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Mindfulness meditation can reduce guilt, leading to unintended negative social consequences

Initially inspired by centuries-old Buddhist practices consisting of philosophies and meditations together, today a secular version of mindfulness — consisting of meditations alone — is becoming increasingly popular.

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Mindfulness meditation is a stress-management practice with ancient lineage that cultivates nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, often by directing attention to the physical sensations of breathing. Initially inspired by centuries-old Buddhist practices consisting of philosophies and meditations together, today a secular version of mindfulness — consisting of meditations alone — is becoming increasingly popular.

There are phone apps that help generate self-awareness and many big corporations are folding mindfulness training programs into their curriculums. But there may be an unanticipated downside to secular mindfulness meditation practices, according to new research led by the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, and published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

“Meditating can reduce feelings of guilt, thus limiting reactions like generosity that are important to human relationships,” said lead author Andrew Hafenbrack, an assistant professor in the Foster School who studies mindfulness.

Researchers wanted to know how mindfulness meditation reduces negative emotions, like anger and guilt.

“Negative emotions may not be pleasant, but they can help us navigate social situations and maintain relationships,” Hafenbrack said.

“If someone gets really angry and they yell at their boss, or something, and they get fired or make people feel unsafe, then you know that’s a bad thing,” Hafenbrack said. “Not all negative emotions are the same in terms of the kinds of behaviors that they queue up, though.”

When people feel guilty, it tends to make them focus outward, on other people, which can promote reparative actions.

“Meditating for short periods of time is a tool that can make people feel better, like popping an aspirin when they have a headache,” Hafenbrack said. “We have a responsibility as researchers to share not only the many positive effects of meditation, but also the inadvertent side effects, such as the potential for it to occasionally relax one’s moral compass.”

To better understand meditation practices, the researchers conducted eight experiments with more than 1,400 participants in the U.S. and Portugal. Participants varied for each experiment – some were U.S. adults recruited online, some were graduate students attending a university in Portugal, while another group was mostly undergraduates at the Wharton School of Business.

In their first study, the researchers demonstrated that mindfulness does reduce feelings of guilt. Participants were randomly assigned to either write about a past situation that made them feel guilty or write about their previous day. Then, they listened to either an eight-minute guided mindfulness meditation recording that instructed them to focus on the physical sensations of breathing or an eight-minute control condition recording in which they were instructed to let their minds wander. Participants who listened to the mindfulness recording reported feeling less guilt compared to those in the mind-wandering control group. This was true whether they had written about a guilty situation or their previous day.

The team then ran six other experiments to test whether mindfulness meditation would influence prosocial reparative behaviors, like making up with a friend after doing something that caused harm.

For example, in two experiments all participants were asked to recall and write about a time they wronged someone and felt guilty, before being randomly assigned to meditate or not. After that, they were asked to allocate a hypothetical $100 between a birthday gift for the person they had wronged, a charity for African flood victims, and themselves. Participants who had meditated allocated approximately 17% less to the person they had wronged compared to those who had not meditated.

The psychological process behind these allocation differences was reduced guilt. These and three other, similar experiments established that mindfulness meditation reduces the tendency to make amends for harming others.

“This research serves as a caution to people who might be tempted to use mindfulness meditation to reduce emotions that are unpleasant, but necessary to support moral thoughts and behavior,” said co-author Isabelle Solal, an assistant professor at ESSEC Business School in Cergy-Pointoise, France.

While focused breathing meditation is the most popular form of meditation, used in mindfulness programs such as the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction approach and Google’s Search Inside Yourself, the study also explored loving kindness meditation, which appears in those programs as well. Loving kindness meditation consists of imagery exercises in which one evokes other people and sends wishes that each is happy, well and free from suffering.

In the final experiment, participants once again wrote about a time they wronged someone and felt guilty, before listening to either a focused breathing mindfulness meditation recording or a loving kindness meditation recording. Participants in the loving kindness group reported higher intentions to contact, apologize to, and make up with people they had harmed compared to participants in the focused breathing meditation group. The difference was explained by participants’ increased focus on others and feelings of love.

“Our research suggests that loving kindness meditation may allow people to have the stress-reduction benefits of meditation without the cost of reducing repair, because it increases focus on others and feelings of love,” said co-author Matthew LaPalme, who was a research scientist at Yale University and now works at Amazon.

