Category Archives: Family

Meditation holds the potential to help treat children suffering from traumas, difficult diagnoses or other stressors – a behavioral neuroscientist explains


Meditation and mindfulness techiques are becoming increasingly common in school settings. Alexander Egizarov/EyeEm

Hilary A. Marusak, Wayne State University

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

Children actively meditating experience lower activity in parts of the brain involved in rumination, mind-wandering and depression, our team found in the first brain-imaging study of young people under 18 years old. Over-activity in this collection of brain regions, known as the default mode network, is thought to be involved in the generation of negative self-directed thoughts – such as “I am such a failure” – that are prominent in mental disorders like depression.

In our study, we compared a simple form of distraction – counting backward from 10 – with two relatively simple forms of meditation: focused attention to the breath and mindful acceptance. Children in an MRI scanner had to use these techniques while watching distress-inducing video clips, such as a child receiving an injection.

We found that meditation techniques were more effective than distraction at quelling activity in that brain network. This reinforces research from our lab and others showing that meditation techniques and martial arts-based meditation programs are effective for reducing pain and stress in children with cancer or other chronic illnesses – and in their siblings – as well as in schoolchildren during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This study, led by medical student Aneesh Hehr, is important because meditation techniques such as focused attention on the breath or mindful acceptance are popular in school settings and are increasingly used to help children cope with stressful experiences. These might include exposures to trauma, medical treatments or even COVID-19-related stress. https://www.youtube.com/embed/SpjWb9teKSY?wmode=transparent&start=0 Here’s what happened at one elementary school that made meditation part of its curriculum.

Why it matters

Researchers know a lot about what is happening in the brain and body in adults while they meditate, but comparable data for children has been lacking. Understanding what is happening in children’s brains when they meditate is important because the developing brain is wired differently from the adult brain.

These findings are also important because caregivers and health care providers often use distraction methods like iPads or toys to help children cope with pain and distress, such as medical procedures. However, those techniques may largely rely on the prefrontal cortex, which is underdeveloped in youth.

This means that stress and emotion regulation techniques that rely on the prefrontal cortex may work well for adults but are likely to be less accessible to children. Meditation techniques may not be dependent upon the prefrontal cortex and may therefore be more accessible and effective for helping children manage and cope with stress.

What’s next

We still have a great deal to learn about how meditation affects brain development in children. This includes what types of meditation techniques are most effective, the ideal frequency and duration, and how it affects children differently.

Our study focused on a relatively small sample of 12 children with active cancer, as well as survivors who may have experienced significant distress over the diagnosis, treatment and uncertainty about the future. Future studies with larger sample sizes – including children with a wider diversity of diagnoses and exposures to early adversity or trauma – will help researchers like us to better understand how meditation affects the brain and body in children.

Our findings underscore the need to understand precisely how meditation techniques work. Exciting recent studies have begun to examine how participating in mindfulness and meditation-based programs can shape brain functioning in children.

Understanding how these techniques work is also essential for optimizing how they could be applied in health care settings, such as coping with needle-related procedures or for helping children manage the negative effects of stress and trauma.

Hilary A. Marusak, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Random Thoughts 4/20/2022


Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

People wonder why there is so much low self-esteem in the world, if you take a good look at television shows, commercials, social media, movies, and even the news on cable news stations you just may see some of the reasons for low self-esteem, but then there is also how one’s family treats them, their peers and the educational system.

When you are constantly bombarded with images of thin, fit, and muscular actors, advertisements aimed to push miracle vitamins and supplements to fix all your shortcomings, it is very hard to hold on to a good self-image and even harder to build it up. Constantly being told that having a perfect body weight, toned muscles, the right clothes, and accessories makes one beautiful and successful is making it hard for most people to maintain healthy self-esteem.

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Unfortunately, fashion, the newest electronics, and possessions play a big part in teenage self-image, which makes it hard for those who don’t have the money to compete with their peers. Combining that with parents that have to work 2 jobs or inconvenient hours to maintain the quality of life they have only makes it harder on teenagers and kids.

