Showing posts with label Mental health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mental health. Show all posts

Hinduism On Service, Stewardship, And Healing

     







    Modern Hinduism's Care, Healing, And Well-being.


    Due to socio-political and other religious influences, Hinduism and Hindu societies have seen different changes and advancements. 

    Not only have believers followed the goals of Hindu samskaras, purushartha, and panchamahayajnas throughout history, but many of the teachings and religious rituals have been reinterpreted and altered to meet the needs of changing times. 

    In 'renascent Hinduism,' there is a renewal of caring, healing, and well-being. 

    Despite all of the ideas of care and well-being, a significant portion of India's population lives in horrible circumstances. 

    The caste system establishes a hierarchical society that retains benefits for the higher varna castes while denying the rights of India's poor Dalits, indigenous peoples, and Adivasis


    Hinduism has been reduced to a ceremonial and otherworldly spiritual entity throughout its history, according to the Brahminic system. 


    The vitality of Hinduism was renewed, leading to the formation of a renascent Hinduism, thanks to the effect of English education, the advent of modern science, orientalist intellectuals, and Christian missionary operations (Sarma 2000: 60-63). 



    Hindu believers were encouraged to transfer their attention from the otherworldly to life on Earth as a result of these nineteenth- and twentieth-century events. 


    For example, for millennia, the dominant traditional Vedanta philosophy concentrated primarily on an individual's connection with God/Ultimate Reality, with a misplaced emphasis on devotion to God alone. 

    However, the Renaissance ushered in flourishing Neo-Vedanta and Guru movements that aid mankind in realizing the inherent divinity in each individual, emphasizing the concept of 'service to humanity as service to god.' 

    Renascent Hinduism (Sarma 1966) set the ground for a slew of neo-Hindu groups and Guru movements to spring up over the globe. 


    Traditional, ethnic Hinduism from the subcontinent gradually become a worldwide religion, attracting followers from all over the globe. 

    They participate in charitable activities to provide care, healing, and well-being to people, particularly the most vulnerable members of Indian society. 


    • The Sri Ramakrishna Mission, established by Swami Vivekananda, is one of these neo-Hindu groups (Sarma 2000: 143-145 ; 155-156). 

    Sri Sathya Sai Baba formed the Sri Sathya Sai International Organization (Sri Sa thy a 2021 ). 

    Brahma Kumaris, a spiritual group formed by Prajapita Brahma Baba and headed by women. 

    Mata Amritanandamayi's other educational and humanitarian institutes 


    These are only a few of the numerous neo-Hindu groups that are now serving mankind and cutting across all gender, racial, and national lines. 

    These renascent Hindu organizations' educational institutions, well-equipped hospitals, relief works during natural catastrophes, scholarship and feeding programs, and several other charitable activities are witnesses to the promotion and humanization of caring, healing, and well-being. 




    Gods and goddesses as healers and well-being sources. 



    Hinduism is recognized for its many gods and goddesses who accompany humans. 


    Classical Hinduism recognizes Brahman as the 'Supreme Reality,' as well as Trimurthi (the 'Hindu Triad' of Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the sustainer, and Maheshvara or Siva, the destroyer), and many sectarian deities Vishnu, Siva, and Sakti. 

    When individuals in popular Hinduism are in need, they appeal to their 'favorite deities' (ishta Devata), also known as the 'family god' (Kula Devata). 

    Mahalakshmi, also known as Lakshmi, is the goddess of riches and prosperity, Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom, and Ganesh, the deity of fresh beginnings and the ability to remove barriers. 

    Despite contemporary education and well-established medical facilities throughout this age of societal development, the Hindu mentality is still inclined to seeking heavenly favors during sickness and other afflictions. 



    Lord Siva is known in Hinduism as Vaidyanath (all-healer) and Mrutyunjaya, among all Vedic and non-Vedic deities (conqueror of death). 


    In popular Hinduism, one of the mother goddesses, Mariamman, is worshipped by South Indians for general healing. 

    Shitalamata (literally,'mother who cools') is revered in northern India as a goddess with curative powers, particularly in the cases of fever, chickenpox, smallpox, measles, ulcers, and cholera. 

    She is said to be carrying a pitcher filled with medical water to treat illnesses. 

    Many such deities who heal ailments are commonly sought by peasants in various regions of India in case of any affliction, even before seeking medical care. 

    Because many Hindus still believe in magic, the idea of an evil eye, curses, or even destiny (karma), this is a widely accepted practice. 

    As a result, rather of seeking therapeutic care, they turn to pujas, mantras, and other forms of divine intervention (Sharma 2002: 3). 


