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Archive for the ‘Mental Attitude’ Category

If nothing else, Utah State’s basketball season showed the Aggies aren’t going away anytime soon – Salt Lake Tribune

Posted: March 22, 2020 at 4:43 am


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Abel Porter has been watching Utah State mens basketball games and reliving the good, bad and ugly moments from the 2019-20 season. Like the 55-point win over Weber State early in the year. Or the game against St. Marys, where the Aggies squandered a late lead for their first loss of the season.

Porter has been watching not only to pass the time due to sports being postponed or canceled throughout the country due to the coronavirus, but also to navigate his emotional and mental state after the NCAA canceled its basketball tournament to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Like other Utah college sports programs, the Aggies feel theyve lost an opportunity to make some noise on the biggest stage. But after a topsy-turvy season that included injuries, illnesses, a three-game losing streak and rising and dropping poll rankings, the way they overcame all that has them feeling at least somewhat satisfied.

When you look back at it, we couldnt have asked for a better way to end the season, senior guard Diogo Brito said.

The Aggies enter the offseason with a roster full of young studs who got plenty of playing time and valuable experience over the last two seasons. Leading the group could be center Neemias Queta, who was still Utah States second leading scorer despite missing a chunk of the season due to a knee injury.

Queta is the defensive anchor of the Aggies and their most dangerous low-post threat. But his talent could mean he tries his luck in the upcoming NBA draft, much like did last offseason before deciding to return to USU for his sophomore year.

Aside from Queta, forward Justin Bean and guard Brock Miller, both sophomores, started practically every game for the Aggies in 2019-20. And with up-and-comers Alphonso Anderson, Sean Bairstow and Kuba Karwowski, theres plenty of optimism going around for what fruit next season could bear.

I think we still have a chance to repeat as Mountain West champions, obviously, and were going to do everything we can to do that, Bean said.

Its no secret, however, that Utah State will be losing some very important players to graduation or other means. Sam Merrill willed the team through the Mountain West Conference tournament, making big shot after big shot after big shot. He was the teams leader in points, assists and 3-pointers made.

Brito played an important role off the bench, and made timely shots several times throughout the season. He was also seen as someone who could take some pressure off of Merrill on the defensive end.

Then theres Porter, a starter who knew for the entire season that he wouldnt return to Utah State despite having one more year of eligibility. But he was unsure about whether he would quit basketball after the 2019-20 season or try finding another opportunity. He has since entered the transfer portal.

With not knowing what Im going to do, I just really wanted to have options and see what was out there, see the opportunities with basketball and especially with schooling that I could see and I could find, Porter said.

Coach Craig Smith expressed excitement about the group hell have next year. But there are still some unknowns.

We have a lot of young men in our program that we really believe in, Smith said. We have a talented group. Well be much more athletic next year up and down the lineup. But that doesnt mean were going to be better.

Smith will be entering his third season with Utah State, and with an impressive track record. Two conference tournament titles. A 54-15 record. And, technically, two bids to the NCAA Tournament.

Many players credited Smith for keeping the team together and focused throughout the roughest parts of this past season. Brito thinks hes the key to next year, too.

I firmly believe that Utah State is in great hands, Brito said. You have Coach Smith at the helm, I dont think anything can go wrong.

Smith admitted that with a young team, there will be peaks and valleys next season. But as long as his players have the right mindset, he said, another successful season could be on the horizon.

Itll be a big summer for our guys, Smith said. Our guys have to get in the gym, they have to keep getting better and we have to have a tremendous attitude an attitude that craves improvement. And if we do that, then I think we can do some really, really good things next year. But if we dont, then who knows?

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If nothing else, Utah State's basketball season showed the Aggies aren't going away anytime soon - Salt Lake Tribune

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March 22nd, 2020 at 4:43 am

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The Anatomy of a Pandemic – theTrumpet.com

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Medical staff takes samples at a drive-through coronavirus testing lab set up by a local community center in West Palm Beach, Miami.

CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Hosted by Stephen Flurry Aired March 17 55 minutes

00:30 Laws of Radiant Health (5 minutes)

During this time of public health crisis, its important to remember Herbert W. Armstrongs seven laws of radiant health. In this segment, I remind listeners about those seven laws and emphasize the importance of a positive mental attitude!

05:20 Coronavirus Hysteria (18 minutes)

How does the coronavirus compare to other outbreaks and causes of death? In this segment, I try to put todays pandemic in perspective.

23:30 Politically Motivated Hysteria? (32 minutes)

President Donald Trumps enemies continue to politicize the coronavirus to attack and undermine his presidency. Meanwhile, commentators who draw attention to this are viciously attacked.

Subscribe to the Trumpet Daily Radio Show on Apple Podcasts, Google Play or by RSS

Download past episodes here.

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The Anatomy of a Pandemic - theTrumpet.com

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March 22nd, 2020 at 4:43 am

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Why are many people going out to brave coronavirus? Economists answer – Euronews

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Crowds going to open air markets versus a state leader who must lecture his compatriots: in France, not everyone is following the government's order for general confinement.