The ones that seem to suffer the worst during school years are those that don’t quite fit the norm, the overweight, the below-average to average looking, and the sensitive passive individuals. Bullying from those who think they are cool, tougher, and better than others does not help the situation at all. The consequences of bullying are usually mild and it seems it’s hard to catch kids bullying or maybe some just overlook it.

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Parents and siblings also play a large part in the development of a child’s self-esteem, they can be either a positive or negative force when it comes to a child’s self-image. Siblings usually are competing for the parent’s attention, love and favor so they tend to be very mean to one another. Parents on the other hand usually are trying to do what’s best for the child but don’t realize what works for one child does not always work for the other. Each child is a unique individual, they have different needs and need help in different ways. Some parents, unfortunately, don’t know how to deal with their children at all so they try to treat them as if they are adults way before the child or teen is emotionally and mentally ready to do so. This usually results in conflict and the child/teen becomes rebellious and has a poor self-image.

If the low self-esteem is not addressed and corrected during the child/teen years then it is carried into the adult years. That makes it very hard for the Adult to achieve a healthy relationship with a significant other and even harder for them to become successful in the work world.

Raising kids is not an easy task, being a parent means you have to be a caregiver, advisor, instructor, friend, leader, cook, counselor, and of course an ATM for the children lol. Helping a child navigate the battlefields of youth and preparing them for the many challenges they will have to face in the future is not an easy thing to accomplish. All you can do is give it your best shot and always be there for them when they need you.

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I myself have had self-esteem issues throughout my life, I have been battling low self-esteem for many decades. I could go down a list of all the things that caused my low self-esteem but what is the use of that now that it now falls squarely on me to repair the damage and improve myself. Plus the first step in moving on and building up your self-esteem/self-image is to forgive those who helped in destroying it and letting go of your own contributions to the whole mess as well.

Just know this, there is no one better than you, but then there is no one lesser than you. We all are unique, we all have our own gifts to embrace and shortcomings that we need to deal with. There is no one on this planet that does not have some emotional or psychological baggage to deal with. How much money you have, and how many toys you have has nothing to do with who you are or how good you are. What defines you is how you live life, and how you treat others and yourself.

Being successful sure feels good, being financially well off does make life easier in many ways, but money, possessions, and success are fleeting, they can be gone in an instant. Family and friends to me are far more important along with how I treat others, and how I live my life. Those things will be with me throughout my life.

Well, I wish you happiness, remember it does not matter what others think or say about you, it is what you know about yourself that matters the most.

Random Thoughts 1-17-2018


011_thumb.jpgOn my path through life I was faced with the decision of either continuing down a path that was killing my spirit slowly, a place of employment where I could not be myself and I was constantly put down. Well to make the story short after a supervisor yelled at me and threatened me I chose to walk away. After which I found so many people willing to be there for me in heart, spirit and even financially. I feel the Negative forces of the universe thought it would destroy me and in the end it just gave me more faith in humanity and God.

Though Times may get rough for me down the road far as finances, I will survive and I shall find a new path to walk. More faith in my heart and soul than there has been in over a decade or two I face the road ahead with many by my side. The point is this, No matter what life may throw at you there is always the good things it throws in with it, if your willing to accept them or not they are there. Just good to see folks living by the ideal that he/she is not heavy he/she is my brother/sister mentality and heart.

Thank you and God Bless every one of you for the Moral support and financial as well. I am so blessed to have good friends, be they online or in person…

 

Random thoughts 11-14-2016


Thanksgiving is just around the corner here in the United States, a time to give thanks for all that has been bestowed upon you and the blessing of life itself. It is the time of the year to remember those we have lost and a time to celebrate those we have found. It is also a time to realize how blessed we are to still be here and alive.

