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The Four Keys to Well-Being

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https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_four_keys_to_well_being

greatergood.berkeley.edu

The Four Keys to Well-Being
This article is adapted from a talk by Richard Davidson, neuroscientist and founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, at the Greater Good Science Center's recent Mindfulness & Well-Being at Work conference. Well-being is a skill.

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The 4 keys of well-being

  1. Resilience - The rapidity with which we recover from adversity;
  2. Outlook - The ability to see the positive in others;
  3. Attention - A wandering mind is an unh...

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The ability to voluntarily bring back a wandering attention over and over again is the very root of judgment, character, and will. 

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It typically refers to a practice for training your attention. It is an awareness that comes through paying attention in the moment, but non-judgmentally.

It involves sitting down with closed eyes and focussing on feeling your breath go in and out. When your attention starts to wander, you take note and bring your attention back to your breath.

Reduced amygdala activity

Meditation shows reduced activity in the amygdala, our brain’s threat detector. When the amygdala perceives a threat, it sets off the fight-flight-freeze response.

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Mindfulness

... is a collection of practices aimed at helping us to cultivate moment-to-moment awareness of ourselves and our environment.

Meditation sharpens your attention

Meditation helps to counter our tendency to stop paying attention to new information in our environment. Other studies have found that mindfulness meditation can reduce mind-wandering and improve attention.

Larger randomized controlled trials are still needed to understand how meditation might work with other treatments to help people manage attention-deficit disorders.

Consistent meditation

Long-term, consistent meditation mindfulness changes our ability to handle stress in a better, more sustainable way.

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Mindfulness is not a magic panacea

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Mindfulness has been repackaged

Although mindfulness originated from Buddhism, it has been stripped from most of its teachings. 

What remains is nothing more than a self-help tool to help one get used to the very conditions that caused the problems. While is it a noble aim to reduce stress and anxiety, it is more important to acknowledge and address the underlying cause of the suffering.

The message of the mindfulness

The message of the mindfulness movement is that the underlying cause is in our mind - a "thinking disease" or a kind of attention deficit disorder. 

Rather than discussing how attention is monetized and manipulated by corporations, mindfulness advocates to view the crisis as an internal battle. The result is that we meekly retreat into the private sphere without critically engaging with the causes of suffering in the structures of power and economic systems of capitalist society.

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