Can Mindfulness Really Rewire the Brain?
The burgeoning field of mindfulness, neuroscience and psychotherapy just never gets old to me. I am on a panel with Ron Siegel, PsyD, author of The Mindfulness Solution and Ruth Buczynski, PhD, president of the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM) talking about a recent series that explored the question, Can Mindfulness Really Rewire the Brain? The series is free to listen to.
The series includes Dan Siegel, Rick Hanson, Tara Brach, Sara Lazar and Ron Siegel on the current state of affairs of mindfulness and neuroscience. The topics included the most current neuroscience research, how we can use it with trauma, chronic pain, depression, shame and even its potential benefits for aging.
The actual science that’s continuing to come out about mindfulness and its neurological benefits is incredibly motivating.
Did you know that mindfulness practice is showing that we can grow the area of our brain that’s responsible for learning and memory (the hippocampus)? So there’ll be less of the, “Honey, did you remember where I put my keys?”
Did you know that mindfulness practice is showing a reduction in the fear center of the brain (amygdala) and an increase in the rational brain (prefrontal cortex), so as you practice you literally rewire a steadier mind?
Did you know that mindfulness practice is being connected to lower depression scores and we can actually see why in the brain? When people practice then spend less time in the brain that is responsible for rumination, all the old stories that keep us stuck and more time in connecting to the area of the brain responsible for sensing the world.
Did you know there are areas of the brain we now know are connected to empathy and compassion and we’re seeing growth in those areas too with mindfulness?
This is real evidence.
Reading it here is one thing, listening to people talk about it is another thing, and sometimes it’s good to hear people talk about it live. I know LifeSpan Learning in Los Angeles is putting on an event on November 5-6, 2011 with one of the leading mindfulness teachers in the west, Jack Kornfield and on one of the leading neuroscientists, Dan Siegel on the intersection of Mindfulness and Neurobiology.
Most of all, why not start bringing into your day right now, we can begin with the STOP practice.
Whether you’ve done it before or not, allow this to be a moment of training your brain.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Photo by John McStravick, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.
Goldstein, E. (2011). Can Mindfulness Really Rewire the Brain?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 18, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2011/10/can-mindfulness-really-rewire-the-brain/