     



    Ayurveda (science of life) is a Hindu discipline of medicine that promotes a holistic approach to healing and human well-being. 

     

    "Let me witness a hundred autumns; let me live a hundred autumns," says the Atharva Veda's aphorism on life and health (Griffith ed. 1899: 292). 


    The Indian healing tradition dates back to the Atharva Veda and flourished throughout the Buddhist period. 

    It reached its pinnacle during the Caraka era, with a focus on Ayurveda



    In Hinduism, there are five components to the healing tradition: the patient, the physician, holy chant, ritual or process, and medication therapy. 


    During the Buddhist period, however, holy chant's importance waned and eventually faded away over decades of medical treatment (Valiathan 2015: 109). 

    Atharvaveda is primarily concerned with healing substances and spells, as well as enhancing one's own well-being while inflicting bad on one's adversaries (Dasgupta 1975: 280-281 ). 

    Atharvaveda gave rise to Ayurveda, which means "knowledge of life" in Sanskrit. 

    The connection between Atharvaveda and Ayurveda is primarily due to the fact that they both deal with illness healing. 

    With its religious importance, Atharvaveda is renowned for healing ailments caused by sins and trespasses by penance (prayaschitta), while Ayurveda treats diseases caused by the eating of unwholesome food via medication. 


    Medicine (bhesaja) is considered penance by charaka1 (which utilizes the term Ayurveda in the context of 'science of life') (Dasgupta 1975: 273-277). 



    In today's culture, however, Ayurveda is acknowledged as a distinct area of life science that deals with the body, mind, and overall well-being. 

    Ayurveda is formed from two Sanskrit words: ayus (meaning life) and veda (meaning knowledge) (meaning knowledge or science). 

    Ayus, which refers to the whole of existence in all of its forms, is made up of happiness (sukha), sorrow (duhkha), good (hita), and evil (hita) (ahita). 


    A life of happiness (Sukhmayuh) is defined as being devoid of bodily and mental ailments and endowed with vigor, power, energy, and vitality, as well as pleasure and success (Roy 1986: 152-153). 


    Ayurveda recommends daily and seasonal routines (dinacharya and ritucharya), a nutritious diet, exercise, and excellent behavior to sustain well-being and health (Tiwari and Pandey 2013: 288-292). 




    It focuses on efforts to reestablish the body's connection to the rest of the universe. 

    It accounts for discord in the balance of the body's essential humors, such as air or wind (vata), bile (pitta), and phlegm (kapha). 

    Discord may cause sickness, while restoring it can lead to better health and physical well-being. 

    Ayurveda includes therapeutic procedures such as surgery, the use of medicinal herbs, and meditation (Ketchell et al. 2013 ). 

    "The elimination of the cause of death, bestowing of long life, purifying thoughts and acts, removal of the cause of illnesses, and insuring the well-being of body and spirit" is considered to be the goal of giving medicine (Gautamananda 2019: 2). 







    Yoga is the path to mental health. 



    Yoga simply means 'yoking' or 'joining' in Sanskrit. 


    It refers to the methods or strategies used to change one's awareness and achieve moksha (freedom) from samsara (rebirth). 

    Although the mind is said to be constantly shifting, yoga may help you concentrate and experience a higher level of awareness (Bowker ed. 1997: 1058). 



    Self-control (yama), observance (niyama), posture (asana), regulation of breath (pranayama), restraint (pratyahara), steadying of mind (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and profound meditation (dhyana) are the eight phases of yoga (ashtangayoga) suggested by Patanjali's Yoga Sutra (Samadhi). 


    All of these phases are linked to physical or mental health, either directly or indirectly. 

    Yoga is often understood to signify 'discipline.' The word yoga refers to two things: a school of philosophy that originated in ancient India and a mental and physical exercise method created by this school. 

    Many individuals use yoga as a type of exercise to enhance their health and find inner peace (World Book Encyclopedia 1981: 470-471). 



    Yoga is, after all, a spiritual, mental, and physical practice. 


    Yogas of many varieties are also done in order to live a harmonious existence and gain mental and spiritual bliss (Ketch ell et al. 2013). 

    Yoga is an important aspect of healing, spirituality, and meditation, therefore it is seen as a component of human well-being. 


    Yoga may help you discipline and manage your thoughts, which is a crucial source of focus. 


    Yoga is said to heal the mind, even if it does not cure the physical condition. 

    Hatha yoga, which focuses on breathing and meditation to alleviate stress; raja yoga, which focuses on meditation and self-realization to lead to the growth of consciousness; and tantra yoga, which liberates awareness from all restrictions. 

    All of these types of yoga are connected to mental healing and human well-being in general. 



