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Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

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by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
Tap to Listen to Article
"When you are in a state of mindfulness you are actually more aware and able to engage in tasks..."
What Are the Health Benefits of Deep Meditative Relaxation?

1) Reduction in Stress and Anxiety. Numerous studies have shown that relaxation exercises reduce stress effects and anxiety (Manzoni et al, 2008; Arias, 2006). As a result, individuals can function better in their daily tasks, can be more focused and productive at work, and generally feel more content.

2) Reduces Depression and Substance Abuse. Routine meditation can reduce depressive symptoms (Arias, 2006). In addition, Chiesa and Serretti (2009) conducted a review of studies examining mindfulness meditations and found that such practice reduces relapses in depression as well as substance abuse. Mindfulness may not be the only form of treatment but it can certainly be a useful adjunct to the treatment of these problems.

3) Reduces Symptoms of Various Physical Illnesses. A review of several studies showed that the cognitive impairment related to cancer has been reduced through meditation which also assisted cancer patients with mood, stress, nausea, pain, and sleep disturbance (Biegler, Chaoul & Cohen, 2009). In addition, meditation has been effective with reducing blood pressure (Chiesa & Serretti, 2009) and with epilepsy, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopausal symptoms, and autoimmune illnesses (Arias et al, 206).

4) Improves Cognitive Performance. The regular practice of meditation has been shown to improve cognitive flexibility and attention which contributes to overall mental balance and well-being (Moore & Malinowski, 2009).

5) Reduces Pain Sensitivity. Regular meditators have been found to be significantly less sensitive to pain (Grant & Rainville, 2009). Hypnosis, another meditative that stimulates the alpha and theta brain waves has long been shown to be effective for pain management (Stoelb et al, 2009).

6) Slows Cellular Aging? A very interesting proposal by Epel et al (2009) links the practice of mindfulness to a slowing of cellular aging due to the reduction in cognitive stress and stress arousal. In particular, they question that the reduction in stress arousal may be associated with telomere length which are the protective caps at the end of chromosomes that tend to deteriorate with age. However, these are studies that are still being conducted and we will need to stay apprised of the future outcomes. READ MORE: page 3

Intro to Meditative Relaxation--page 1

What are the health benefits of deep meditative relaxation?--page 2

How do I do deep meditative relaxation?--page 3

"One of the most salient aspects I've noticed about unhappy people is that they are desperately trying to avoid negative emotions and in the process they feel miserable."


by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.


For many years when my husband and I were first together I would ask him "When are things going to get better?" We were dealing with the usual stressors that couples face: not enough time, not enough money, and the inevitable random events such as family conflict, deaths of loved ones, illnesses and injuries. In addition, for most of our early years together I was in school and struggling with the balancing of demands of advanced education, part-time work, and a family. But I had the belief that we were working towards this perfect life that one day would emerge shining a rainbow of happiness forever over us. My husband, inclined more toward the practical, just answered my question of "When are things going to get better?," with "Another six months." That answer typically pacified me for awhile because I thought I could handle any amount of stress for six months. However, a point would occur when I once again I asked my husband "When are things going to get better?" Once again, he would answer "Another six months." This scenario occurred fairly routinely for many years.

However, fortunately during this time I had experiences that began to teach me about my expectations of life. In particular, when I was completing my internship at the Veterans Administration Medical Center I had the opportunity to work on the spinal cord injury unit. That experience forever changed my thinking. In particular, I was struck by the differences in attitude among the patients. My job was to psychologically evaluate each patient. Some of those I evaluated had a recent spinal cord injury and some were returning for follow-up visits. Every patient on that unit, however, had a life-changing injury. Never would they walk again and some couldn't use their hands or even needed assistance with breathing. Every one of them had sustained major changes and losses in their life. Some of them not only lost the physical use of their body, but they lost a girlfriend or wife who couldn't handle the situation, or a job that was part of their self-identity. Yet, what I noticed was that no matter what the losses were or the length of time since the injury, the patients could be divided into two categories: happy or miserable.

Those who were happy reported thinking such as "Yeah, this sucks, but I still have dreams. There are still things I can do. And I'm going to focus on those things." Those who were miserable made statements such as "This is so unfair. My whole life is ruined. I will never be happy." In obtaining the life histories of the patients, I saw that those who were happy had full and active lives, they had friends and jobs and were involved in activities. Whereas those who were miserable, often did nothing but stay in bed with little social contact and had more problems with bed sores and other ailments due to the inactivity. I was informed that even though spinal cord injury in itself does not reduce life expectancy, those who gave up tended to die at earlier ages from complications. READ MORE: page 2

How can we be happy when bad things happen?--page 1

How is the attitude of happiness a choice?--page 2

How is the attitude of happiness different from positive thinking?--page 3

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Dr. Monica Frank

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