What’s On Our Minds

Three things that are on the top of our editors' minds right now.

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Meditation Gets Real(ish)

Meditation, so we have heard, allows us to connect with the world, and with ourselves, in a powerful way. With the help of a new app, you can now meditate to connect with the virtual world as well.

Guided Meditation VR is the first virtual reality meditation app to hit the scene. Developed by Cubicle Ninjas, it allows you to “expand your mind,” by placing a headset over your eyes and ears and immersing yourself in a serene illustrated environment like a lush, sandy beach or a burnt orange and rusty red-hued treescape, while listening to a guided meditation of your choosing (the nine options include “Zen” and “Relaxation”). It’s just you and the raw, unfiltered world of virtual—that is, almost real—reality.

It might be hard to get on side with the idea that sitting on a fake beach can expand your mind, as the app claims, but if you just wanna chill out and be part of a pretty simulation, why not? It is cool technology, after all.

Then again, you could always get outside, breathe some fresh air, and take in a bit of the real world instead.

When Teens Befriend Themselves

Practicing a little self-kindness might help young people weather the turbulent teenage years. In a pilot study, Karen Bluth of the University of North Carolina taught a six-week course on mindfulness and self-compassion to about 30 adolescents. The kids learned to acknowledge and soothe their own distress while recognizing that such suffering is common to the human experience. Afterward, they reported less anxiety, depression, and stress.

Psychedelic Mindfulness?

Meditation. LSD. Magic mushrooms. Is some combination of these an effective treatment for anxiety and depression? Meditation is known to work. But recent research out of Imperial College London shows that psilocybin, the active compound in psychedelic mushrooms, also helps against anxiety and depression. Now neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins University are looking at treatments combining the two approaches. They hope people suffering from mood disorders who find meditation especially difficult will get a similar benefit from psychedelic drugs.

Read more news and current mindfulness research in the October issue of Mindful magazine, on newsstands now.