     

    Geriatric care: Hindu family care and a gero-transcendent outlook on life 


    In general, Hindu family members care for the elderly and dependents at home. 


    Within a family, caregiving for the elderly is traditionally passed down. 

    Nonetheless, owing to fast demographic and epidemiologic transformations in modern India, some people feel obligated and burdened to provide care for the elderly (Capistrant et al. 2015). 

    A gerontological study on Pitamaha Sadans of Chimmaya Mission indicates to "religiosity and spirituality as protective and health boosting factors for older individuals," in addition to family care (Pandya 2016: 15). 



    In this light, Asramadharma might be considered one of the most important aspects of elderly care. 


    Individuals from the higher caste pass through four phases of life, according to the ashrama scheme: student stage of training (Brahmacharya), householder stage (Gruhastha), hermit or forest dweller stage of retreat (Vanaprastha), and ascetic stage of renunciation (Sannyasa). 



    These four phases of life are all geared toward achieving one's ultimate objective, which is moksha or emancipation. 


    "The Ashram system is intended as an instrument of life, as the best means towards the fulfillment of what was believed to be the fullest and most effective administration of individual, social, and economic orders as a whole," write S.C. Tiwari and Nisha M. Pandey (2013). 

    Vanaprastha and sannyasa are intimately tied to the old age period in this ashrama plan. 

    Both are phases of renunciation with a non-attachment mindset. 



    Vanaprasthasrama is said to have originated in opposition to Buddha and Mahavira's teachings, which advocated full renunciation and celibacy


    This extreme kind of non-attachment jeopardized the foundations of family life. 

    As a result, the as ram a scheme was created to help stabilize the family's very existence, which had been jeopardized by the influence of Buddhism and Jainism, which placed a strong emphasis on 'freedom in the forest' (Premsagar 1994: 16). 

    It is important to note that the institution of sannyasa is thought to go against the core ideals of the Hindu way of life. 


    Sannyasa was never authorized by early Hindu sages, and they preferred only the first two ashrama schemes. 

    However, subsequent Hindu sages embraced the posture of "homelessness" or "ascetic detachment" as the last stage of existence due to the influence of Jainism and Buddhism (Datta 2001 : 5 83). 




    The Ashrama Scheme is a gero-transcendence perspective on life. 


    The core of gem-transcendence is said to be implied in the vanaprastha sannyasa ashrama system (Krishnan 2020b). 


    "Lars Tomstam's idea of gero-transcendence combines basic components with the final two stages of the Hindu model of the life duration," writes Samta P. Pandya (2016: 2). 

    In the latter two phases of life, as specified by the asrama plan, all three aspects of self, social, and cosmic are visible in some form. 

    While the concept of gruhastha denotes a materialistic outlook on life, the concept of vanaprastha or sannyasa denotes a more cosmic and transcendent outlook on existence, as expressed by the concept of gem-transcendence. 



    The vanaprastha-sannyasa phases, as defined by the ashrama plan, provide the person in gem-transcendence with the isolation he or she craves. 



    The solitude of the forest in vanaprasthasrama assists a person in escaping the flutter of daily existence, allowing sufficient possibilities to begin contemplating on life's greater ideals. 

    This stage is more significant in theory since it is closer to the last stage (death and dying) and moksha (liberation). 

    The vanaprastha stage emphasizes that one's status cannot be reduced to the society's secular needs, which place a premium on production and money (Radhakrishnan 2009: 63). 



    The goal of sannyasa is to achieve spiritual independence, which is in direct contrast to the requirements of a wealthy society. 


    "This stage suggests that human existence has a deeper value, that it is not finished in just being born, growing up, marrying, making a living, forming a family, sustaining it, and dying away," writes Arulsamy (2000: 1). 

    Finding one's own self is more important than gaining significance. 

    In this respect, Radhakrishnan argues that, although the ultimate goal of a sannyasin is to achieve spiritual liberation, being oneself entails not only a release from worldly attachments but also a new connection to everyday life. 

    On the one hand, a person is free of the desire for wealth or glory, but on the other hand, he or she is neither thrilled nor disappointed by success or failure (Radhakrishnan 2009: 64). 



    With its focus on the transcendent sphere of existence, Hinduism, according to Samta P. Pandya, offers a rich spiritual tradition. 


    It has the benefit of promoting the concept of gero-transcendence (Pandya 2016: 2). 

    Despite physical decline, a human being becomes more spiritual as a result of the asrama approach (Tiwari and Pandey 20 13). 

    Old age, according to Shrinivas Tilak, is not a period of total disengagement, but rather a period of differentiation, in which one must practice whatever enables one to reach a higher level of spiritual growth. 