Too many people take self-isolation "lightly", French President Emmanuel Macron estimated this week, after he asked the French on Monday to stay at home as much as possible in order to fight the spread of the virus.

Before the measures were announced on Monday, photos of crowds relaxing in the sun in Parisian parks the previous weekend had gone viral on social media - the sign that many in Paris had not applied the government's "social distancing" advice.

Elsewhere in Europe, German authorities are reluctant to move to forced lockdown, while many Germans, often young people, continue to ignore official calls to stay at home.

Even Italy, the first European country to have imposed strict and generalised measures, struggled imposing a total lockdown, AFP reported.

Increasingly, European countries hit by the coronavirus pandemic seem split in two, between those who quarantine themselves for the sake of the common good, and those who are reluctant to follow self-isolation measures.

But many people are not set on one or the other choice - rather, they make a decision based on what the majority does, Angela Sutan, a professor of behavioural economics at the Burgundy School of Business in France, told the AFP. Those who enjoyed sunny parks last weekend are part of this "malleable" margin.

"The problem is that these people are both the most important and the most dangerous," Sutan said. "If they perceive that the others do not cooperate, they no longer cooperate".

These conclusions are based on research in behavioral economics. This discipline, at crossroads between economics and psychology, seeks in particular to explain why irrational behaviours emerge from a pure economic point of view.

Austrian Ernst Fehr is a famous researcher in the field. In the early 2000s, he conducted a study that showed how attitudes are shared, based on a small panel:

In this context, social networks "tend to show too many bad examples, which gives the impression that there are only stowaways", Angela Sutan said. "It creates a vicious circle".

But they can also have a beneficial effect, by allowing the dissatisfied to express broadly shared social disapproval, which will push the most selfish to review the costs and the benefits of their attitude.

"They feel like they are making a profit by going to the park because they have done an act of bravery," Sutan explained. But if people are "met with disapproval on social networks", they may reconsider.

What, then, is the best tactic for the authorities to convince people to self-isolate?

France and Italy have chose to enforce thousands of fines: anyone who's found by the police to be outside when they shouldn't gets one. Is this the best strategy, or is it wiser to play on the responsibility of citizens - which Macron also tried in one of his speeches?

A mix of both, according to several economists, who said asking the French to fill themselves a declaration on honor to justify exceptional trips is a positive strategy.

"When you put your signature on paper, there is a mental reflex which means that people, if they already had a tendency to respect the rules, want to respect the commitment made", said neuroeconomics researcher and Sciences-Po professor Thierry Aimar.

"This signature will create mental mechanisms which will consist in respecting the commitment to avoid a form of cognitive dissonance", he added.

"By the information economy, in most people who were already respectful of social norms, the brain will strengthen self-discipline".

The effect risk dissolving in the long term, depending on what everyone else does. "If opportunistic behaviours develop, the attitude of people who are naturally respectful of injunctions risks evolving in the wrong direction," concluded Aimar.

As four European countries are already under lockdown, and more to follow on other continents, the respect of such restraining measures remains one of the most effective way to slow down the rapid spread of the virus, according to the World Health Organization.

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Why are many people going out to brave coronavirus? Economists answer - Euronews

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March 22nd, 2020 at 4:43 am

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Coronavirus overload: five ways to fight misinformation and fear – The Guardian

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Few of us are epidemiologists, statisticians or healthcare experts, and fewer still are likely to have a good enough grasp on all the coronavirus information thats out there. Photograph: Maksim Kabakou/Alamy

How do we deal with new information about Covid-19 at a time when the science, the advice and the consequences of the pandemic are all changing rapidly?

People are being bombarded with new information at a time of heightened stress and its playing damaging games with our decision making.

So how do we decide whats good information and what isnt? What should we think about before we make a decision to share information on social media, go out and mix with others or make purchases at stores?

In some ways this is a perfect scenario for misinformation to thrive its fast moving, it threatens everyone and theres a lot of uncertainty, says Dr Will Grant, of the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science.

Its not quite a wicked problem like climate change in that Covid 19 is really pretty visible, linear and with strong historical parallels, but this is definitely an environment where information and misinformation will spread rapidly.

New information is coming at us in charts, graphs, modelling results, social media posts, news articles, podcasts, TV bulletins and from friends and people we meet.

Few of us are epidemiologists, statisticians or healthcare experts, and fewer still are likely to have a good enough grasp on all the information thats out there.

One unifying theme is that we should all be considering the advice of experts. But what is an expert?

Lyndal Byford, of the Australian Science Media Centre, says: The main thing to consider is who is making the claim. Ask yourself what is the source of the information. Is the post from a reputable organisation such as the World Health Organization or is it based on a post by an individual who heard something that someone else told them.

Misinformation can often read like a rumour. It is also worth thinking about who funds that organisation. Do they stand to make a profit from the information they are sharing?

Grant says everyone should slow down before they decide to share information.

But more importantly, listen to key sources of authority for example, chief medical officers before changing any behaviour based on something you read online. If the chief medical officer says something is dangerous but something you read online says its fine, go with the chief medical officer.

