The opportunity of “the magic quarter second”

January 12, 2015

sunset at sea with multiple color prizmIn the book My Stroke of Insight, brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor explains that the natural life span of an emotion—the average time it takes for it to move through the nervous system and body—is only a minute and a half, a mere ninety seconds. After that, we need thoughts to keep the emotion rolling. So, if we wonder why we lock into painful emotional states like anxiety, depression, or rage, we need look no further than our own endless stream of inner dialogue.

Modern neuroscience has discovered a fundamental truth: Neurons that fire together, wire together. When we rehearse a looping set of thoughts and emotions, we create deeply grooved patterns of emotional reactivity. … Read more »

Creating a natural anti-depressant brain?

January 12, 2015

uncovering-happinessI haven’t read the book I’m about to introduce, but I’m familiar with the author and the advance information about it makes it sound interesting.

Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion is written by psychologist and bestselling author Elisha Goldstein, PhD. It shows us the science of natural anti-depressants and gives us the practices to unlock them, building new neural structures to uncover genuine happiness.

Hardcover: Barnes & Noble, Book Passage, Indie Bound, Powell’s, Simon & Schuster.

eBook: iBooks, Nook, Simon & Schuster, Google Play Store.

We now know that we can use our minds to change our brains, but Dr. Goldstein’s Uncovering Happiness … Read more »

Meditation may physically alter regions of the brain

December 15, 2014

wildmind meditation newsStress-Proof Your Brain, by Rick Hanson (2 CDs)Sravanth Verma, Digital Journal: Harvard researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital reported that the practice of mindfulness meditation can physically alter regions of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress.

The study, to be published in January 2015, in “Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging” indicates that the brain’s gray matter may change as a result of meditation.

“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” said …

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Let’s be mindful about the benefits of meditation

December 4, 2014

wildmind meditation newsClick here to check out our selection of meditation MP3s William Reville, The Irish Times: Meditation has never been more popular than it is now. Transcendental meditation (TM), a mind-emptying type of meditation, used to be the most popular form, but it has now ceded pole position to mindfulness meditation.

Meditation can undoubtedly confer benefits, and extensive scientific investigations are afoot to tease out its effects on the human brain. This work is summarised by Matthieu Ricard and colleagues in the November 2014 edition of Scientific American. The authors define meditation as the cultivation of a more stable and secure mind, …

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Harvard unveils MRI study proving meditation literally rebuilds the brain’s gray matter in 8 weeks

November 25, 2014

wildmind meditation newsFeelGuide: Test subjects taking part in an 8-week program of mindfulness meditation showed results that astonished even the most experienced neuroscientists at Harvard University. The study was led by a Harvard-affiliated team of researchers based at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the team’s MRI scans documented for the very first time in medical history how meditation produced massive changes inside the brain’s gray matter. “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says study senior author Sara Lazar …

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The third arrow

November 18, 2014

Darts on targetThe first arrow: Think of a time someone said something hurtful to you, and let’s try to break down what happened. A comment was made, and you probably experienced actual physical pain, most likely in the solar plexus or heart. (When the hurt is particularly strong, we sometimes say it feels like we’ve been punched in the gut, don’t we?)

What went on was that some fast-acting part of your brain believed you were being criticized or marginalized, and so identified the comment as a threat to your wellbeing. That part of your brain then attempted to alert the rest of the mind to this threat by sending signals to pain receptors in the body. … Read more »

Meditation the new tool to reach peak performance

November 11, 2014

wildmind meditation newsAlex Hutchinton, The Globe and Mail: It’s relatively easy to spot the physical differences between, say, an Olympic rower and a couch potato. But it’s the mind as much as the muscles that make a champion – so is it possible to pick an “elite brain” out of a crowd of ordinary grey matter?

That’s the challenge that a team of psychiatrists and neuroscientists at the University of California San Diego have been grappling with for the past few years. In brain-imaging studies with subjects ranging from Navy SEALs to elite athletes, they’ve found a telltale pattern of activity in certain brain regions …

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Technology-assisted meditation

November 7, 2014

www.choosemuse.comHopefully I’ll soon be trying out a demo model of the Muse headband, which according to the makers is like a heart rate monitor for your mind. In other words it gives you real-time feedback by detecting your brain signals during meditation, the same way you might use a gadget to monitor your heart rate during physical exercise.

Apparently this can help us to train the brain to be more focused, attentive, and calm. I’ll let you know how I get on. (In the meantime we’ve joined Muse’s affiliate program so you’ll see ads promoting it in our sidebars.)

At the recent Buddhist Geeks conference, where I gave a presentation, there were several other … Read more »

How to Stop Beating Yourself Up: New York Insight Meditation Center

October 20, 2014

bodhiBodhipaksa will be in New York City on Nov 22, 2014. He’s leading a self-compassion workshop at the New York Insight Meditation Center: “How to Stop Beating Yourself Up.”

In this workshop Bodhipaksa will introduce a step-by-step guide to the core skills of self-compassion. As well as drawing on models from Buddhist psychology, we’ll take a look at insights from neuroscience, and explore Buddhist compassion and lovingkindness meditation so that we can learn to regard ourselves — and our pain — with compassion and kindness.

Click here for more information

Meditation changes your brain

October 17, 2014

wildmind meditation newsMaria Isabel Garcia, Rappler: ‘Meditation’ used to be the exclusive province of robed and hooded men enacting an ancient tradition. Now, science has joined them.

This could be one of the most powerful ways to change your brain and yet, all you have to do is be still. It will help you focus, be keenly observant but not obsessive, and essentially, be a kinder human being.

Meditation. We all have the basic equipment – the 3-pound matter inside our skulls – yet, we generally think that it is only for the religious or for our odd relatives and friends who dress funny.

Two …

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