During this holiday season put your past and the past of others behind you and celebrate the gift of the here and now. Forgive and forget so the future we face will be a brighter one for all of us. Most of al forgive yourself, hard to move on to the future if your stuck in the regrets of things from your past. Embrace one another, for we are all we have here on this journey of life. Your friends and family are the foundation of your life and should be the ones you embrace and celebrate.

Hope each one of you have a blessed day and a happy Thanksgiving

Ray Barbier

if there is no trust then love gets twisted


002Love and matters of the heart are complicated but yet simple. The complication comes from our doubts and fear of being hurt most of the time.  Sometimes this comes from past experiences and other times it comes from the lack of experience in being truly loved. Also self-worth and doubt can be a big problem as well, but trust plays one of the biggest parts in love and happiness. One can not love someone and be loved and not trust, if there is no trust then love gets twisted into jealousy and possessiveness.

One problem is when someone trusts and loves another with all their heart and are betrayed they tend to get a very deep scar emotionally and mentally. This scar or wound is not easily healed and will tend to affect future relationships as well as any kind of reconciliation in the current relationship. Trust is not easily rebuilt after a betrayal of the heart.

Forgiveness is a key to healing, but it is not always easy to forgive when you’ve been emotionally devastated by the actions of someone you’ve loved and trusted.  We must realize though they betrayed us, they are only human and thus being are prone to be imperfect in action and thoughts. No relationship is perfect either, when you have two people who have been raised differently and had different life experiences trying to become a single  unit there is bound to be times of turbulence during the adjustment period of a newer relationship. Usually in time most differences are either remedied or put aside for the sake of the relationship.

Remember to not judge your partner too harshly, for you have faults just like they do. Compassion, understanding and forgiveness should always play a part in a relationship. Trust is the most important I believe and so is respect, respect for yourself and for your partner. No relationship is beyond repair, but there are some relationships that because of the hurt feelings , verbal and physical abuse that may be better off just letting go of and ending it than trying to save it.

Love is a very precious thing and so is the trust required to have a relationship. Think wisely before entering a relationship and work diligently to maintain and improve it. It takes some work and sometimes a long time to have a great relationship and other times you luck out and find a partner that’s like a soul mate. even those soul mate type relationships require maintenance and work to keep them going.

Life is a long journey that seems to be quickly traveled, so remember to love wholeheartedly, forgive easily and look for the silver lining in every moment you experience.

Ray Barbier

Random Thoughts on 7/4/2013


HPIM0064We walk through our life half blinded by what we perceive as reality and unaware of the beauty that life and this world has laid before us. Friendships, family and the relationships we have along with the bonds we make within our lifetime are to be cherished. We influence people we meet  directly by being a part of their lives and we can affect others through the footprints we leave. We can also influence one person  who can carry that influence to others. We can also write a blog and through it influence the thoughts of readers and other bloggers. We are far more intertwined as a species than we like to admit.

The words or actions of one can affect so many without even being the intention nor being realized by the person who initiated it all.  Once we realize how much our words and actions can affect and influence others we must face the fact we are responsible for the results brought about by them. We should always be conscious of our actions and words as well as the consequences they can bring. We also should be cautious and conscious of the actions and words of others so we can be in control of what influences us as well. We must not walk through life half blinded and half awake, we should be fully awake and aware of all that is around us. We should be aware of the responsibility of being alive and the consequences of our actions and words. We also should always cherish the life we have been given to live and know it is a blessing.

Be aware, Be Awake and take responsibility for your actions and words. Be thankful and cherish the one life we have to live.

Ray Barbier

Words of wisdom or wishful thoughts.


IMG_1326_edited-1To love is to live, to live is to experience Love. To fear is to miss out on love and life. To fear love is to deny yourself happiness, to fear rejection is to deny yourself personal growth and the chance to succeed. To fear what others think is to throw away your chance to be who you are truly meant to be. To be like everyone else or follow the crowd is to deny yourself individuality. To deny you are a part of the whole is to deny yourself the fellowship it can bring along with the strength it can give you. To think you are strong by your own is to set yourself p for a great fall. To think you are wise is only proof you are yet a fool. To recognize your lack of wisdom and accept your faults  is the first step in becoming wise. To think you have learned it all only will deny you the truth and answers you seek. To hold a grudge and not forgive only hurts you and does nothing to the one that you begrudge. To judge others harshly only sets you up to be judged in the same way.

