Stressed at work? Transcendental meditation may help

People who practice meditation often hail it as a fix for anything from anxiety to physical pain. Indeed, some studies suggest that it may improve our sense of well-being. Now, new research finds that one type of meditation — transcendental meditation — can relieve stress and boost emotional intelligence.

The practice of meditation does appear to bring many benefits, and recent studies have supported this idea.

For instance, meditators are less likely to experience cognitive decline, and practicing mindfulness techniques seems to reduce chronic pain.

Full story at Medical News Today

Eleven minutes of mindfulness training helps drinkers cut back

Brief training in mindfulness strategies could help heavy drinkers start to cut back on alcohol consumption, finds a new UCL study.

After an 11-minute training session and encouragement to continue practising mindfulness — which involves focusing on what’s happening in the present moment — heavy drinkers drank less over the next week than people who were taught relaxation techniques, according to the study published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.

“We found that a very brief, simple exercise in mindfulness can help drinkers cut back, and the benefits can be seen quite quickly,” said the study’s lead author, Dr Sunjeev Kamboj (UCL Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit).

Full story at Science Daily

Mindfulness May Help Patients Reduce Suboxone Dose, Pilot Program Suggests

The practice of mindfulness, or paying attention “on purpose” to the present moment without judgment, may be helpful for people trying to reduce their dose of the opioid medication buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), according to Zev Schuman-Olivier, MD, Medical Director for Addictions and Executive Director for the Center for Mindfulness and Compassion at the Cambridge Health Alliance.

Dr. Schuman-Olivier is co-leading a mindfulness-based group for individuals prescribed Suboxone to treat their opioid use disorder, who want to reduce the amount of medication they take, come off of it completely, or come to a place of acceptance with their medications. Of the first five people who participated in the program, three have reduced their buprenorphine dose, and two have been able to stop taking it completely with no relapse for six months with the help of another non-dependence forming addiction medication, naltrexone.

Full story of mindfulness and patients reducing opioid use at drugfree.org

University Addresses Substance Abuse Through Living and Learning Program

The University of Vermont is pioneering a program that integrates residential and curricular elements to address substance abuse, according to NBC News.

The program’s participants are 120 freshmen who live in a substance-free dorm. They receive a Fitbit, gym passes and nutrition coaching. They take a neuroscience course, “Healthy Brains, Healthy Bodies.” The class begins with meditation, and covers research on the benefits of clean living, the article notes.

The program, called Wellness Environment, was founded by Dr. James Hudziak, Chief of Child Psychiatry at the College of Medicine and the University of Vermont Medical Center. The program has four pillars of health: exercise, nutrition, mindfulness and mentorship.

Full story of the living and learning program at drugfree.org

Mindfulness-based depression therapy reduces health care visits

A mindfulness-based therapy for depression has the added benefit of reducing health-care visits among patients who often see their family doctors, according to a new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).

The research showed that frequent health service users who received mindfulness-based cognitive therapy showed a significant reduction in non-mental health care visits over a one-year period, compared with those who received other types of group therapy.