Ben Newell, professor of cognitive psychology at the University of New South Wales, says we should always check the sources of information, and check the intention of the person that puts it there.

We should stop and wonder why we have been sent something, and the impact of sending that information on to others.

Newell said Australians rightly had a healthy scepticism for people in authority, and events like the sports rorts scandal were likely to have eroded trust.

Its hard for people to now recalibrate and say to themselves, this is now a situation where I should listen to the people who are in positions of authority, he said. But we should, and for good reason.

Public health authorities, the World Health Organization and national science academies are reliable sources of information. Advice from your hairdresser probably isnt.

Under normal circumstances, new findings in science come at us through a long process of research, peer review and academic publishing that can take years to develop.

The Sars-CoV-2 virus was only defined in January and, while some assumptions can be made about how its close relatives have behaved, whats known about the virus and the illness is still a work in progress.

Byford says scientists are sharing information with each other as quickly as they can.

This is vital to ensure there are no delays in moving towards treatments or vaccines. But it also means that lots of the information reaching the public hasnt been through the usual science quality check that is peer review.

Findings from research thats made public without being checked by other experts could change dramatically after peer review has been carried out, Byford says, and she would discourage the public from sharing this sort of information.

If you do want to share it, perhaps include a note that it is preliminary work and has not been reviewed and scrutinised by independent experts.

All of this also means that what may have been good information a few days or weeks ago may become out of date.

Were in the middle of a pandemic a situation few of us have experienced and our screens are filled with frightening content.

Newell says when we have additional cognitive load, this creates inconsistency in our decision making. That means we should push that pause button and then ask ourselves about the basis for the decision we are about to make.

Prof Mike Kyrios, director of rama Institute of Mental Health, Wellbeing and Neuroscience at Flinders University, says its very important for people to switch off from the overwhelming emotional content of the crisis each day.

Giving ourselves a break will reduce the tendency to panic and make rash decisions, he says. The development of apps or websites that centralise key information and advice will also help.

Were not seeing a lot of positive thinking, but having a positive attitude if youre quarantined is important we do need a more positive attitude instead of putting our internal resources into our fears. Fear is natural but we have to accept that fear is there and then move through it.

Look for people who are responding positively, he says, and whats needed is actually physical distancing, not social distancing.

We should use social media sites to connect with friends.

Grant says he would never argue against critical thinking but says our own simple actions wash your hands, increase social distance, isolate and test if youre sick whats important.

Newell says we should generally be thinking about the knock-on effects of our actions whether that is simply coughing in a public place or deciding to clear out a supermarket when other community members may be in greater need.

Byford says there are lots of factchecking sites that are debunking particular claims regularly: A simple google of the claim and the word factcheck can do a lot of the work for you. Snopes is usually a good place to start, but Google also as has a factcheck explorer.

She says people should also be aware that some conclusions may be based on a correlation, which may turn out to be irrelevant after scientists have examined it further.

There are lots of situations where two things seem to change at the same time but it turns out that there is not real link for example you can find a correlation between the number of films starring Nicolas Cage and the number of swimming pool drownings.

All modelling comes with uncertainties and is loaded with assumptions that may change, be wrong or be incomplete.

Often models are designed not to accurately predict the future but rather to show what might happen if different decisions are made.

Uncertainty is the mind-killer, Grant says. Its the real big issue here, and its why our sociological behaviours have become part of the crisis.

Were far more reasonable in the face of crises weve seen recently before cyclones and bushfires because weve seen lots of them before. Sure, theyre changing now, but theyre changing within bounds we can extrapolate to based on recent history.

None of us have experienced a threat like this personally before, and we dont know how long this will last. Any panic-buying behaviours are rational in this sense.

Kyrioss institute at Flinders University has developed a set of strategies to help people manage their mental health if theyre forced to stay home.

Understand that uncertainty and novelty will lead to heightened tension and stress Question yourself if youre angry, the advice says.

Are your fears likely to eventuate? What does science tell us about the most likely outcomes? Is your response reasonable?

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Coronavirus overload: five ways to fight misinformation and fear - The Guardian

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March 22nd, 2020 at 4:42 am

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Making Sense of Meditation: Religion and Spirituality – Psychiatric Times

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Most of us in the mental health professions would agree with the following statements:

Religion and spirituality are important, even central concerns for a large portion of the population

Many people insist that their religious and/or spiritual practices help them cope with the inescapable vicissitudes of life

It has long been recognized that some psychiatric conditions can involve religious preoccupations and alleged spiritual experiences

Over the last 50 years meditation practicesgenerally inherited from various religious traditionshave become widely accepted as beneficial for management of stress and have been increasingly adopted by the mental health community as a treatment modality

In view of these observations you would think that psychiatrists would be well-versed in these topics, but the reality is that they are barely touched upon during our training and we are given very little guidance as to how to respond when our patients raise religious or spiritual concerns. Since meditation can be practiced without reference to the religious traditions that transmitted various techniques to us we can feel comfortable recommending it to our patients. But when it comes to relating to the larger questions about life, the nature of suffering, the inevitability of death, etc, we generally have no idea how to proceed.

Recent articles in Psychiatric Times give us several examples of attempts to address these topics. The May 2019 issue presented an interview of Dr Paul Summergard by Dr Lloyd Sederer, Spirituality in the Psychiatric Office, in which Dr Summergard shares his experience and suggests a general attitude to adopt when patients bring up religious concerns. In more recent issues, Dr John Miller shared two editorials exploring the clinical applications of mindfulness practice, Be Here Now, and Mindfulness.

Since our profession has no agreed-upon body of knowledge about the relationship of religion and spirituality to mental illness and mental health, it makes sense that those of us who present ourselves as having something useful to say should establish some sort of credentials. Dr Summergard mentioned that he did a number of years of intensive Zen meditation, and Dr Miller recounts extensive experience with a meditation tradition derived from the Theravadan Buddhist tradition, including a 3-month silent meditation retreat. Both doctors commented on the impact these experiences had on their personal as well as professional lives. So, their credentials for holding forth on these topics consist of substantial experience with meditation practice as taught by two different Buddhist traditions, exposure to the intellectual content of these traditions, and on their perception that these experiences had a significant impact on their personal lives as well as their practice of psychiatry.

In this column I propose to present a framework for understanding the basic psychological mechanisms involved in the practice of mindfulness meditation, which may clarify why it is helpful in many different situations. But if I am going to pontificate on these weighty matters, I too must establish my credentials.

I was raised in a completely secular Jewish family, with virtually no exposure to even a secular Jewish social environment. I entered medical school with the intention of going into psychiatry. In my fourth year I stumbled on the book Psychotherapy East and West by Alan Watts, one of the first well-known Western proponents of Zen Buddhism, which piqued my interest in Buddhism as a psychological system. To make a long story short, I followed a path similar to that of Drs Summergard and MillerI took a year off between my rotating internship and psychiatric residency to engage in intensive meditation and study of Buddhism, then another block of time after my residency, after which I settled down into my career and raising a family.

The particular tradition I connected with was Tibetan Buddhism as taught by Chogyam Trungpa, a Tibetan Lama who founded numerous meditation centers as well as Naropa University in Boulder, CO, which to this day offers a Masters degree in Eastern and Western Psychology. Along the way I did a 1-month meditation retreat, a 10-day solo meditation retreat in an isolated cabin, and a 3-month program with Chogyam Trungpa that involved extensive meditation practice as well as a systematic presentation of the history and formal teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. After my residency I spent 3 months at a meditation center in which I experienced a novel meditation system created by Trungpa in collaboration with Suzuki Roshi, a well-known Zen teacher. The system was based on methods used in Tibetan and Japanese Buddhist monasteries to help stabilize monks who developed serious psychological issues or psychosis in the course of intensive meditation practice.

Trungpa presented the Buddhist tradition to us, a modern American audience, as a psychological system. He made it clear that we did not need to accept anything on faith and stated explicitly that we need not accept any teachings that we could not confirm by our own personal experience. In that environment there were many individuals who enthusiastically accepted the religious aspect of the teachings, which is to say the traditional teachings about the nature of the universe, what happens after death, and so on. As a scientifically trained person from a totally secular background I had some discomfort about these issues. A small incident put my mind at ease: a young man asked Trungpa a question, Everything you have taught us is great, I love all the stuff about meditation . . . but I have to be honest . . . I have a lot of trouble with this whole reincarnation thing. Trungpa replied, For you, sir, reincarnation is waking up in the morning. Dont worry about the rest.

In the spirit of transparency, everything I will say is derived from what I learned through both study and meditation practice in those particular settings. I am not a scholar in these matters, nor can I pretend to be a highly accomplished meditator or teacher. Nevertheless, these experiences were transformative on a personal level, giving me the capacity to cope with extreme stress at various points in my life with a degree of equanimity that would not have been possible previously. They also had a profound effect on my work as a psychiatrist, in particular giving me a wider context in which to understand my patients struggles. I have found that when patients bring up religious or spiritual concerns I am completely at ease conversing with them in a way that is appropriate for that individual, which would have been impossible in my natural state as a person with no exposure whatsoever to religious practices.

When I deal with psychotic people reporting apparent spiritual experiences, I find that I can often understand what it is they are trying to describe and respond in a reassuring way that acknowledges their experience. Dont get me wrongI also give them an antipsychotic. But there is great value in meeting people where they are at, so to speak. I ascribe whatever ability I have developed to deal with these issues effectively to a combination of my personal experiences in the course of meditation practice, but equally to having been given a systematic intellectual framework for understanding the nature of spiritual experiences altogether, and their relationship to our normal mental state as well as to mental illness.

So much for credentials. Now let us turn to the narrow topic of mindfulness meditation. First, what do we mean by the word meditation? Lots of my patients tell me that they meditate, but on further questioning most of them are talking about guided meditation recordingswhich in reality is akin to hypnosisor perhaps they do a few minutes of chanting a mantra in a yoga class. To be sure, these activities can be very beneficial for stress management, sleep, and so on, but they are not meditation. Mindfulness meditation has robust stress-management benefits, but that is somewhat of a side effect. Its primary purpose, interestingly, is to mitigate our habitual mental patterns, which in Western psychology we have conceptualizedat least in previous generationsas neurosis.