    Tilak (1989) defines liberation as "leading a meaningful life and understanding the art of gently departing the earth at the end" (Tilak 1989). 

    (Rajan 2001: 9) 23 This is why vanaprastha-sannyasa ahsrama advises a stage dedicated to honoring the elderly (the Sruti-Smrti tradition in India). 

     



    Considering the Ashrama scheme's relevance in today's world.


     



    The spirit of accommodation or flexibility is one of the primary qualities of Hindu religious thought. 


    Modernism and its adherents in India's contemporary cosmopolitan middle class are said to participate in new social forms related to aging. 

    Living at an old-age home, for example, is seen as a kind of vanaprasthasrama for the elderly. 

    According to Sarah Lamb, many in India see old age home living as analogous to the 'forest-dwelling' recommended by the vanaprastha life phase (the severance of familial and worldly connections in order to achieve spiritual awareness) (Lamb 2007:57). 

    Sarah Lamb states that the majority of houses still follow the notion of'spiritual forest living' and seva or service in their policy, based on an ethnographic study project done in 29 homes of elderly individuals in Kolkata. 



    "To give' a life away from the noise of family, spent in solidarity and religious activities,' a location to pursue vanaprastha ashrama (the 'forest living' phase)," said the purpose of one of the institutions for the aged (Lamb 2007: 57). 



    As the world changes, many such houses provide a new sense of self and individuality, particularly for women, that is distinct from the intergenerational family, which maintains reliance and gendered relationships. 

    These houses often foster autonomous and egalitarian ways of life for the elderly, overcoming the restrictions of conventional joint family care (ibid.). 

    Another sociological research, conducted by Samta P. Pandya, indicates that "aging was a condition of mind, something that could be adjusted with... and death was a process that lead to God near" for the majority of inmates of Pitamaha Sadans, the Chinmaya Mission's old age home (Pandya 2016: 1). 



    In this manner, the Hindu mind accepts and adapts the Ashrama system of life to the developing and changing existence in modern society. 


    Many Hindu groups are now working to assist the elderly in overcoming the challenges of aging, including both medical and psycho-moral issues. 

    Although the intergenerational joint family remains the most common location for old people to live and be cared for in India, public and private institutions, as well as numerous individuals, are increasingly taking on the task of caring for the elderly (Lamb 2005: 80). 

    Caring for the elderly is seen as "an essential component of a reciprocal intergenerational cycle and a type of moral religious obligation or dharma" (Lamb 2019: 1). 



    However, in modern India, there has been a sharp increase in the number of 'non-traditional, joint family oriented ageing' facilities that provide care for the elderly. 


    "Many old-age homes market themselves as contemporary places for delivering seva (respectful care) and a forest-dwelling lifestyle to today's senior people," Sarah Lamb notes (Lamb 2019: 2). 

    If a spirituality of ageing, as represented by the ashrama plan and the concept of gem-transcendence, is considered while dealing with difficulties concerning the elderly, it is clear that religion continues to have an influence on the quality of care provided to the elderly. (Kimble et al. eds. 1995: 5)  

    Because India is recognized for its religious and spiritual diversity, it is difficult to establish and encourage a beautiful aging process. 


    In this sense, the modern interpretation of the vanaprastha-sannyasa plan of existence via the lens of gem-transcendence is crucial. 

    "A change from a materialistic and pragmatic worldview to a more cosmic and transcendent one" is how it's characterized (Braam et al. 2006: 121). 



    Final Thoughts 


    Hinduism, by its very nature as a way of life with its teachings and practices, has a long history of concern for the care, healing, and well-being of all living beings. 




    Individual care, beginning before birth and going beyond death, is ingrained in Hindu Samskaras practice. 


    Purushartha, with its focus on dharma and the challenge of fulfilling artha and kama, is inherent in societal well-being. 


    Similarly, paii9amahiiyajnas show concern and well-being for all creatures on the planet, not just humans. 

    Ayurveda reflects Hinduism's emphasis on healing, particularly in its idea of holistic health as embodied in the practice of yoga. 


    Despite the fact that the family is the traditional support structure for providing care and well-being for the elderly, India is undergoing changes. 


    Nonetheless, the traditional reliance on beloved and particular deities for care during sickness and crises demonstrates how Hinduism continues to have a strong hold on its adherents. 

    Hinduism has developed to accommodate the changing world, with all its problems, thanks to a spirit of accommodation and adaptation. 


    The goal of renaissance Hinduism, as well as other neo-Hindu groups and organizations, is to "serve mankind as service to god." Even in times of modernization, this concentration demonstrates its effectiveness. 


    The care provided to the elderly in nursing homes is highly regarded. 

