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If you’re trapped on the high floors of an office tower all day, you can’t exactly break for a restorative stroll and a picnic in the park. However, if you have a view of a nearby green space, like say a green roof, and even just a minute to spare, you can reap some of the same refreshing benefits of urban nature. Even if the view of a flower meadow on a roof is a computer generated image, it still works.
That’s the upshot of a new paper from an Australia-based research team set for publication in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. Their work has found that even taking just 40 seconds to focus on a view of nature can boost “multiple networks of attention”—sharpening your mind to handle the next task dealt by the work day. They call it a “micro-break,” and it turns out your brain loves it:
But the findings certainly fit with all that social science has found in recent years about the restorative power of nature. Research shows that even a mere desk plant can improve office worker’s performance and happiness. views of nature give the working brain a rest—to varying degrees—by engaging our involuntary attention centers.
This new evidence that greenery might be beneficial in less than a minute is an exciting idea in our fast-paced work world. Even if the view of the greenery is a computer image.
And if the flower meadow roof simulations were replaced with the real thing, the performance outcomes might be even stronger.
The work also helps build the economic case for green roofs. If the environmental benefits aren’t incentive enough to make them a standard part of development efforts, perhaps greater business productivity is.
A review of 114 studies also found consistent evidence that Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) improves the mental health and wellbeing of patients with conditions including cancer, lower back pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis and HIV.
Jamie Bristow, director of the Mindfulness Initiative, said that mindfulness therapy is underutilised in the NHS at the moment, with 72% of GPs saying they wanted to refer patients to it but only one in five knowing how.
A systematic review concluded that homeopathy was no more effective than administering a placebo and a leading scientist has declared the treatment a “therapeutic dead-end”.
Paul Glasziou is professor of evidence based medicine at Bond University and a part time general practitioner. Writing in the British Medical Journal Blog, his study finds no evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy.
The International Council for Homeopathy is currently leading a fund-raising effort. However, they are not raising funds for experiements to show the effectiveness of homeopthay – thos experiements have already been done and they show it doesn’t work – the International Council for Homeopathy is rasing fund to attack the recent study.
Read the story in the Independent here:
The Student Newspaper reports on the on-going study by the University of Cambridge to see how mindfulness affects students’ mental health, grades and even their immune systems.
However, stories of people who have tried this ‘fad’ and come out the other end feeling worse are highlighting the side effects of mindfulness. One person wrote an article for The Guardian about other people’s bad experiences with the practice, saying there are many internet forums where people share their worries after experiencing things like panic attacks and hearing voices during sessions. This may be because of past trauma, or being in stressful situations. It may also be due to a lack of studies on the side effects of mindfulness and the limited number of teachers who know what to do when something does happen. In an analogy to exercise, the article says you need a good teacher to prevent such effects from happening, just as you need a good trainer to prevent injury.
If mindfulness is supposed to be helpful and not be detrimental to mental health, it must be thought of in the same way as exercising any other part of the body; you need to take care when exercising it and ideally have someone at hand who knows what to do if you injure yourself.
Read the full article here. http://www.studentnewspaper.org/mindfulness-can-offer-an-escape-from-increasingly-stressful-lives/
Dr Muhamad Usman lays out the facts.
Essentially, sugar is poisoning you body (and mind) in all sorts of ways.
Mindfulness-based therapy may help ease anxiety and depression in some cancer patients, a small research review suggests.
Advances in medicine have transformed cancer from what was once a death sentence to what is now a chronic disease for many patients. With more cancer patients surviving longer, more attention is being paid to the physical and mental health problems that can linger even after patients have been declared “all clear”.
Even cancer patients who have a good prognosis, may have fears that the treatment will fail. And this can lead to depression and anxiety.
Most of the studies involved women with breast cancer. The people in the studies were typically around 50 years old and there were few differences in education, marital status or employment status.
Researchers analyzed data from seven previously published studies that included 469 cancer patients who received this type of therapy and 419 who didn’t When the researchers pooled the data from all the studies, mindfulness-based therapy was linked to a 25% greater decline in anxiety and a 10% bigger decline in symptoms of depression, compared to usual care, Mei-Fen Zhang of Sun Yat-Sen University in China and colleagues report in the November issue of the journal Medicine.
Read the original abstract in Medicine.
A recent paper published in the Journal of Health Psychology, explores how a bad night’s sleep — something that affects millions of people worldwide — can affect eating habits and behaviours. Though it is well-known that a bad night’s sleep can affect our ability to perform daily duties, what is less known is how disrupted sleep can influence both our food choices and intake.
Researchers Alyssa Lundahl and Timothy D Nelson of the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, USA. However, said: “understanding the mechanisms linking disrupted sleep patterns to increased food intake is important.”
For example, after a bad night’s sleep, the hormone controlling appetite is affected, emotional stress is greater, more food is desired to compensate for lack of energy and impulsivity is increased, all of which affect the amount of food that you would consume in a day.
Essentailly, a bad nights sleep can lead to impulsive comfort eating. Because these impulses are driven by hormone levels, rather than habits or psychological drives, they will be more difficult to combat.