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Bookshelf PH announces book collections from diverse genres

Publishing house Bookshelf PH, with its collection of books from diverse genres, has heart-swooning reads that touch all five love languages.

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Love is given, felt, and explored in ways we never expect.

We’re no strangers to the concept of feeling kilig, an emotion that makes hearts swoon and flutter whenever we give or receive love. Speaking of giving and receiving love, we might prefer one over the other but overall, these five love languages create a holistic relationship with our loved ones whether that’s through physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gift-giving, or acts of service.

Publishing house Bookshelf PH, with its collection of books from diverse genres, has heart-swooning reads that touch all five love languages. From affirming poems to small acts of service, here are five books that explore love’s different manifestations, each with stories to tell of how we can give and receive love in ways we prefer the most.

1. Jasmines in Her Hair – Words of Affirmation

Love is expressed through the gentle whisper of words. ”Jasmines in Her Hair” by Kalpesh Desai is a poetry collection that features the themes and facets of love. From tender beginnings of infatuation to depths of enduring connection, each poem will captivate readers to immerse themselves in passionate sensibilities found in delight, sorrow, grief, acceptance, and resilience, capturing the essence of the heart’s universal experiences. 

Poetic words are as powerful as daily communication and this book might be the perfect bond for lovers. If you love compliments, notes, or sweet whispers, then words of affirmation may be your cup of love language. It’s not too old-school to write personal notes inspired by these poems to show appreciation to your Lovey-dovey.

2. Laws of Motions and Attraction – Physical Touch

“Alex never believed in love at first sight. But right then she realized, maybe she had loved him all along. It had been a long time coming, but it turned out ‘maybe someday’ was worth the wait, after all..”

Missing those back hugs and forehead kisses? How about those tender traces of his fingertips to your cheeks? Just when you know that physical touch becomes a language of its own, it speaks volume where words fall short. This is your sign to reminisce about the past and reflect if he is worth the second chance.

Gravitate your senses with Kaye Allen’s contemporary romance novel, “Laws of Motions and Attraction” as it brings you the story of Alex, a driven student who finds herself captivated by the most ideal suitor on campus only to discover that destiny has other plans. In this enthralling examination of love, accompany Alex on a journey fraught with twists and turns, and let her story touch your heart brimming every moment with sweet affection.

3. Warm Blankets in Cold Midnights – Gift-Giving

Who says love month is over? February may have passed but it’s never late to surprise someone with a thoughtful present. Let your cozy affection be felt by giving Warm Blankets in Cold Midnights to express the language of gift-giving!

Share the warmth with your loved one as you immerse in Janella Ventura’s short story collection, “Warm Blankets in Cold Midnights,” featuring 23 heartwarming love stories to uplift your spirits and 18 tear-jerking tales that will leave you deeply moved. From handmade treasures to heartfelt gestures,  Warm Blankets in Cold Midnights reminds readers that the true value of a gift lies not in its material worth, but in the love and care with which it is given.

4. Words, Fate, and Accidents – Quality Time

“…We may not know each other well but sometimes people could find comfort in the most unlikely places. Be it in a good book, a playlist with all favorite songs, or even in a foreign country, standing beside a stranger you met by accident.”

Another heart-touching craft from Kaye Allen is her “Words, Fate, and Accidents”, which is a story of connection and companionship. In a world where time is fleeting and fate is unpredictable, two strangers found solace in each other’s company, forging bonds that withstand the test of time. If you value quality time for your loved ones, then this book might remind you that time isn’t measured in minutes or hours, but in the profound moments shared between kindred spirits.

5. Lost You, Found Me – Acts of Service

“Lost is a state we will perpetually be in and the life is best approached by embracing it as it is.”

Picture this: late-night study sessions, surprise coffee deliveries, and shoulder-to-cry-on moments. Everyone has been through the rough stage between college and adulting where those small acts of service matter most in times when we feel most alone. You’re not lost sweetie, because a story that resonates has found its way to you!

Testament to the power of selfless devotion, Zara Carbonell’s “Lost You, Found Me” takes  readers into the tumultuous journey of love, loss, and self-discovery—a celebration of love through acts of sacrifice. Set against the backdrop of the exhilarating transition from college into the unknowns of adulthood, Lost You, Found Me offers a unique perspective on the exploration of life’s nitty-gritty.

Each of these books provides a fresh view on the languages of love and illustrates the diverse ways we communicate and receive affection. Whether through verbal affection, intimate gestures, shared warmth of hugs, or acts of selflessness, these authors capture the universality of love–transcending barriers and resonating deeply within our beings.