    These locations are seen as useful areas for gracefully aging. 

    In this regard, the concept of gero-transcendence, which is implied in today's ashrama plan, plays a positive and essential role in Indian society. 


    As a result, despite new pressures arising from the present time of modernity and globalization, one can infer and emphatically say that care, healing, and well-being are not a thing of the past but still exist in the Hindu tradition.




    Kiran Atma





    References And Further Reading.



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    Antoine, R. 1996b. "Rituals and Worship". In Religious Hinduism, edited by R. DeSrnet and J. Neuner, pp. 200-209. Murnbai: St. Pauls. 

    Antoine, R. 1996c. "The Hindu Saril.skaras." In Religious Hinduism, edited by R. DeSrnet and J. Neuner, pp. 210-219. Murnbai: St. Pauls. 

    Arulsamy, S. 2000. Religion for a New Society. Delhi: ISPCK. 

    Bowker, John. (ed.) 1997. The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

    Braam, Arjan W., et al. 2006. "Cosmic Transcendence and Framework of Meaning in Life: Patterns Among Older Adults in The Netherlands." The Journals of Gerontology- Series B 61 (3),pp. 121-128. DOl: 10.1093/geronb/61.3.Sl21. 

    Capistrant, B.D., et al. 2015. "Culture and Caregiving for Older Adults in India: A Qualitative Study," The Gerontologist 5(2), p.ll2. DOl: 10.1093/geront/gnv504.06. 

    Chaudhuri, Nirad C. 2012. Hinduism: A Religion to Live By [1st edition 1979]. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. 

    Dandekar, R.N. 1996. ''The Role of Man in Hinduism." In The Religion of the Hindus, edited by Kenneth M organ [first published 19 53], pp. 11 7-153. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas. 

    Dasgupta, Surendranath. 1975. A History of Indian Philosophy, Vol. II [Cambridge Edition 1922], Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas. 

    Datta, Sukurnar. 2001. "Monasticisrn in India." In The Cultural Heritage of India, Vol. II, pp.582-593. Calcutta: The Rarnakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. 

    Devi, K.Urna. 2000. Women's Equality in India: A Myth or Reality? New Delhi: Discovering Publishing House. 

    Gautamananda, Swami. 2019. "Holistic Health." In Healthy Mind, Healthy Body: New Thoughts on Health [first published 1997] Chennai: Sri Ramakrishna Math, pp. 1-8. 

    Gengnagel, Jorg and Ute Hiisken (eds.) 2005. Words and Deeds: Hindu and Buddhist Rituals in 

    SouthAsia. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. 

    Griffith R. T. ( ed.) 1899. The Texts of the White Y ajurveda. https://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/wyv/index.htrn (accessed 13 Sept 2020). 

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    Ketchell, A., L. Pyles, and E. Canda. 2013. World Religious Views of Health and Healing. http://spiritualdiversity.ku.edu/sites/spiritualitydiversity.drupal.ku.edulfiles/docs/Health/World%20Religious%20Views%20of"/o20Health%20and%20Healing.pdf (accessed 10 Nov 2020). 

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    Krishnan, Giri. 2020b. "Viinaprastha-Sannyiisa Schemes of Life as Gerotranscendence: An Appraisal of a Hindu Perspective of Ageing." In Ageing: Perspectival Explorations Towards Theo-Gerontology, edited by Songram Basurnatary, pp. 125-139. Chennai: Gurukul Publication. 

    Lamb, Sarah. 2005. "Cultural and Moral Values Surrounding Care and (In)Dependence in Late Life: Reflections from India in an Era of Global Modernity." Care Management Journals 6(2), pp. 80-89. 

    Lamb, Sarah. 2007. "Lives Outside the Family: Gender and the Rise of Elderly Residences in India." International Journal of Sociology of the Family 33(1), pp. 43-61. 

    Lamb, Sarah. 2019. "Hinduism Teachings and Aging." In Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging, edited by D. Gu and M. Dupre. DO I: 1 0.1007/978-3-319-69892-2~144-1. 

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    Does Mindfulness Really Work? A Scientific Enquiry.

     


    The process of paying nonjudgmental attention to the current moment has been termed as mindfulness.

    The awareness of breathing is commonly employed as an attentional anchor to manage ruminative thought in the early stages of mindfulness training; however mindfulness involves much more than just noticing the breath.


    It is based on Buddhist practice and has been the subject of empirical research, with over scientific publications on mindfulness released in the last decade. The evidence for its use in the treatment of depression and anxiety is the strongest.