Broadly speaking there are two types of meditation practiceconcentration techniques and mindfulness awareness techniques. Concentration techniques involve focusing ones mind on a single objecta candle, a picture, a thought, a sound or mantra, part of the body, pretty much anything. If practiced sufficiently this type of meditation produces trance statesstates of altered consciousness that can be intense and at times ecstatic. The intensity of these experiences is often interpreted as evidence that this is real spirituality and can motivate people to pursue them even more vigorously. There are numerous elaborate traditions utilizing these types of practices. However, there are distinct dangers to taking these techniques to extremes, and they should only be practiced under the close supervision of a knowledgeable guide.

Mindfulness meditation, on the other hand, can be described as a simple technique for observing our own mental processes in granular detail. The usual instruction is to sit upright without a backrestmostly so we will start to fall over if we doze off, which keeps us awake (meditation can be boring). The tradition is to sit cross-legged on a cushion. There is no particular reason to adopt a lotus posture or anything else uncomfortablethis is not about overcoming pain. If you are of a certain age, by all means sit on a chair. Most traditions instruct us to close our eyes, but I was taught to meditate with eyes open. The explanation we were given was that if we close our eyes it is too easy to space out and get lost in our thoughts.

The meditative technique itself is usually to turn our attention on the breath. Easy! The trouble is, after about a microsecond . . . blah, blah, blahwe are talking to ourselves. There are numerous variations and nuances in the instructions given by different traditions and different teachers on how to handle this grasshopper quality of our minds. The technique I learned was that as soon as we realize we are not on our breaths we literally say to ourselves thinking, and gently return attention to our breath. At some point we inevitably get frustrated, thinking, I cant do this, this is ridiculous, Im leaving. At that point . . . back to your breath.

A couple of comments about breath. There is nothing mystical about itits just a convenient way to help us stay in the present moment. Then there is the question of how intensely to focus on the breath. A traditional teaching story tells of a student of the Buddha, a famous musician, who asked the Buddha how intensely to focus his attention. The Buddha asked him how tightly he adjusted the strings on his instrument. The student replied, Not too tight, and not too loose, or the sound will be no good. The Buddha said, Just so. Your focus on your breath should be not too tight, and not too loose. That is, if we make no effort, we dont focus at all on the breath and no progress will be made. But if we get too intense about it, it can turn into a concentration technique focused on the breath, which is definitely not what is intended. If that starts to happen, a competent meditation instructor will tell us to lighten up, maybe look around a little, shift our positionthen come back to the breath.

There is no such thing as not being able to meditate. This statement requires some explanation, which brings us to the discussion of what this meditation technique actually accomplishes.

As we move around in the world and encounter things, or as we sit on the cushion and encounter things in our mind, there are three reflexive impulses that can occur. If the object or thought makes us feel good, confirmed, safe, we want to pull it in, build it up, make it last longer. If it is threatening or uncomfortable, we want to push it away, destroy it. And if it is neither confirming nor threatening, we ignore it. Consequently, we tend to ignore 99% of everything that crosses our awareness. In traditional meditation texts these three impulses are known as the Three PoisonsPassion, Aggression, and Ignorancethe obstacles to successful meditation practice. The meaning of these three words in daily life is obvious: Passion: love, greed, obsession, addiction; Aggression: anger, cruelty, destructiveness; Ignorance: maybe . . . cluelessness? From the point of view of evolutionary psychology, these three impulses are completely natural and highly adaptive: we are attracted to what makes us feel good, we are repelled by what makes us feel bad, and we dont waste energy on the rest.

But in this case, we are not talking about our behavior in the world, rather we are talking about these three impulses as our reflexive reactions to each moment-to-moment thought. What we are being instructed to do when we sit down to meditate is very simple, very difficult, and quite unnaturalwe are being asked to do none of the above. That is, whatever thought comes along, we are instructed to neither cultivate it, nor drive it away . . . nor ignore it. We are asked to simply notice it and come back to the breath.

Initially we are terrible at this. We get lost in a sexual fantasy, or business plans, or political tooth-gnashing. Oh yeah, back to the breath! We obsess about that time we were humiliated, and what we should have said. Back to the breath! But if we persist, little by little, we begin to relax into our own thoughts. They never go awaywe are explicitly not trying to make that happenbut we begin to spend more and more time just watching them come and go, without building them up or pushing them away, and without ignoring them.

This process can be characterized as developing an attitude of equanimity toward our own thoughts. Over time, somewhat magically, we notice that as we move about in the world and stuff comes up, we are less reactive. Something that would have left us upset all day becomes less of a big deal. Some compulsion that we would ordinarily find irresistible becomes less compelling. We begin to feel calmer overall, clearer, and with more freedom to deal with what comes up in whatever way seems bestas opposed to endlessly repeating dysfunctional habitual patterns. These emotional and behavioral changes are gradual and spontaneous.

