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You are browsing all posts tagged with the topic: neuroscience

Wildmind Meditation News

Oct 24, 2013

How to build a happier brain

Julie Beck, The Atlantic: A neuropsychological approach to happiness, by meeting core needs (safety, satisfaction, and connection) and training neurons to overcome a negativity bias.

There is a motif, in fiction and in life, of people having wonderful things happen to them, but still ending up unhappy. We can adapt to anything, it seems—you can get your dream job, marry a wonderful human, finally get 1 million dollars or Twitter followers—eventually we acclimate and find new things to complain about.

If you want to look at it on a micro level, take an average day. You go to work; make some money; eat…

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Bodhipaksa

Sep 20, 2013

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence

hardwiring happinessI wanted to let you know about a new book by Rick Hanson that I think you’ll like. Rick, a neuropsychologist and bestselling author, is a contributor to this blog, and his teaching has had a profound influence on my understanding of what’s actually going on when we meditate.

I haven’t read the book yet (I hope to do so soon), so this isn’t a review. It’s just a heads-up that a brilliant author who is always worth reading has a new book coming out. I’m clearing my reading schedule to make sure that I have time to read my review copy when it arrives.

The book’s called Hardwiring Happiness: The

Bodhipaksa

Sep 19, 2013

When your meditation practice doesn’t seem to be going anywhere…

Buddha StatueI often hear from people who are worried because their meditation practice doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I think it’s good to be aware of the different ways that change happens when we meditate since your practice hitting a plateau may not be a problem, but just part of a natural process.

Sometimes change happens rapidly. This may happen early on, or at any point in your practice. One striking example was told to me by a friend who owns a health club. One of his employees was very prickly and hard to work with, but my friend realize that this woman had really mellowed out, almost overnight. She was now …

Rick Hanson PhD

Sep 12, 2013

Grow inner strengths

Hanson_thI’ve hiked a lot and have often had to depend on what was in my pack. Inner strengths are the supplies you’ve got in your pack as you make your way down the twisting and often hard road of life. They include a positive mood, common sense, integrity, inner peace, determination, and a warm heart. Researchers have identified other strengths as well, such as self-compassion, secure attachment, emotional intelligence, learned optimism, the relaxation response, self-esteem, distress tolerance, self-regulation, resilience, and executive functions.

I’m using the word strength broadly to include positive feelings such as calm, contentment, and caring, as well as skills, useful perspectives and inclinations, and embodied qualities such as vitality …

Wildmind Meditation News

Aug 30, 2013

What happens to the brain when you meditate (and how it benefits you)

Bell Beth Cooper, Lifehacker: Ever since my dad tried to convince me to meditate when I was about 12, I’ve been fairly skeptical of this practice. It always seemed so vague and hard to understand that I just decided it wasn’t for me. More recently, I’ve actually found how simple (not easy, but simple) meditation can be and what huge benefit it can have for my day to day happiness.

As an adult, I first started my meditation practice with just two minutes per day. Two minutes! I got that idea from Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog, where he points out how starting with …

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Bodhipaksa

Aug 14, 2013

The dark side of meditation

Willoughby BrittonHere’s an interesting conversation between Brown University neuroscientist (and meditation teacher) Willoughby Britton and yoga and Buddhism teacher Michael Stone. Britton, as a good scientist, is interested in cataloguing the confusing, unpleasant, and sometimes harmful effects that meditators may experience, including cognitive and sensory aberrations, emotional difficulties or challenges, changes sense of self, and disturbing physiological manifestations.

My experience is that adverse effects to meditation are rare. Some manifestations in fact may not be at all harmful and may be signs of progress in meditation (e.g. changes in the perceived relative size of different parts of the body) but might be mistaken for “going crazy.” Other manifestations — such as some …

Wildmind Meditation News

Aug 02, 2013

How does meditation actually work?

Christof Koch, Salon: Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.

This line from Herman Hesse’s 1922 novel Siddhartha came unbidden to me during a recent weeklong visit to Drepung Monastery in southern India. His Holiness the Dalai Lama had invited the U.S.-based Mind and Life Institute to familiarize the Tibetan Buddhist monastic community living in exile in India with modern science. About a dozen of us—physicists, psychologists, brain scientists and clinicians, leavened by a French philosopher—introduced quantum mechanics, neuroscience, consciousness and various clinical aspects of meditative practices…

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Wildmind Meditation News

Aug 02, 2013

No lotus position needed: Neuroscience pushes meditation into the mainstream

Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune: When the Rev. Ron Moor began meditating 30 years ago, he did so in secret.

“When I started, meditation was a dirty word,” said Moor, pastor of Spirit United Church in Minneapolis. “(Evangelist) Jimmy Swaggart called it ‘the work of the devil.’ Because of its basis in Eastern religions, fundamentalists considered it satanic. Now those same fundamentalists are embracing it. And every class I teach includes at least a brief meditation.”

The faith community isn’t alone in changing its attitude. Businesses, schools and hospitals not only have become more accepting of meditation, but many offer classes on it. Meditating…

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Wildmind Meditation News

Jul 26, 2013

Meditation’s next frontier: Improving customer service

Knowledge@Wharton: The role of meditation in enhancing individual performance, leadership and productivity is well documented. However, a recent study captures its uses in evoking compassion — as the Buddha originally intended. Businesses could use that insight and meditation as a tool to foster closer bonding between employees and to spur them to serve customers better, according to Wharton management professor Sigal Barsade.

A recent article in The New York Times by David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University, describes how he, along with psychologist Paul Condon, neuroscientist Gaelle Desbordes and Buddhist lama Willa Miller, conducted an experiment in meditation that…

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Wildmind Meditation News

Jun 06, 2013

Documentary shows meditation helps with ADHD and PTSD

Barb Turnbull, Toronto, Thestar.com: A young boy is plagued by anxiety and ADHD and two soldiers suffer stress disorders after going to war.

What binds the three — and ultimately frees them — is mindfulness meditation.

The trio is followed in Free The Mind: Can You Rewire The Brain Just By Taking A Breath?, a documentary that follows the work of University of Wisconsin psychology professor Richard Davidson on children with ADHD and veterans with PTSD. It opens June 7 at The Bloor Cinema.

With his study of “contemplative neuroscience,” Davidson is trying to understand how the brain regulates emotions…

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