    The impact sizes of mindfulness in these two illnesses have often been reported in the moderate-strong to strong range in meta-analyses. However, because some of the studies included in these meta-analyses failed to account for the placebo effect, it's not unexpected that meta-analyses with stricter inclusion criteria yield lower results.

    A recent meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and other mindfulness-based interventions—each with an active control—found small to moderate effect sizes in the treatment of depression or anxiety after eight weeks of mindfulness training, with a reduction in effect size after three to six months.


    Although the findings are less impressive, they are equivalent to those that would be expected from antidepressant therapy in a primary care population without the side effects.

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the American Psychiatric Association both recommend mindfulness-based cognitive treatment for individuals with recurrent depression, based on these findings.

    Other psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia spectrum disorders, eating disorders, chemical and non-chemical addiction disorders, and sleep disorders, may benefit from mindfulness-based therapies, according to some data.

    Despite the fact that mindfulness has recently been added to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists' practice guidelines as a non-first-line treatment for adults with binge eating disorder, there is arguably insufficient evidence from well-designed randomized trials to support its use for conditions other than depression and anxiety.


    Mindfulness may potentially have a role in the treatment of somatic illnesses such as psoriasis, cancer, HIV infection, irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, hypertension, lung disease, diabetes mellitus, and chronic pain, according to growing evidence.

    Randomized trials show that mindfulness-based therapies, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction and cognitive therapy, are minimally to moderately effective in the treatment of chronic pain, with potential applications in the treatment of pain-related diseases like fibromyalgia.

    However, it's unclear if mindfulness improves patients' capacity to manage with pain or lessens the frequency and severity of pain.

    There is inadequate high-quality data to support mindfulness for treating somatic diseases, except for chronic pain and particular pain syndromes.



    Questions that remain unanswered


    As previously stated, different methodological issues restrict the overall quality of the data on mindfulness's efficacy.

    A type of "popularity impact" may impact results in particular. Because mindfulness is becoming more popular, participants' perceptions of getting a "fashionable" or "proven" psychotherapy practice may affect outcomes.

    Because it's very hard to blind patients from the knowledge that they're employing mindfulness techniques, this is a challenging confounding variable to control for.

    We also need more clarity on whether positive outcomes last for years rather than months, whether mindfulness interventions have any negative side effects, and the validity of the traditional view among contemplative traditions that long-term improvements in health and wellbeing require daily mindfulness practice over many years, rather than just attending a retreat.


    In addition, data is needed to identify whether mindfulness in general or specific interventional procedures are more useful for a particular condition.

    Numerous interventions have been developed, with significant variation in factors such as total participant-facilitator contact hours, including whether one-on-one contact is provided, quantity and duration of guided mindfulness exercises, use of non-mindfulness psychotherapeutic techniques such as psychoeducation or group discussion, inclusion of a full day silent retreat, and emphasis on self-practitioner interaction.

    Mindfulness is defined and operationalized differently in different interventions. Recent research, for example, has concentrated on second-generation mindfulness therapies like the eight-week Meditation Awareness Training, which are founded on the notion that mindfulness is a psycho-spiritual rather than just psychological skill.

    It's challenging to extrapolate findings across the whole spectrum of treatments due to significant differences in design and pedagogic approach.


    Mindfulness appears to be beneficial in improving perceptual distance from stressful psychological and physical stimuli and in causing functional neuro-plastic changes in the brain, according to emerging evidence.

    However, mindfulness's "fashionable" reputation among the public and the scientific community may have obscured the need to investigate crucial methodological and practical difficulties related to its efficacy.


    You may also want to read more about Mindfulness Meditation and Healing here.



    Social Cost of COVID-19



    COVID-19 has had a major impact on everyday life around the world, in addition to its broad economic consequences. In certain ways, government policies such as social distancing laws, stay-at-home mandates, company lockdowns, and curfews have harmed neighborhood interactions by greatly restricting chances for physical face-to-face contact.

    These interventions have had a huge impact on family life, both in terms of growing proximity for those required to share confined spaces during lockdowns and in terms of holding families apart to avoid infection risk.



    For example, during the pandemic, one grandmother in California described her experiences with her granddaughter as follows: [My husband and I] were both looking at her, and she was looking at us and embracing a dolly. And they're looking through the window. It was her special day.

    And she approached the bottle, put her hand up [to ours], and kissed it, and I kissed it as well. We kissed through the bottle, and it was absolutely heartbreaking... ‘I wish I could hug you, I miss you, and I'm going to give you kisses,' I said. We'd go out into the yard and keep a safe distance. We did a little bit of everything. We only used FaceTime at first.

    Then we moved in between the bars, where we could at least see her.

