Can changing how you think about stress make you healthier?

September 6, 2013

kelly mcgIn this fascinating TED talk, meditation teacher and health psychologist Kelly McGonigal presents evidence suggesting that stress itself isn’t harmful, but the belief that stress is harmful is! The belief that stress is harmful would then be a form of the nocibo effect — the opposite of the placebo effect — where believing something is harmful makes it so.

Can changing how you think about stress make you healthier? According to McGonigal the science says yes. When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress.

Believing that stress is normal and healthy protects your blood vessels, promotes healing in the heart, and leads to the release of oxytocin, a … Read more »

The Compassionate Brain: a free 8-session video interview series

January 25, 2013

compassionate brainI wanted to let you know about a free 8-session video interview series – The Compassionate Brain – hosted by Rick Hanson, PhD, through Sounds True.

The guests are (in order) Richie Davidson, Dan Siegel, Tara Brach, Dacher Keltner, Kelly McGonigal, Kristin Neff, and Jean Houston, with Rick offering a summing up in an eighth session. (Rick is a neuropsychologist, a regular contributor to Wildmind’s blog, and author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom.)

So far over 33,000 people have seen these free videos, which explore how to use the power of neuroplasticity—the mind changing the brain to transform the mind—to open the heart, build courage, find compassion, forgive … Read more »

Science shows what meditation knows: pain is not suffering

December 19, 2012

kelly mcgonigalThe wonderful folks at Buddhist Geeks bring us this video from their 2012 conference. Here, researcher Kelly McGonigal shows us what happens in the brains of non-meditators, new meditators, and experienced meditators when they’re exposed to physical pain or emotionally distressing images. The findings are fascinating!

Meditators are well aware that pain is not suffering. Our most common reaction to pain is to want it to stop. And so we start up an inner monolog around the pain: “This is horrible! This is never going to end! Why me? Stop!!!” But meditators know that if you have physical pain this can be experienced simply as a physical sensation, albeit an unpleasant one.

The research McGonigal … Read more »

“The Compassionate Brain” free seven-part video series

November 5, 2012

For Sounds True, I’m hosting a free Seven-part video series with extraordinary guests – The Compassionate Brain – that will give you effective ways to change your brain and heart and life. So far over 25,000 people have signed up for this free series, and I hope you will join us – and help spread the word to others.

The series began October 8, 2012, and runs on seven consecutive Monday nights, 8-9 pm Eastern time, through November 19. You can go back and watch the archived videos from previous interviews.

Each week, I’m interviewing a world-class scholar/teacher (in order): Richie Davidson, Dan Siegel, Tara Brach, Dachar Keltner, Kelly McGonigal, Kristin Neff, and Jean Houston … Read more »