That is why I say there is no such thing as not being able to meditate. I view it like doing pushups. If we resolve to start exercising with pushups, and we cant do even one, we start with half a pushup. If we work out regularly, eventually we can knock off a whole bunch of pushups. It just takes patience and practice. Thats why we call this activity meditation practice. At this level it is a very simple training program, whose goal could also be described as the art of not taking our own thoughts too seriously.

With this model in mind it becomes clearer why meditation practice can be helpful in so many clinical situations, and why the average person with no identified conditions may find it beneficial. It is also noteworthy that the benefit is not dependent on adopting any particular philosophy or spiritual teaching. The benefits of meditation are a spontaneous result of gradually changing the nature of our relationship to our own thought process.

This model of meditation practice is very simple, yet very fundamental. Along the way I have alluded to a number of far more complex issues. What is the distinction between religion and spirituality? What do we mean by the term spiritual experience? What is the nature of the transformative experiences hallucinogenic drugs can sometimes produce, and what about the religious preoccupations and spiritual experiences of some of our patients? And, what does meditation practice have to do with all of this?

Buddhist psychology provides a comprehensive framework that can illuminate the relationship of these disparate phenomena. Interestingly, it is all about egoa concept that is also at the core of Western psychological thinking. In a future article, I will try to summarize the basic model of the Buddhist psychological tradition in terms that are understandable to students of the Western psychological tradition.

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Making Sense of Meditation: Religion and Spirituality - Psychiatric Times

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March 22nd, 2020 at 4:42 am

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‘Proof’ of talent at Oswestry’s Attfield Theatre – Border Counties Advertizer

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Yet again, the Attfield Theatre proved how fortunate Oswestry is to have a high quality amateur theatre company.

Earlier this month saw their latest production, Proof, by American playwright David Auburn, wonderfully directed by tyro Liz Franks. Winning the Pulitzer Prize and Tony awards in 2001, its a top notch play that puts each of the four actors under considerable acting pressure.

Nominally about a mathematical proof, the play is really about the relationships between the central character Catherine, a 25-year-old woman, her father Robert, sister Claire and maths student, now lecturer, 28-year-old Hal.

Its set on the back porch and yard of a poorly maintained house near Chicago which is where the theatre companys talents immediately shone. Convincingly dressed, this was a solid set! Railings were lent on, door slammed; not a hint of movement. Congratulations to all the designers and builders.

The play relies solely on the conversations between the characters. All the parts are big, and Catherines is huge. It is of considerable credit to the actors that not only were they word perfect, but realistically conveyed that these were conversations not speeches. Sustaining an American accent throughout such a wordy play is very difficult. The cast managed it pretty well, with Bekah Plaisted as Catherine particularly consistent.

All the actors conveyed the aspects of their stage personalities convincingly. David Ryder as Robert, a maths genius in early life, showed us glimpses of that talent while at the same time reflecting his slide into mental instability. Fran Williams as Claire, reflected her concern for her sister while keeping us aware of the pressures she had in her now home city of New York. Shaun Higgins as Hal conveyed his admiration for Robert and attraction to Catherine while remaining staunchly honest but reticent. Bekahs Catherine, a truly complex character of possible maths genius, with nascent mental problems of her own, fully reflected the grown up woman who hadnt quite lost some teenage resentment. These complex and real characters were brilliantly brought to life by the company.

Different scenes required season changes and some were flashbacks. These required further adjustments to character behaviour and attitude, all well accomplished by the cast.

Costumes added to the conviction of the characters and changes were well-managed. Lighting and sound were so good they werent really noticed which is praise indeed! Rather like film music we take such things for granted when done so well.

A line in the play says beautiful maths, perfect maths, perfect proof. This production certainly provided proof that The Attfield continues to provide high quality theatre.

By Alan Poole.

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'Proof' of talent at Oswestry's Attfield Theatre - Border Counties Advertizer

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March 22nd, 2020 at 4:42 am

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Be Happy and Spread Happiness – Eastern Mirror

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Sometimes it is difficult to define happiness as there might be different definitions of happiness depending upon countries, ethnicity, locations, cultural back ground, etc. Many of us perhaps dont believe we need a formal definition of happiness as we define it according to our own perspectives. The term happiness is used in the context of mental or emotional states, including positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

According to His Holiness the Dalai Lama Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions. According to the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. Dale Carnegie noted that happiness doesnt depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude. Now we can understand that there are different perspectives when it comes to happiness.

It is interesting and important for us to know that there is a day marked as the International Day of Happiness. Its a day to be happy, of course! Since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness as a way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. In 2015, the UN launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to end poverty, reduce inequality, and protect our planet three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness. The United Nations invites each person of any age, plus every classroom, business and government to join in the celebration of the International Day of Happiness.

The General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 66/281 of 12 July 2012 proclaimed 20th March the International Day of Happiness, recognising the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives. It also recognised the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all peoples.

The resolution was initiated by Bhutan, a country which recognised the value of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product. It also hosted a High-Level Meeting on Happiness and Well-Being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm during the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly.

The World Happiness Report 2020 will be released on March 20th on International Day of Happiness. The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. The first was released in April 2012 in support of a UN High-level meeting on Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm.