Thrilled to grab a copy of one of these books that pulsates your love language?

Visit Bookshelf PH  and discover the perfect read for you.

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Filipinos can now gain easier access to insurance with SeaInsure and Igloo

Filipinos can now easily access various personal and family insurance plans from SeaInsure Philippines through Igloo Philippines’ AI-powered app, Ignite by Igloo.

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Filipinos can now easily access various personal and family insurance plans from SeaInsure Philippines through Igloo Philippines’ AI-powered app, Ignite by Igloo.

The partnership between the two companies brings greater convenience and empowerment to insurance providers and seekers, giving Filipinos wider accessibility to essential insurance plans and supporting financial resilience.The initial products available on the app provide up to  ₱300,000 worth of coverage.

These include the SeaInsure Junior Accident Shield (0 to 17 years old), which covers medical expenses resulting from accidents; the SeaInsure Ladies Accident Shield (18 to 45 years old), which provides general accident coverage, including beauty procedures and pregnancy complications; SeaInsure Personal Accident Shield (18 to 60 years old) that takes care of medical expenses from unfortunate accidents; and SeaInsure Senior Accident Shield (61 to 70 years old) that protects from accidents like slips and bone fractures.

For more information, visit https://seainsure.com.ph/products/personal/protection.

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PRUBabies receives back-to-back international awards

ru Life UK offered 175,000 free vouchers of PRUMedCare – Select Infectious Diseases coverage for newborns from 7 days to 11 months old, helping parents protect their newborns against the cost of getting sick from any of the covered four infectious diseases – Dengue, Typhoid, Measles and Malaria.

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PRUBabies, Pru Life UK’s free insurance coverage against select infectious diseases for newborns, bagged Silver and Bronze Stevie®Awardsfor Community Relations/Public Service Communications and Innovative Achievement in Diversity & Inclusion, respectively.

As a testament to the company’s commitment to driving financial inclusion in the country, Pru Life UK offered 175,000 free vouchers of PRUMedCare – Select Infectious Diseases coverage for newborns from 7 days to 11 months old, helping parents protect their newborns against the cost of getting sick from any of the covered four infectious diseases – Dengue, Typhoid, Measles and Malaria. 

“Daghang salamat Pru Life UK. Dahil sa inyo, nabigyan ng libreng proteksyon ang aking baby,” shares Jeresa Caranoo, mother from Bantayan Island, Cebu who received free insurance for her child. 

Through PRUBabies, parents can receive cash assistance for the diagnosis and death of newborns due to any of the four covered diseases. The Department of Health has warned the public to watch out for the four covered diseases, particularly during summer. 

The life insurer distributed free vouchers across the country through Pru Life UK’s 42,000-strong agency force and the support of local government units, non-government organizations (NGOs) and hospitals – NGO Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) for Bantayan Island, Cebu and Parañaque City; The CSR arm of FirstGen Corp. for its host communities in Batangas City; St. Scholastica’s Formation House in Tagaytay City; Philippine Medical Association-Calamba for Dr. Jose P. Rizal District Hospital in Calamba, Laguna; Rotary Club of Mandaluyong-Biyaya for the Grace to Be Born Shelter in Pasig City; Microfinance NGO Tulay sa Pag-unlad Inc. (TSPI) in Makati; Office of Palawan Board Member Anton Alvarez and the Mayor’s Office of Taytay for Taytay, Palawan, Rotary Club of Mandaluyong and Mandaluyong City government for the Mandaluyong City Medical Center, Manila City government for Tondo, Manila, and Barangay Council of Tandang Sora for Barangay Tandang Sora in Quezon City.

A combined financial literacy and climate & health session was also conducted for the families in Palawan, the only province in the Philippines with known malaria cases. 

PRUBabies is one of the many ways we make life insurance more accessible to more Filipino families, including babies who deserve to be protected from birthWe are grateful to our like-minded partners for their support in reaching out to unserved and underserved communities in far-flung areas. With PRUBabies, we live up to our mission to be the most trusted partners for every life and protectors for every future of Filipino families,” shares Allan Tumbaga, Pru Life UK’s Chief Customer and Marketing Officer. The free coverage vouchers have been distributed in 2023. Filipinos who want to be continuously financially protected with PRUMedCare – Select Infectious Diseases can get it via Pulse app.

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