Embrace Joy Chapter 14


Mindful Awareness and Faith

A person's inner life, religious beliefs and focus on the spirit—no matter what form their reflectiveness or worship takes—has clear benefits for well-being and health.

PART 1

Sweet Ohm

Researchers continue to compile evidence of the connections between quieting the mind, experiencing peace and joy, and living longer. A 2010 study led by Tonya Jacobs of the University of California-Davis took 30 subjects to a three-month meditation retreat. The people participating meditated six hours each day, focusing on mindfulness and compassion. READ MORE

At the end of the three months, researchers found that the subjects had 30 % more telomerase than a control group. Telomerase is an enzyme that repairs and maintains the telomeres, the zone at the ends of chromosomes that protect its structure and keep it active. Each time a cell divides, the telomere zone shortens, a phenomenon associated with cell aging and death.

Certainly, it is not practical for most of us to spend six hours per day meditating! However, the dramatic increase in telomerase activity that was observed is a big clue to connections between our health, aging and mindful awareness. LESS
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PART 2

True Believers

In one Gallup survey, highly religious people (those who, for example, agreed that "my religious faith is the most important influence in my life") were twice as likely as those lowest in religious commitment to declare themselves very happy. In larger studies, including international samples, there appears to be a small but statistically significant connection between holding belief in a deity and a soul, and being satisfied with life.Part of the equation, certainly, is the community of members and the support they gain from sharing beliefs and being together.
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PART 3

Positive Psychology

For decades, many thought of psychiatry and psychology as the study and treatment of mental illness, only. Within the past 15 years, however, a proactive, forward-gazing subcategory called positive psychology has arisen. This treatment approach focuses on “building what's strong” rather than “fixing what's wrong,” according to one of its most prominent proponents, Martin Seligman, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania. READ MORE

The discipline aims to preemptively strengthen the spirit and self-esteem by discovering strengths and emphasizing them. The movement is dedicated to making normal life more fulfilling, and finding a scientific basis for helping all people to thrive and enjoy life. Positive psychology treatment can also be used in tandem with traditional psychotherapy to simultaneously address existing issues and reinforce the positive aspects of a person's life. LESS
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