    Similarly, a grandmother we spoke with in Italy said, "The pandemic has swept away the spontaneity from natural expressions of affection." During the lockout, there is anxiety, but there is also an urge to embrace grandchildren, girls, and friends. Physical communication has been lost as a result of the pandemic, and people have had to replace it with video calls or tweets, both with family and friends, in an effort to overcome their anxiety.

    Many people's relationships with families and friends have been strained as a result of the pandemic. However, increased consistency in time plans, alternative job conditions, and less options for other social events have brought some individuals closer together. Communication systems have also helped to maintain relationships with relatives and friends after the pandemic. Furthermore, social media has played an important role in eliminating alienation for both older and younger people, despite the fact that these platforms have often helped spread rumors and disinformation.


    The modern social distancing and travel constraints have often forced romantic relationships and dating to change. For example, some dating apps have changed their usage rules and added new video technology options so that users can continue to engage with others while mitigating risks and adhering to social distancing guidelines. COVID-19 has had an effect on romantic love in general, and has led to increased tension among romantic partners in certain situations, compounding factors that may lead to increased infidelity. During the Stage lockdown, major social gatherings such as weddings had to be cancelled in cities like metropolitan Melbourne, Australia.


    Human-nonhuman animal relationships, as well as the social practises that accompany them, have been influenced. For example, statistics indicate that pet owning and adoption has increased significantly, owing to the fact that pets can help people cope with depression and isolation, as well as promote healthy and more active lifestyles. There has also been debate over the pandemic's consequences for specific species. During discussions over future animal welfare problems, the dog racing industry in Victoria, Australia, was exempted from tight Stage lockout controls.

    As a result of the pandemic, many households became unable to pay their rent or mortgage fees, putting them at risk of foreclosure and homelessness. This has occasionally resulted in extreme and violent reactions. In other ways, it has exacerbated pre-existing social problems such as heightened domestic violence and other types of harassment. Domestic and family abuse has increased in Brazil, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Cyprus, according to early estimates. Domestic abuse increased within the first two weeks of the stay-at-home order, according to a survey conducted in Dallas, Texas. The pandemic's long-term isolation, tension, and confusion can intensify alcohol and drug consumption. Furthermore, these circumstances will raise the risk of relapse in recovered alcoholics and drug addicts. Online gaming has also grown in popularity.


    Due to the need to re-imagine spaces and people's interactions within them in ways that conform with social distancing standards, COVID-19 has also modified social practices in different daily environments. In-person teaching has clear practical problems, such as how to handle students on school campuses. Closures and social distancing practices have been suggested as options. Educational institutions are increasingly relying on online instruction, posing new obstacles.

    For example, we met with an Italian schoolteacher who clarified that the move to distance learning had some benefits but also had several drawbacks. For younger students or students with disabilities, the current teaching style was not always appropriate. Furthermore, online education continued to exacerbate the ‘digital gap' between families with varying degrees of access to appropriate home rooms, laptops, and high-speed Internet connectivity. When our school reopened... the classroom was reorganized with single-seat seats... pupils still had to wear surgical masks and could only remove them in ‘static' times, seated at their desks, he said. They were unable to move or transfer materials among themselves... The way teachers interacted has also changed dramatically. The faculty lounge, which could no longer be used due to COVID-19, was where teachers used to congregate. Teachers started to meet in online spaces like Google Meet, particularly to exchange teaching practices, as opportunities for meetings and encounters with colleagues were visibly diminished. However, the opportunity to communicate was severely hampered.


    Universities have also had to adapt their courses and curricula to accommodate internet distribution. If this is possible, students will have less chances to engage in off-line social networking, which is critical for job advancement. Furthermore, many universities will not be able to withstand the financial impact of the pandemic.

    People's eating and drinking habits have since changed as a result of the pandemic. Restaurants, for example, have had to make a variety of improvements, including redesigning their rooms, accommodating fewer guests in order to adhere to social distancing laws, using smart technologies (e.g., for menus and meal orders), and extending their takeaway and delivery options. Some of them also devised ingenious tactics to maintain social distance between patrons.

    Similarly, government restrictions have forced some bars in many locations to close for extended periods of time. Many that have reopened or stayed open have had to rethink how they represent consumers and handle staff-to-customer experiences. Complex laws governing indoor and outdoor areas, as well as food service in relation to the selling of alcohol, influence our decision to attend these places and our encounters there. Menus, salt and pepper shakers, cutlery, and coasters, among other ‘multi-touch' products, are now kept away from customers. One Irish pub in Spain's Canary Islands used humor to convey some of the actual risks involved with social activities in pubs, posting a sign warning customers not to sing Neil Diamond's hit "Sweet Caroline" at all costs. Employees scribbled lyrics on a chalkboard stating that, under COVID-19, "there would be no: holding hands, reaching out, touching me, touching you."

