Vajra Blue

Mindfulness and Compassion. Understanding trauma in young people.


Trauma Informed Care: Attachment trauma and neuroplasticity

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Early experience shapes the structure and function of the brain. This reveals the fundamental way in which gene expression is determined by experience.
Daniel Siegel

Homo sapiens is a social species, and we have a prolonged developmental phase of dependency as we grow to adulthood.

Because of this, evolution has kitted us out with systems that enhance our ability to form relationships with others in our community.

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Mental health: taking a BET on treatment.

Mental health has become a major concern of the modern world.

There are rising levels of depression.

Ever increasing numbers of work hours are lost to stress and related disorders.

There seems to be an epidemic of suicide and self harm among the young.

Current treatment regimens seem to rely too much on medication, often as the only intervention, and fail to address the holistic picture.

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Mindfulness: where does the research stand?

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aglet, aiglet
ag·let  (ăg′lĭt)
n.

1. A tag or sheath, as of plastic, on the end of a lace, cord, or ribbon to facilitate its passing through eyelet holes.
2. A similar device used for an ornament.
[Middle English, from Old French aguillette, diminutive of aguille,needle, from Vulgar Latin *acūcula, from Late Latin acucula, diminutive of Latin acus, needle; see ak- in Indo-European roots.]

Mindfulness and meditation have been around for thousands of years.  It is only relatively recently that they have started to appear on the radar as potential treatments for physical and mental health difficulties.

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Attention and focus: the complications of trying to stay alive

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Challenge is the pathway to engagement and progress in our lives. But not all challenges are created equal. Some challenges make us feel alive, engaged, connected, and fulfilled. Others simply overwhelm us. Knowing the difference as you set bigger and bolder challenges for yourself is critical to your sanity, success, and satisfaction.
Brendon Burchard

Staying alive has always been the greatest challenge for any creature. All species have developed systems to detect danger and potential threats. One of the most effective of these, is the appropriately named “fight or flight response”.  This prepares us to do exactly that, fight or run for our lives.

We detect threat by analysing the incoming data from our environment, both from the external world, and from our inner world of thought, emotion, and knowledge. Our conscious brain can only manage a tiny percentage of the information that we receive from our senses, the rest is processed at an unconscious level.

Our focus is constantly drawn to the events in the world around us. However, the systems that we use to assess threat are designed for a different world. A world in which we were prey animals and not the top predator on the planet.  They are certainly not designed for life in a modern, technological, stimulus rich world, and not for a self-aware creature, whose own thoughts and emotions can be mistaken for a threat. Is that tiny spider really a danger to life?

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FAMOUS for fifteen minutes: a mindful way to a happier life.

keep-calm-and-andy-warhol

When I grow up
I wanna be famous
I wanna be a star
I wanna be in movies

When I grow up
I wanna see the world
Drive nice cars
I wanna have groupies

PUSSYCAT DOLLS

Humankind is a very successful animal. Some two hundred thousand years ago, the entire human race consisted of a few thousand people living in Southern Africa.  In the ensuing years, we have made full use of our adaptability and survival skills, and have spread to every corner of the globe on the way becoming the world’s dominant species. Our current population is heading for eight billion. Much of this success is due to our ability to survive against the odds.

The systems developed by the process of evolution to detect, and then react to danger, have stood us in good stead. However, these systems, designed to pick up the early signs of danger, can be very unhelpful in the digital age.
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Mindfulness: dealing with attention deficit trait..

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People today are in danger of drowning in information; but, because they have been taught that information is useful, they are more willing to drown than they need be.

If they could handle information, they would not have to drown at all.”
― Idries Shah, Reflections

Information is one thing that is plentiful in the twenty first century. It is said that one week of the New York Times contains more information than the average person, alive just fifty years ago, would have been exposed to in their entire lives. As well as the ever increasing availablity of information, the volume of data available seems to be expanding exponentially, and most of this is unfiltered. This knowledge revolution, while having many benefits, does come with a significant price.

Attention Deficit Trait (ADT) is a term that describes the effects of a persistent state of information overload that can be generated by the digital world. It was first used by psychiatrist, Edward Hallowell, in an article in the Harvard Business Review. He described a state “Marked by distractability, inner frenzy, and impatience…” occuring in business managers that turned “otherwise talented performers into harried underachievers.”

This condition although similar to ADHD, is caused by the environment in which we live and work. In other words it is something that we are doing to ourselves.

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Mindfulness: 3 simple practices to help young people become mindful.

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I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.
Dalai lama.

The term Mindfulness seems to be on everyone’s lips at the moment. A great deal of research has already been undertaken into its benefits, and these cover many of the domains of our daily lives .

Although much of this research has been carried out on adults, there is increasing evidence that there are also benefits for young people. Indeed, even the British government has started to advocate that it should be taught in schools.

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