Be humble, Be kind, Try not to judge and if you do, do it with compassion. Love one another unconditionally and learn to forgive others as well as your own self

Ray Barbier

Why is being right more important than doing the right thing?


IMG_1077Sometime we tend to be our own worst enemy, we get wrapped up in what we think we want and neglect what we truly need. This seems to be the dilemma of humanity.  We are social creatures for the most art but it seems we have become more focused on our individuality than the group, clan or community. We forgot how to care and be part of a community and to work together. It’s all about taking care of ourselves and our own instead of we are all a part of an extended family. It’s all good to be an individual and to express such, but not at the expense of  loosing our connection from the great family of humanity.

We allow politics, religion, race, culture and many other things get in the way of being the great creation God made us to be. We as a species are capable of doing such good and amazing things when we work together and put our differences aside. We are all basically the same, we all really want peace, love and happiness for ourselves, our family and especially for our children. Why cant that be enough of a motive for us to be civilized and mature enough to be at peace with one another and learn to work together to make this world a better place for everyone? Why is greed more important than your neighbor or the poor guy begging for his next meal? Why is being right more important than doing the right thing?

It is far better to be poor and have your next meal than to be rich and want for nothing, for without anything to aspire for there is little to enjoy. It is far more important to do the right thing than to worry about who is right or wrong. For doing the right thing is being in the right and worrying about who is right or not is such a waste of time and energy.

Raymond Barbier

Politeness and respectfulness is learned by example


DSCF0007Today I feel like talking about manners, politeness and having respect for one another. I remember when I was a child how my mother and father tried hard to instill in me the mannerisms such as showing respect to others and to be polite to everyone I meet and that I should be this way to those I know, don’t know, like or dislike. Seems politeness and respect are becoming either a thing of the past or is considered less important in our youth today.I think we were far better off when we had politeness and respect as a part of our upbringing. My parents were also the type that would try to practice what they preached, at least in front of us kids they did their best not to lose their tempers, speak ill of others or be disrespectful of anyone. This of course goes to say that they may have done such behind our backs but in general they stayed true to what they preached.

Politeness and respectfulness is learned by example, so most kids are usually imitating what they have seen at home and at school. This is why parents, educators and youth group leaders should practice politeness and respectfulness in front of the children.

Just some thoughts that passed through my mind today.

God Bless and peace to all.

Ray Barbier

All we do is lose the essence of who we are


rayraydRemember that child that saw the world as brand new and awesome,? Remember that child who had unbreakable faith and faced fear with conviction? Remember when you saw life as an adventure both in your imagination and day-to-day life? Remember when that child was forced to be hidden within you by society and your peers? Why does it have to be that we must put away the goodness of Ourselves in order to live in the world? Yes the bible speaks of putting away childish things, it was speaking of the immaturity of being a child and the naivety. The essence of who you are was formed during childhood and that part being a child we shouldn’t had left behind. We allow the stress, competition and rigidness of adult life to become more important than all our loves, friendships and even sometimes family. We keep who we are close to our vest and rarely show others who we truly are. We do such in hopes of protecting ourselves but in the end all we do is lose the essence of who we are.

We should be who we truly are and not hide the wondrous person god had made us to be. We may be ever-changing but there is a core of our personality we always have and should embrace. That silly, playful and all loving child within is the person God had meant us to be. That child that has no hate, anger or jealousy beyond a fleeting moment, that child that loves everyone and forgives quicker than he can be hurt. That child who looks for the goodness is everyone he meets. It takes a brave person to be and show their true self and that inner child.

Do not let the world and its cold rigidness hold back the warm and loving nature God has made within you. For its better to be a child of God than a person of the world.

Ray Barbier