    Cafes have also been compelled to adapt creatively to the pandemic, with some selling their inventory as groceries and extending their takeaway and delivery services. Furthermore, the pandemic has weakened the position of cafes as "third spaces" between home and work, critical for socializing and networking in many countries. The pandemic could have long-term consequences for coffee culture all over the world.

    Over the pandemic, barbershops and hairdressers have also been at the center of national discussion over lockdown policies, with disagreement about if they are considered "necessary" companies that should be excluded from lockdown constraints. Barbershops have long served as vital meeting spaces for certain ethnic communities, including community building, recreation and entertainment, gossip, and local civic activity, as well as local education programs. They're also beneficial to men's mental health. Similarly, hair salons can act as a "comforting center of self-care and culture" as well as a "vital link between community members and resources such as domestic violence shelters." This is why many consumers objected to government decisions to shut down these companies after the pandemic and, in some circumstances, were successful in overturning them. In one severe situation, an armed paramilitary group assisted in keeping a barbershop open in a small Michigan city.

    COVID-19 has had an indirect impact on people's desire to remain well, in addition to its overt impact. Lockdown and social distancing constraints, for example, have altered how people exercise, with online streaming courses and program being a common way for people to interact and participate in gym events. Gyms also also had to deal with stringent health and safety measures, including the implementation of "hygiene marshals," when they haven't been required to close.

    COVID-19 has had an indirect impact on people's desire to remain well, in addition to its overt impact. For instance, lock-


    Internet video courses and programs have become a common way for people to interact and participate in fitness events, thanks to down and social distancing constraints aimed at reducing its reach. Gyms also also had to deal with stringent health and safety measures, including the implementation of "hygiene marshals," when they haven't been required to close.

    Outdoor exercise has become increasingly common, partly as a result of the dangers involved with exercising in confined spaces. However, research shows that overeating and other poor eating habits have risen, posing additional health risks to individuals and the general public.

    Other aspects of social life, such as sport and tourism, have been impacted by the pandemic. In order to connect, event-based social networks like Meetup have been pushed to migrate to virtual channels.

    According to a new study conducted in Australia, during the pandemic, Meetup activity declined by %. Participants in this study stated that Meetup was one of the key ways by which they were introduced to new, future relationships, and that they were unable to extend their social networks and thereby make new friends due to lockdown steps. COVID-19 also amplified current relationships within Meetup communities, causing close relationships to become stronger and weaker relationships to become weaker. Participants used other social networking services such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram to keep in touch during lockdown where their relationships were solid enough, highlighting the relevance of polymedia use.

    The way people fly for vacations and tourism has changed as well. Customers and business owners at beach resorts, for example, face unparalleled obstacles such as new social distancing laws, as well as shame and public humiliation for those who do not comply.

    The pandemic has had a significant impact on people's desire to visit and enjoy national and local parks, as well as green areas in general.

    Taking public transportation now comes with the added requirement of maintaining social distance on crowded buses and subways. Passengers must also take new steps to prevent touching handles and other areas where the virus may spread. To avoid an inevitable return to a car-driven transportation environment, forward-thinking experts would need to build safer mass transportation infrastructure and new transportation innovations.

    Touchless pedestrian crossings and crowd simulation technologies to promote social distancing are suggested steps to contain the virus's spread among pedestrians. Uber and other ridesharing providers have had to adjust their business models in response to lower consumer demand. For example, they have prioritized food distribution over taxi service in order to retain drivers employed and alleviate food insecurity. Disruptions to their business model, on the other hand, have had significant social consequences for segments of the community that depend on rideshare transportation services.

    COVID-19's wider social implications provide the potential for conflicts to occur between persons and social classes. At the start of the pandemic, social hoarding was especially widespread, with people battling over toilet paper, hand sanitizer, bread, and pasta in stores and supermarkets. Facemask laws have also sparked outbursts of frustration, resulting in the deaths of innocent people and deadly confrontations with law enforcement.

    Furthermore, in online spaces, ageism and intergenerational tensions are on the rise, especially between the millennial and baby boomer generations. Infected patients and others who have recovered from the disease, as well as physicians and health professionals, have all been subjected to social stigma. COVID-19 has also fueled xenophobia and bigotry. Hate speech, hate crimes, and racist policies have been particularly prevalent against citizens of Chinese and East Asian descent, Muslims, Jews, and Romani groups. On a global scale, the pandemic has engendered negative views toward countries with high infection rates. According to one report, there was an increase in incivility aimed at China on South Korean social media.