN THEFIRST PLACE•SATURDAY’S LOW MEDITATION ADHERENCE REFLECTED TWO THINGS: FRIDAY NIGHT IS MYNIGHT TO GO OUT SOCIALLY AND SATURDAY IS A BIG DAY TO PREPARE FOR DEADLINES.•PERHAPS MY COFFEE INTAKE SEEMS LIKE A LOT BUT THE TABLE ACTUALLY REFLECTS AREDUCTION FROM PRE-INTERVENTION LEVELS (BY HALF!, EMBARASSINGLY)•THIS MEDITATION INTERVENTION ALSO INSPIRED GREATER ADHERENCE TO AN EXERCISEREGIME AS I FOUND A TIRING OF THE BODY USEFUL PRIOR TO EACH SIT. AS THE TABLESUGGESTS I DID NOT ALWAYS FOLLOW THROUGH ON MEDITATION AFTER EXERCISE.
  13. 13. CONCLUSIONS•THE USE OF EXERCISE IN THIS INTERVENTION HAD TWO BENEFITS SPECIFIC TO IT:IT HELPED TO REDUCE FIDGETING DURING MEDITATIONIT HELPED STRENGTHEN MY CORE WHICH FACILITATED PROPER POSTURE AND STAMINADURING MEDITATION: A MAJOR DETAIL THAT IMPROVED RESULTS HERE AND MORE GENERALLY•THE RESTING OF THE EYES INHERENT TO MEDITATION (EYES CLOSED OR GENTLY FOCUSEDON A POINT IN FRONT OF YOU) SHARPLY REDUCED HEADACHES ASSOCIATED WITH COMPUTERSCREENS EVEN WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT REDUCTION IN TIME IN FRONT OF THE COMPUTER•ALTHOUGH ADHERENCE WAS POOR MIDWEEK THERE WAS A GENERALIZED IMPULSE TO “TAKEA MOMENT” AND “DEEP BREATHS” WHICH INDICATES AN IMPROVED SELF-CALMING SKILL SET•I WAS LESS WILLING TO ENGAGE IN PROCRASTINATION BECAUSE OF A MORE LOGICALANTICIPATION OF WHAT IT WOULD FEEL LIKE IF I DID: MINDFULNESS AT WORK…•I COULD FOCUS ON WORK FOR LONGER AND MORE HAPPILY•AS PER THE STUDY MENTIONED EARLIER I DID EXPERIENCE A CHANGE IN MEMORY RECALL:SHORT TERM MEMORY WAS MORE EFFICIENT AND NEGATIVE LONG-TERM MEMORY RECALLLESS FREQUENT. I WAS MORE ‘UNDERSTANDING’ WITH MYSELF
  14. 14. CONCLUSIONS CONT’D•VIPASSANA, THE MBSR I TRIED, INVOLVES TRYING TO MINDFULLY OBSERVE THE BODY’SSENSATIONS AND LET THE MIND’S INSISTENT GENERATIONS COME AND GO WITHOUTJUDGMENT. VIPASSANA’S INNOVATION FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS A TEN DAY SILENTRETREAT WHERE PRACTITIONERS MEDITATE 8 HOURS A DAY. THE BENEFITS OF THEPRACTICE CAN BE HAD WITHOUT THE RETREAT ALTHOUGH I NOW LOOK FORWARD, WITHEXCITEMENT AND FEAR, TO MY FIRST CHANCE TO DO SUCH A RETREAT.
  15. 15. AN INCREDIBLE DOCUMENTARY ON THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION UNDER FAR MORESTRESSFUL CIRCUMSTANCES THAN THOSE I’VE KNOW IS THE DHAMMA BROTHERS (http://www.hulu.com/watch/255596)EVEN WITH REAL ATROCITIES IN ONE’S PAST AND AN ENVIRONMENT THAT VIRTUALLY ASSURESSOMEONE A SHORTENED LIFESPAN THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY AND REASON TO GROW.MEDIA
  16. 16. the metta prayerI CONCLUDE MANY OF MY SITS WITH THE METTA PRAYER WHICH I LEARNED AT THE BROOKLYNGROUP I MENTIONED. IT IS A USEFUL REMINDER BUT ALSO GIVES THE MEDITATION A FEELINGOF USEFULNESS OUTSIDE OF JUST MYSELF (the ‘you’ in the prayer doesn’t have to mean ‘me’).I HOPE YOU ENJOY!
  17. 17. REFERENCES1 Jain, S., Shapiro, S. L., Swanick, S., Roesch, S. C., Mills, P. J., & Schwartz, G. E. (2007). A randomizedcontrolled trial of mindfulness meditation versus relaxation training: Effects on distress, positive states ofmind, rumination, and distraction. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 33(1), 11-21.2 Delevoye-Turrell, Y. N., & Bobineau, C. (2012). Motor consciousness during intention-based andstimulus-based actions: modulating attention resources through mindfulness meditation. Frontiers inPsychology, 3.3 Roberts-Wolfe, D., Sacchet, M., Hastings, E., Roth, H., Britton, W., Roberts-Wolfe, D., ... & Britton, W.(2012). Mindfulness training alters emotional memory recall compared to active controls: support for anemotional information processing model of mindfulness. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6, 15.ACKOWLEDGEMENTSTHE NEW YORK INSIGHT MEDITATION CENTERJOSHUA, A GREAT TEACHER

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