The science of mindfulness

 

NEUROSCIENCE is a fairly new branch of science known as “neuroplasticity,” and it covers the growing body of scientific literature on the effects of training attention and emotion. The notion that we can improve our mental and emotional capacity is validated in Neuroscience research that is finding that what we think, do, and pay attention to changes the structure and function of our brains.

PSYCHOLOGY – Ellen Langer is a Professor of Psychology at the Harvard University. For nearly four decades, Langer’s research on mindfulness has influenced thinking across a range of fields, from behavioral economics to positive psychology. It demonstrates that by paying attention to what’s going on around us, instead of operating on autopilot, we can reduce stress, unlock creativity, and boost performance. “Mindfulness is the essence of engagement,” Langer says. “And it’s energy-begetting, not energy-consuming. She powerfully demonstrates the debilitating effect of mindlessness on our lives.


Useful research links:

 

Mindfulness as good as pills.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may be as good as pills at stopping people relapsing after recovering from major bouts of depression, according to a study. Read full article here

Harvard Medical School research

“Our data suggest that meditation practice can promote cortical plasticity in adults in areas important for cognitive and emotional processing and well-being,” says Sara Lazar, leader of the study and a psychologist at Harvard Medical School. “These findings are consistent with other studies that demonstrated increased thickness of music areas in the brains of musicians, and visual and motor areas in the brains of jugglers. In other words, the structure of an adult brain can change in response to repeated practice.”

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Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation

Phillipe Goldin – Philippe is a research scientist and heads the Clinically Applied Affective Neuroscience group in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University.

In this interactive presentation Philippe Goldin explains the relationship between meditation and the brain.
He focuses on the basics of Mindfulness meditation and the practice of bringing one’s attention to the present, which has been said to provide tremendous well-being and emotional balance. Over the past few years, meditation has begun being used as a treatment for mild anxiety and depression. Scientific studies have followed suit, illustrating how meditation “re-wires” neural systems related to attention and emotion.

watch it here

Can meditation change your brain?

Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was one of the first scientists to take the anecdotal claims about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and test them in brain scans. What she found surprised her — that meditating can literally change your brain.

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Meditation eases heart disease

Heart patients saw a big risk reduction from practicing meditation. read more here

Mindfulness based stress reduction

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