The burgeoning field of mindfulness, neuroscience and psychotherapy just never gets old to me. I am on a panel with Chris Germer, PhD, author and leader in the field of self-compassion and Ruth Buczynski, Ph.D., president of the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM) talking about a recent series that explored the question, how do we truly make mindfulness work in our lives?
The series includes Dan Siegel, Jack Kornfield, Ram Dass, Marsha Linehan, Tara Brach, and Joan Halifax on how it can not only reduce stress, but help with a variety of areas of life including our relationships. 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. We start to learn how self-compassion actually works and the freedom from recognizing our common humanity.
The actual heart and 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 and sometimes knowing the science behind it can step us into a place of awareness, release the shame and open us up to possibility.
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.
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 for the better .
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Brain processes image available from Shutterstock.
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Last reviewed: 11 Oct 2013