Listen to a dharma talk I gave on August 8, 2017 at IMSB in Mountain View, Ca, on the topic of Skillfully Recognizing Empty Appearance. Though the Buddhist notion of emptiness can be quite challenging for Western Buddhist practitioners, the rich teachings on emptiness offer a clear path to apply wise view, wise action and skillful means in daily life. Enjoy!
The Senate GOP health “care” (actually health destroying) bill suffers from insufficient input from medical professionals, mental health professionals, patient advocates or other groups with deep expertise in public health and medicine. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, this bill will mean that 22 million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026.
You don’t have to be a mental health professional to know the GOP’s heartless, mindless Senate and House bills pose serious threats to the health and well-being of all Americans. Read what scientists, doctors, and researchers have to say about this bill here.
Take action to stop this governance travesty:
- Find and attend a town hall
- Call your Senator (Senate switchboard number: 202-224-3121)
- Tag your Senators in a tweet about the bill (list of accounts via C-SPAN)
- Be knowledgable by reading these sources of information:
- American Public Health Association Talking Points
- American Medical Association resources and shareable graphics
- Statement from a coalition of patient groups (including the American Heart and Lung Associations) opposing the Senate bill
- Action Kit from FamiliesUSA
On June 12, 2017 the International Transformational Resilience Coalition and American Public Health Alliance hosted a workshop on Psychosocial Resilience for Climate Change. Watch the presentations given by Bob Doppelt, MS, MS, Coordinator, International Transformational Resilience Coalition and Lise Van Susteren, MD, Forensic Psychiatrist.
While public health programs focus on providing short-term assistance during and after major climate events, the public also needs long-term strategies to cope with the strain that rising, ongoing climate change has on mental health and psychosocial well-being. are proud to host this workshop, which will illustrate how public health professionals can help build widespread resilience for the traumas and toxic stresses of climate change.
Below is a new analysis of meditation effects from the NCCIH based upon a large 2012 survey.
Meditators and Non-meditators Differ on Demographic Factors, Health Behaviors, Health Status, and Health Care Access, New Analysis Shows
A new analysis shows that meditators differed from nonmeditators on key factors, such as demographics, health behaviors, health status, and health care access. These results expand on the relatively limited information known about the characteristics of people who practice meditation. The findings, published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, are based on data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a large survey conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.
In growing recognition of the diversity of traditions and practices, the 2012 NHIS collected information on three common meditation styles—mantra, mindfulness, and spiritual meditation—to provide greater insight on these practices. The analysis examined the prevalence and patterns of use among 34,525 adults during the 12 months prior to the survey.*
Comparing meditators and nonmeditators, the results showed that:
- Meditators were more likely than nonmeditators to be middle-aged, white, female, college-educated, and living in the Western United States.
- Meditators were more likely to engage in preventive health practices such as physical activity, quitting smoking, and having their cholesterol checked.
- Meditators were more likely to be underweight/heathly body weight (41% versus 31%).
- Meditators had more health concerns, including one or more functional limitations (45% versus 34%), chronic back pain (39% versus 27%), and depression (22% versus 9%).
- Meditators were more likely to have visited a conventional health care provider 10 or more times in the previous 12 months (26% versus 13%).
Looking at exclusive use of one of the three types of meditation revealed the following:
- Individuals in all three meditation groups shared characteristics found among users of other complementary health practices, especially self-care or wellness-oriented activities such as yoga.
- Meditation prevalence was typically higher for survey respondents who were female, non-Hispanic white, college-educated, and physically active; who used acupuncture, yoga, and vegetarian diets; and who reported depression as well as higher use of conventional health care services.
- The use of spiritual meditation was more prevalent among those reporting health complaints, using more conventional health services, and being a former drinker and/or a former smoker. Spiritual meditation was also the largest meditation group.
Looking at mindfulness meditation specifically:
- More respondents practiced mindfulness meditation for wellness than to treat a specific health condition (73% versus 30%).
- Stress management, emotional well-being, having an increased sense of control over health issues, and better sleep were the top wellness-related reasons reported for practicing mindfulness meditation.
- Meditators were more likely than nonmeditators to use other complementary health approaches, including provider-based practices such as chiropractic and self-care approaches such as yoga.
The researchers concluded that use of meditation may be more about the type of person practicing than about the specific type of meditation practiced—people using diverse methods to support health and well-being. Considering the nature of consumer preference for seemingly distinct types of meditation practices, understanding the underlying mechanisms, benefits, and applications of practice variations is important.
- Burke A, Lam CN, Stussman B, et al. The practice of meditation: prevalence and patterns of use among adults in the United States. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. June 15, 2017. Epub ahead of print.
The American Medical Association released a letter today condemning the House GOP “American Health Care Act” (AHCA). Read the letter below. Call your Senators and urge them to trash the GOP AHCA bill. It is a travesty for all Americans and must never become law.
M. David Green, creator of Hack the Process Podcast, invited me to join him for a rich conversation that was as much fun, as it was informative for us both. Listen to it at the link below.
A great TED Talk by cognitive neuroscientist David Vago on how each moment is an opportunity to change our brain and strongly influence our health & longevity at both conscious and non-conscious levels.