Zenify Premium Mindfulness Meditation App

Teaching users to live a more conscious and mindful life, Zenify Premium App offers a variety of mindfulness meditation exercises delivered to a smartphone. These assignments help users experience a heightened state of awareness in the present moment.

Throughout the day, users can choose chosen intervals for the Zenify app to chime with assignments to teach mindfulness meditation techniques. It allows one to take breaks throughout the day to return to the present moment and “strengthen the neuronal connections between the part of your brain responsible for consciousness and awareness (prefrontal cortex),” according to the app developers.

Suggested exercises take five minutes or less, and are relatively easy to complete. The app is available for iTunes and in the Google Play store for Android for $1.99.


Washing Dishes Mindfully Can Ease Stress, Study Shows

There is a way to wash dishes and alleviate stress at the same time — and it’s doing the dishes mindfully.

Researchers from Florida State University studied 51 college students as they washed dishes, and more than half were given a dish washing passage written by author and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, which told them to bring mindfulness to the activity — really smelling the soap and sensing the water temperature.

“While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes, which means one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes,” the passage by Hanh said, according to Medical Daily. “At first glance, that might seem a little silly. Why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that’s precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing is a wondrous reality. I’m being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There’s no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves.”

The remainder of the control group being studied read a short message focused on the basics of getting things done, and the results showed those who read the Thich Nhat Hanh passage, and washing the dishes mindfully, reported a decrease in nervousness (by 27 percent) and an increase in mental inspiration (by 25 percent). More importantly, the control group noticed no benefits at all.

25 Minutes of Mindfulness Meditation Alleviates Psychological Stress, Study Shows

New research from Carnegie Mellon University is the first to show that brief mindfulness meditation practice — 25 minutes for three consecutive days — alleviates psychological stress. Published in the journal “Psychoneuroendocrinology,” the study investigates how mindfulness meditation affects people’s ability to be resilient under stress.

“More and more people report using meditation practices for stress reduction, but we know very little about how much you need to do for stress reduction and health benefits,” lead author J. David Creswell, associate professor of psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences said in a press release.

For the study, Creswell and his research team had 66 healthy individuals aged 18-30 years old participate in a three-day experiment. Some participants went through a brief mindfulness meditation training program, where for 25 minutes over three consecutive days, the individuals were given breathing exercises to help them monitor their breath and pay attention to their present moment experiences.

A second group of participants completed a matched three-day cognitive training program where they were asked to critically analyze poetry in an effort to enhance problem-solving skills.

Following the final training activity, all participants were asked to complete stressful speech and math tasks in front of stern-faced evaluators. Each individual reported stress levels in response to stressful speech and math performance stress tasks, and provided saliva samples for measurement of cortisol, or the stress hormone.

The participants who received the brief mindfulness meditation training reported reduced stress perceptions to the speech and math tasks, indicating that the mindfulness meditation fostered psychological stress resilience. Additionally, on the biological side, the mindfulness meditation participants showed greater cortisol reactivity.

“When you initially learn mindfulness mediation practices, you have to cognitively work at it — especially during a stressful task,” said Creswell. “And these active cognitive efforts may result in the task feeling less stressful, but they may also have physiological costs with higher cortisol production.”

Creswell’s group is now testing the possibility that mindfulness can become more automatic and easy to use with long-term mindfulness meditation training, which may result in reduced cortisol reactivity.


Mindfulness Meditation Shown to Enhance Mental Health in Children

More teachers and parents are beginning to embrace meditation for children, and now there is a study to show its effectiveness.

Professor Willem Kuyken from the Mood Disorders Centre at the University of Exeter presented evidence from new research findings of a trial showing how mindfulness is effective in improving the well-being of children ages 12 to 16 years at the Mindfulness in Schools Project Annual Conference in London, according to a report by MedicalXpress.com.

The research included students from 12 secondary schools who participated in mindfulness – being aware of the present moment and learning to relate to thoughts, emotions, body sensations and impulses as they arise – or took part in the usual school curriculum. The young people who participated in the mindfulness program reported fewer depressive symptoms, lower stress and greater well-being than those in the control group, according to the report.

Mindfulness Meditation May Reduce Stress-Induced Inflammation, Study Shows

Those suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma, where psychological stress plays an important role, may benefit from mindfulness-based stress reduction, a form of meditation, according to a study by University of Wisconsin-Madison neuroscientists with the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, Scienceblog.com reported.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction, which is designed for patients with chronic pain, has practitioners continuously focus attention on the breath, body sensations and mental content, while either seated, walking or practicing yoga.

The study compared two methods of reducing stress: a mindfulness meditation-based approach, and a program designed to enhance health in ways unrelated to mindfulness.

The other group participated in the Health Enhancement Program, which included nutritional education; physical activity, such as walking; balance, agility and core strengthening; and music therapy, the article stated.

Both groups had the same amount of training, the same level of expertise in the instructors, and the same amount of home practice required by participants.

“In this setting, we could see if there were changes that we could detect that were specific to mindfulness,” Melissa Rosenkranz, assistant scientist at the center and lead author on the paper, which was published recently in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity said in the article.

Using a tool called the Trier Social Stress Test to induce psychological stress, and a capsaicin cream to produce inflammation on the skin, the researchers took immune and endocrine measures before and after training in the two methods. While both techniques were proven effective in reducing stress, the mindfulness-based stress reduction approach was more effective at reducing stress-induced inflammation.

The results show behavioral interventions designed to reduce emotional reactivity are beneficial to people suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions. The study also suggests mindfulness techniques may be more effective in relieving inflammatory symptoms than other activities that promote well-being, the article stated.

“This is not a cure-all, but our study does show there are specific ways that mindfulness can be beneficial, and that there are specific people who may be more likely to benefit from this approach than other interventions,” Rosenkranz said in the report.

VIDEO: U.S. Military Training Soldiers in Mindfulness Meditation

In order to increase soldier resiliency and reduce post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the U.S. Military is training its solders in mindfulness meditation. Experts with the Mind-Fitness Training Institute (MFTI) in Alexandria are training the soldiers and civilian emergency responders in an 8-week course of mindfulness and resilience skills, according to a WUSA9.com report.

Elizabeth Stanley, Ph.D., the founder of MFTI, used meditation exercises to conduct studies with military personnel, and discovered the practice of mindfulness meditation is linked to a decrease in stress. It also slows the development of functional impairments in high stress situation, the report stated.

Watch the full report in the video below: