Neuroscience and mindfulness - Deepstash
Neuroscience and mindfulness

Neuroscience and mindfulness

The term "mindfulness" is about focusing on the moment. It is about embracing every moment of the day.

While being in the moment can be transformative, scientists still don't fully understand what happens in the brain when we practice mindfulness. What is known is just the tip of the iceberg.

6

STASHED IN:

174

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

  1. Lutz, Dunne & Davidson (2008) found mindfulness impacts the amygdala.
  2. Goldin & Gross (2010) found that the hippocampus was more active after mindfulness training.
  3. Carson, J. et al. (2004) found a correlation between mindfulness and healthier relationships.
  4. Chiesa & Serretti (2010) found the prefrontal cortex became more active following mindfulness training.
  5. A 2005 study found thicker cortical regions related to attention and sensory processing in meditation practitioners.
  6. Lazar et al. (2005) found meditation prevents cortical thinning.
  7. Beddoe & Murphy (2004). Mindfulness encourages empathy.

STASHED IN:

119

Many studies have been done on mindfulness. The most widely recognised are:

  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). This program is designed to assist people with pain and a range of conditions that may be difficult to treat in a hospital setting.
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). The goal is to help people change unproductive thoughts. MBCT uses psychological techniques that help people understand the relationship between various emotions and mood disorders.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is used to treat various mental problems like anxiety, phobias, and even pain.

4

STASHED IN:

128

While medication is often used to treat ADHD, its effects are usually short-term. The medicine also has side effects.

In a randomised controlled trial, researchers found that mindfulness instruction is a good choice for young people with ADHD. The study is focused on measures of attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

3

STASHED IN:

118

Research indicates that mindfulness can help with the following:

  • It impacts human functioning.
  • It improves the quality of attention.
  • It affects interpersonal behaviour.
  • It provides greater empathy and compassion.
  • Optimization of mental health.
  • Positive impact on the brain and immune system.
  • It assists with chronic pain.
  • It helps overcome insomnia.
  • It helps with caregiver burnout.

5

STASHED IN:

129

One meta-analysis found 8 unique regions of the brain consistently changed in people experienced in meditation. These are:

  • Rostrolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Sensory cortices
  • Insular cortex
  • Hippocampus
  • Anterior cingulate cortex
  • Mid-cingulate cortex
  • Superior longitudinal fasciculus
  • Corpus callosum

Consistent changes were noticed as follows:

  • Changes in brain density
  • Changes in thickness of brain tissue
  • Increase in neurons, fibres, and glia
  • Changes in cortical surface area
  • Changes in white matter fibre density

1

STASHED IN:

118

  • Research done on mindfulness parenting can be helpful with persons with autism, where parents apply the skills of mindfulness to the child-parent interaction, including attentive listening, non-judgmental acceptance of the self and the child, and self-regulation.
  • Studies found mindfulness interventions can minimize the struggles related to behaviour and mood regulation.
  • Using mindfulness, people with autism can learn to find a balance between sensing and feeling that allows for a calmer response.

1

STASHED IN:

113

Some studies compared mindfulness therapies to medication.

  • One study found no difference between participants of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and anti-depressant medication. This suggests that MBCT is a reasonable alternative to standard medicine.
  • Research also showed that combining medication and psychotherapy often results in better outcomes than focusing on one alone.

1

STASHED IN:

116

Neuroplasticity means the brain is malleable and able to restructure itself by forming new neural connections.

  • Meditation might slow down or prevent forgetfulness related to age. Research found people who meditated in their 40s and 50's had the same amount of grey matter as those in their 20's and 30's.
  • Following 8 weeks of mindfulness exercises, brain volume increased in 4 regions of the brain, including the hippocampus (responsible for the regulation of emotions, learning and memory) and the temporoparietal junction (responsible for empathy and compassion.)

4

STASHED IN:

137

Deepstash helps you become inspired, wiser and productive, through bite-sized ideas from the best articles, books and videos out there.

GET THE APP:

RELATED IDEAS

Rigid Thoughts: Feeling Stuck In Negative Emotions

We get stuck in our emotions due to our spiralling mind, our fixation with old ideas and behaviours, our need to be always right, perfectionism and thinking in absolute terms.

When faced with strong reactive emotion, we are usually unable to understand that our emotions are dynamic and start acting like wind-up toys doing the same motions, not being aware of other possibilities and options.

2

STASHED IN:

483

Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom
  • Freedom from fear.
  • Freedom from worry.
  • Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt.
  • Freedom from depression.
  • Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around.
  • Real freedom.

3

STASHED IN:

46

Procrastination: Why It Happens

Procrastination is when we avoid the tasks in our list, feeling the pressure to complete them and going through various emotions like blame, anger, frustration and anxiety. The reason we procrastinate is because we value the now and instinctively prefer to procure and enjoy our rewards sooner rather than later.

It is easier and rewarding to relax, grab a beer and watch an episode of our favourite show rather than tackling a work assignment, which would not give any rewards in the now.

21

STASHED IN:

369