The day reminds us important of happiness and how countries are also ranked according to happiness. Let us all try to be happy and also makes others happy as it is simple and cost nothing to be happy and make others happy. Let us all be happy always and spread happiness amongst all.

Ranjan K Baruah (With direct inputs from UN publication and feedback can be send to bkranjan@gmail.com)

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Be Happy and Spread Happiness - Eastern Mirror

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March 22nd, 2020 at 4:42 am

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How Telegraph readers and famous self-isolators are coping with staying in – Telegraph.co.uk

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For some it is the opportunity to finally tackle that stack of weighty volumes by their bed, for others a chance to indulge a passion for bird watching or baking. So what are you and some of Britains famous self-isolators doing to keep their spirits up?

I think you need to try to avoid your day meandering aimlessly and so Ive started work on my self-isolation schedule, laying out activities and things I want to do.

I want to continue setting aside time for exercise and going for walks, without going too near other people of course. And Im starting to cook again, to learn new recipes. Just last night a neighbour from across the road came to my door and left me a lovely curry. We have a system where well call each other and see if we fancy something.

Until now Ive never really had the time to bird watch before and so Im looking forward to that. You dont need a garden to do this. You can just as easily hang a feeder above a balcony. I also have several volumes by Hilary Mantel and Philip Pullman to get through.

I decided to self isolate, I dont have any symptoms but like to try for a week first. Today is the 3rd day. I did lots of gardening, painting and done some pebble craft.

My husband and I have stopped going to the gym so Ive been running in the morning and working out in the garage instead. We overlook the golf course and Ive had a few lessons so weve both been out on the course, staying a long distance away from others. There is a farm shop nearby and weve been able to get fresh stuff from them together with other items from the local supermarket.

Luckily we dont work but my 21 year old student son has a part time job in retail and lives with us. Were taking as many precautions as x possible to minimise our risks. Our other daughters are not visiting regularly and when they do theres no hugging!

Im a few pages into the latest John Le Carre novel, Agent Running in the Field, and The Cunning Man by the Canadian writer Robertson Davies, about a holistic doctor.

The internet is a real boon in this situation. We often complain about social media, but this is the moment it comes into its own in breaking down isolation. Im Face Timing relatives and friends and its a wonderful thing to do to stay in touch, face to face.

I live on a narrow boat bought basic meat and veg enough for 3/4 weeks have prescription drugs enough for 2 months, our biggest problem is disposal of effluent waste, however we have disposal points, because toilet blocks will be cut, diesal for heating could be a potential problem as down to 1/4 of a tank, wind a bit strong to move to filling point at 74 its getting tougher

Being grateful for the opportunity to rest. Walking, phoning people, listening to sacred music. Knowing we are going to be stronger as a nation. Looking out at my beautiful view

Martin Bell, the 81-year-old former television reporter and MP, has - inspired by the very events that have forced him to isolate himself from wider society - has already written 2,000 words of a study of Daniel Defoes A Journal of the Plague Year, his account of the devastation the bubonic plague wrought on London in 1665.

If you can spend your time profitably, writing the books youve always wanted to write, then make the most of it. What I urge people not to do is glue themselves to the news. Ration your consumption of television, or youll be overwhelmed by anxiety.

Conley has been forced to cancel her twice weekly diet and exercise classes at a golf club near her home in Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire because among her many devotees at least 10 are in their70s and four are over 80.

For those not getting out, spend more time doing the gardening and cooking healthy meals. Well all have beautiful gardens by the end and be better cooks!

Its about having the right mental attitude. Do the little jobs youve been meaning to do but never get round to like clearing out the kitchen drawer or freezer. It will make you feel better!

Take up a hobby or home based course, start painting, write letters to your friends - do something youve never had time to do before and use the time to reorganise your life and look at yourself.

For 83-year old actor Brian Blessed salvation comes in the form of his shed in Lightwater, Surrey. Its all rigged up so I sit there and I can record voice overs for various things, or just potter in and out, taking care of our garden. Much of my life has been about exploration so Im pretty used to hardship. Im a war baby and us war babies are pretty resilient.

This is an opportunity for people to reappraise the way they live. I look around and young people are helping out the elderly with food and supplies because of this.

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How Telegraph readers and famous self-isolators are coping with staying in - Telegraph.co.uk

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March 22nd, 2020 at 4:42 am

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The coronavirus could be Generation Z’s 9/11 – The Conversation US

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Less than two weeks ago, everything still seemed pretty normal.

On March 6, I was returning home from a short business trip; my flight was full, and the airport was full. My phones newsfeed, however, was far from normal: We were, health experts said, on the cusp of a global pandemic caused by COVID-19.

I research generational differences and cultural trends essentially, how cultural events impact people. That early March evening in the airport, I suddenly realized that this was the last time things were going to feel normal. I was reminded of Sept. 10, 2001 the day before everything changed the last time.

Except: In many ways, the coronavirus outbreak is bigger than 9/11. It might also be bigger than the Great Recession.

