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Eight weeks to a better brain

Eight weeks to a better brain
Participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. In a study that will appear in the Jan. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reported the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in 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 of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology. Subscribe to the Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails with the latest Harvard news.

What Does Mindfulness Mean To You? Insights from key players bringing mindfulness into society. Mindfulness. It's a pretty straightforward word. It's the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us. To answer this question, we look to the key players bringing mindfulness into different aspects of society. So what does mindfulness mean to them?

‘Turn down the volume’ The positive effects of mindfulness meditation on pain and working memory may result from an improved ability to regulate a crucial brain wave called the alpha rhythm. This rhythm is thought to “turn down the volume” on distracting information, which suggests that a key value of meditation may be helping the brain deal with an often overstimulating world. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology report that modulation of the alpha rhythm in response to attention-directing cues was faster and significantly more enhanced among study participants who completed an eight-week mindfulness meditation program than in a control group. The study will appear in the journal Brain Research Bulletin and has been released online. Brain cells use particular frequencies, or waves, to regulate the flow of information in much the same way that radio stations broadcast at specific frequencies.

What Happens to the Brain During Meditation? Meditation provides experiences that the mind can achieve no other way, such as inner silence and expanded awareness. And as the mind gains experience, the brain shows physical activity as well—sometimes profound changes. Beginning in the 1970s, studies showed that something was happening in the brain during meditation. The Science Measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress start to appear in subjects who practice mindfulness meditation for only eight weeks. What makes this finding so important is that it links how people feel when they meditate, with their physiology—the kind of proof that neuroscience demands. Another study compared long-term meditators with a control group. Loss of grey mat­ter (brain cells) and their con­nec­tions is a com­mon part of aging. What You Can Do to Promote Brain Health But what you can do right now is what counts the most.

24 Human Character Strengths and Core Virtues | Creative by Nature Strengths of Wisdom and Knowledge: Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and skillful use of knowledge.1. Creativity & Imagination [originality, ingenuity]: Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things.2. Curiosity [interest, novelty-seeking, openness to experience]: Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; exploring and discovering.3. Open-mindedness [holistic judgment, critical thinking]: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; weighing all evidence fairly.4. Strengths of Courage: Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external and internal.6. Strengths of Humanity: interpersonal strengths that involve supporting and befriending others.10. Strengths of Justice: strengths that underlie healthy and harmonious community life.13. Strengths of Temperance: strengths that protect against unhealthy excess and egotism.16. Like this: Like Loading...

Resources « Beth Meeker LMHC Experiment #1: An experimental ongoing Sunday series to share information and processes that move us more deeply into our relationship with life. This series of gatherings is intended to work/play with our personal and collective stories calling for transformation. Facilitated by: Beth Meeker Sundays 4-6 PM starting 2/23 Location: Platypus Studios 205 5th Street N Saint Petersburg, FL, 33701 Fee: Love and Appreciation Offering The Inner Dance: Movement by Healing & TransformationFacilitated by Movement Guide: Joy Thompson Small Group Series Saturdays 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/23, 1-3:30 PM more information, click HERE Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), South County, Pinellas School BoardPaying Attention: Cultivating an Attentive Mind 8 Week Course Thursday evenings 1/31/13 – 3/14/13, Saturday full day 3/16/13 Location: 1432 MLK Street N (9th St N) Saint Petersburg, FL, 33704 Friday mornings 1/11/13 – 2/22/13, Saturday full day 3/09/13 Location: Melrose Elementary Saint Petersburg, FL

¿Por qué ayuda meditar? | Centro de Tranquilidad Por algún tiempo, la meditación fue considerada un ritual extraño, practicado sólo por gurús o budistas. Ha sido estudiada científicamente y se han reconocido sus beneficios realmente tangibles, porque ayuda a calmar el cuerpo, la mente y las emociones, reduce la presión sanguínea, mejora el sistema inmunológico y aporta una mayor salud física en general. La meditación es un ejercicio mental que nos hace conscientes del momento presente; es decir, de lo que hacemos o sentimos a cada momento. Nos ayuda a alcanzar tal estado de concentración que podemos enfocarnos en un objeto determinado, un pensamiento o en la conciencia misma; por ejemplo, ser conscientes de nuestra respiración y nuestras palabras. Al vivir plenamente cada situación o sensación podremos verlas desde la perspectiva de un observador, aprendiendo manejarlas y que no nos afecten. Para evaluar tus niveles de ansiedad y pánico, y conocer otras estrategias para neutralizarlas, ¡toma nuestra prueba gratuita!.

Forget Positive Thinking – Try This to Curb Teen Anxiety | Stress Better “I didn’t get invited to Julie’s party… I’m such a loser.” “I missed the bus… nothing ever goes my way.” “My science teacher wants to see me… I must be in trouble.” These are the thoughts of a high school student named James. You wouldn’t know it from his thoughts, but James is actually pretty popular and gets decent grades. Here’s the thing, all kids blow things out of proportion or jump to conclusions at times, but consistently distorting reality is not innocuous. Fortunately, in a few steps, we can teach teens how to fill in their thought holes. We Create Our Own (Often Distorted) Reality One person walks down a busy street and notices graffiti on the wall, dirt on the pavement and a couple fighting. Why don’t we just interpret situations based on all of the information? Shortcuts keep us sane by preventing sensory overload. Eight Common Thought Holes Not only are we susceptible to errors in thinking, but we also tend to make the same errors over and over again.

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