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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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Clorox PH partners with PAL to help enhance travelers’ health, safety

Clorox Philippines worked with PAL to enhance the safety of their customers by providing Clorox products in PAL’s airport hubs and ticket offices across the Philippines.

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As health and safety became a top concern amid the pandemic, especially for travelers, Clorox Philippines, one of the country’s leading providers of cleaning and disinfecting products, collaborated with the flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL). 

Clorox Philippines worked with PAL to enhance the safety of their customers by providing Clorox products in PAL’s airport hubs and ticket offices across the Philippines. PAL received Clorox Expert Disinfectant Sprays, Clorox Expert Disinfecting Wipes canisters, Clorox Clean-Up All-Purpose Cleaner, and Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaners to disinfect its vital facilities and amenities. 

“The health and safety of our passengers are our top priorities. We are pleased to have partnered with Clorox Philippines, which shares our values in upholding the safety and welfare of consumers. As more people go back to flying, our partnership is significant and timely,” said Ria Carrion-Domingo, Vice President for Marketing at PAL. 

Clorox Expert Disinfecting Wipes were also given to PAL’s arriving international and domestic passengers and customers of ticket offices nationwide from December 31, 2021, to March 2022, catering to almost 22,000 travelers. 

“We are always committed to making the lives of every Filipino better each day with our Clorox products amid these uncertain times. And with our collaboration with PAL, we are happy that we can assist in making their travelers safe,” said Monique Gonzales, Marketing Manager for Southeast Asia at Clorox International. 

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Medical Depot expands from north to south of the country

With at least 12 more new stores set to open until end of 2022, Medical Depot recently signs a partnership with Union Bank to strengthen its financial capacity in fulfilling its goals of having 200 total number of stores by 2025.

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With the desire to continue serving more and more Filipinos with quality medical products, Medical Depot grew its total number of strategic branches from 24 stores in 2021 to 38 stores year to date and expanded its geographic footprint to cover 34 cities within Luzon. The company is also expected to establish its presence in the Southern part of the country towards the end of the year. 

Medical Depot started its humble beginnings in 1991 with just 1 branch located in Bambang, Manila and with only three sales personnel. It grew steadily after a few years. Having the vision to further reach more Filipinos, an extensive expansion plan was launched in the first quarter of last year. Since then, the company has been growing at a 50% rate in new branches and has positioned it to be able to serve more localities and increasing the number of total families that can be serviced from hospitals to patients. 

“It has always been our mission to bring quality medical products to our countrymen and to ensure that we are able to service the increasing medical needs of Filipino families in various communities. Our expansion plan that we rolled out is a testament to this mission and we’re glad that we’re on track to open our 40th store by this June,” states Rudy Medina, Chairman of Medical Depot. 

With at least 12 more new stores set to open until end of 2022, Medical Depot recently signs a partnership with Union Bank to strengthen its financial capacity in fulfilling its goals of having 200 total number of stores by 2025. This further fuels the growth trajectory of the company and will support its plan to open its first ever operating and production hub in Mindanao with that will bring its thousands of quality medical products to the southern parts of the country.

In addition to the expanded locations, Medical Depot is also investing in research and development to increase its available items from 5,000 to 10,000 different products and supplies that will cater to various medical demands.

“Medical Depot’s legacy is really about helping the country by addressing the medical needs of our fellowmen with reasonably priced, top-quality medical products. Our efforts to reach more Filipinos by opening new strategic branches across the country in the last 6 months and working to open our hub in the Mindanao region speaks for this and this is truly a milestone for the company,” shares Baby Medina, Vice Chairman of Medical Depot.

The road to success for Medical Depot may not have been a smooth ride but with its constant commitment and care for the medical needs of the Filipinos, the company is on track to continue to succeed by serving the communities through quality medical supplies.

To learn more about Medical Depot and, visit https://medicaldepot.com.ph/ or their Facebook page for updates.

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How to get the best wedding photos ever

Finding the ‘right’ photographer for your wedding is a bit like dating; you can’t make a decision only after checking someone out online. A photographer’s portfolio might be really polished, but you can’t get a real sense of their personality or emotional intelligence. It’s wise to meet with a few photographers or videographers, either in person or via zoom, before you make a final decision.

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Photo by Joel Overbeck from Unsplash.com

According to The New York Times, 2022 will be the biggest year for the wedding industry since 1984. After two years of delays and cancellations, everyone is going to the proverbial chapel to tie the knot. One of the most important elements for many couples are the photos and videos, preserving this special moment forever.

“In the end, having tangible memories you’ll cherish for years to come is a better investment than party favors or fancy table linen,” said Rachel LaCour Niesen, Head of Market Intelligence

A graduate from the Missouri School of Journalism, LaCour Niesen forged a career as a professional wedding photographer and photojournalist where she developed the first CRM for pro photographers. While still continuing her passion in professional photography, LaCour Niesen also serves as Head of Market Intelligence at ShootProof, a platform used by 300,000 photographers to share, deliver, print, & sell their photos. Just in the last year, Shootproof managed wedding galleries received 2.8 million visits per month – and that number is anticipated to grow in 2022. 

Her advice when shopping for a wedding photographer? “Finding the ‘right’ photographer for your wedding is a bit like dating; you can’t make a decision only after checking someone out online. A photographer’s portfolio might be really polished, but you can’t get a real sense of their personality or emotional intelligence. It’s wise to meet with a few photographers or videographers, either in person or via zoom, before you make a final decision.”

For one of the most important days in someone’s life, Rachel has a few “dos” before you say “I Do”

  • Ask friends and family for recommendations. “Word-of-mouth referrals are a great way to curate a list of prospective photographers and videographers.” says Rachel. “After all, your friends and family know you better than anyone else.”
  • Spend time viewing their online portfolios. According to Rachel, “a lot of people can take a few great photos or videos. To tell a more complete “story” of a wedding celebration requires more skill, patience, and thoroughness.”
  • Look closely to see if the photographers and videographers you are interested in have shot weddings in many types of lighting conditions. “It’s pretty easy to capture stunning photos outdoors during “golden hour,” around sunset,” Rachel remarked. “But it’s much, much harder to capture stunning photos in a dimly-lit event space like a hotel ballroom or dance club.”
  • Ask whether photo products are included in their booking fee and/or package price. “To me, every couple should end up having a wedding album or book–a tangible one, not just an online slideshow,” Rachel said. “I still have copies of my grandparent’s wedding photos hanging in my home. They inspire me and bring back so many memories of our family stories. Plus my son is now curious to hear about his great grandparents too and I can point right to those photos and use them to spark conversation.”

Wedding photography does not just document the union itself, but all the family members and friends who came together to celebrate. “Sometimes, the most cherished photo is not that ‘kiss the bride’ moment but that last family image with a beloved grandparent. Weddings are those precious occasions where people rally together in a grand act of joy.”

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