We dont know yet how this will play out, but the coronavirus outbreak could become the biggest and most impactful cultural event of our lifetime. Neither 9/11 nor the Great Recession so profoundly altered as many aspects of day-to-day life in such a short period of time the way the coronavirus has affected schools, work, travel, entertainment and shopping. Plus, 9/11 and the recession didnt have as direct an impact on so many people around the world. The outbreak and our reactions to it are not a lone event they intersect with the trends of the past and will have an impact on the future of many people, especially the generation I call iGen those born after 1995.

The outbreak is already having deep psychological effects on many people anxiety, fear and worry are rampant. As we cut ourselves off from social interaction, anxiety may turn into depression.

That may be especially true for iGen, also known as GenZ. Social interaction with peers is paramount for young people, and with schools closed, working at home encouraged, and larger gatherings canceled, that is all but over. Texting, social media and video chat can help fill the void but virtual communication is just not as good as actual face-to-face contact.

This situation is especially concerning because this generation was already vulnerable. Between 2011 and 2018 the most recent data available rates of depression, self-harm and suicide soared among teens. 2020 might well make things even worse especially if mental health resources are more difficult to obtain as the pandemic worsens.

Some crises, like the aftermath of a hurricane, lend themselves to action. We can clean up; we can volunteer. Taking meaningful action boosts mental health; it feels good to help others and to change things.

But, at least so far, pandemic prep has discouraged big communal actions. While health care providers and grocery store workers rise to new challenges, most Americans have been forced to focus on passive tasks that increase anxiety rather than purpose worrying every time we cough, standing in line for toilet paper, and reading articles about using hand sanitizer when hand sanitizer has been sold out for weeks. I fear the pandemic will cement an attitude Ive found was already prevalent among iGen: The world is not a kind or fair place.

Despite the clear warnings of disease specialists reported in the media, until fairly recently many Americans believed that the threat of the coronavirus was overblown. Thats somewhat understandable: In an age of social media hype and political polarization, its sometimes difficult to understand whats worth our concern and whats not.

But it goes deeper. The last few decades have seen a long, steady decline in Americans trust in large institutions. In the General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults, trust in the media fell from 85.4% in 1973 to 54.4% in 2018. Trust in Congress fell from 84.3% to 54.2%. Even doctors were not immune: While a whopping 94.1% trusted medical experts in 1973, that slid to 86.9% by 2018. This decline has been fairly similar across age groups and includes every generation.

Trust in institutions and experts is critical in times like these and fewer of us have it. When trust is low and political polarization is high, we are less prepared to agree on basic facts and less prepared to work together. If you dont trust the government, youre less likely to listen when the government tells you to stay home.

Now that the scope of the challenge is clear, were going to have to trust each other more and listen when public health experts tell us: No, this is not a good time to visit an older relative. No, its not a good idea to go ahead with your spring break as if nothing has changed. Its becoming clear that distrust kills.

Heres the possible upside: Big cultural events can lead to big changes in attitudes. Perhaps this crisis will renew our faith in the media, in doctors and public health experts, and in government. That will be the most likely to happen if we work together not just Republicans and Democrats, but millennials and boomers, GenXers and iGeners.

Boomers know that there is life on the other side of cataclysmic events, a good lesson for younger generations to hear. But that might also be why many Boomers, most of whom are in their 60s and 70s, stubbornly kept going out and risked getting sick. Some millennials and iGen'ers have also flouted the advice to stay in, saying Im young Ill be fine, which risks spreading the virus to vulnerable people. GenX'ers are caught in the middle between aging parents and iGen children, just trying to hold it together.

Decades from now, well still be talking about the pandemic of 2020. What will you say when someone asks what you did for the greater good?

[Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversations newsletter.]

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The coronavirus could be Generation Z's 9/11 - The Conversation US

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March 22nd, 2020 at 4:42 am

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Karan Patels first-ever animal stunt on Khatron Ke Khiladi will give you chills – Tellychakkar

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MUMBAI: Testing one's mental and physical strength, the tasks of the current season of COLORS Khatron Ke Khiladi seems to be intensifying with every. This week, reptiles and creepy crawlies will take prominence as the contestants will fight their fears. Popular television actor Karan Patel who is known for his daredevil attitude has so far performed every stunt with vigor and dedication and will be seen taking up the challenge with great spirit. So far, Karan has been fortunate to not face any animals in the tasks but this time around, he wont be spared. A new task will be introduced wherein Karan has to get into a tank full of snakes while being tied down with chains. One by one, he is required to unlock the chains and tackle the reptiles. His phobia is encountered with the right attitude and all the co-contestants cheer him up as he performs the task to the best of his abilities. Commenting on this Karan Patel said, I have always been afraid of reptiles and I knew someday I will have to face my fears. Khatron Ke Khiladi has been the most exciting and enriching adventure of my life and I had a great yet thrilling time performing the task. I was nervous and scared before the task was performed but as I starting performing it, everything fell in place and I gave my 100%. Rohit sir and my co-contestants were my biggest supports and I thank them for instilling confidence in me.

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Karan Patels first-ever animal stunt on Khatron Ke Khiladi will give you chills - Tellychakkar

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March 22nd, 2020 at 4:42 am

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