I enjoyed this short clip from evolutionary psychologist Robert Wright explaining what happens inside your brain when you sit to meditate and how it can change your perception of the outside world. Wright is the author of “Why Buddhism is True.”
Many studies have been completed and more are in the works. After reading through some of these studies I’m pleased to see they are recognizing that the skill level of the meditator has a large effect.
Check out this study titled, Cognitive-Affective Neural Plasticity following Active-Controlled Mindfulness Intervention.
A primary finding of the present investigation is our observation of differential improvements depending on individual differences in practice adherence. Here we observed that while a brief (6 week) mindfulness intervention provides overall benefits for cognitive control and executive neural processing, alterations at the level of affective processing occurred only in those participants with the greatest level of mindfulness practice. This has possible implications for the understanding and optimal application of MT in clinical settings. Given our finding that alterations in frontoinsular response to emotional stimuli occurred only in those participants with the most practice, application of MT in contexts where training bottom-up affective-somatic processes are a central aim (for example, in sexual affective disorder) may require a more extensive application of MT, perhaps centered on explicit compassion practice (Silverstein et al., 2011). In contrast, treatment effects on DLPFC activity observed here may support the role of brief MT interventions targeting focused attention in, for example, posttraumatic stress disorder, where hypoactivation of DLPFC during the AS task processing has been reported previously (Blair et al., 2012). A one-size-fits-all approach is therefore not likely to lead to the optimal application of MT.
Our results show that MT is an effective attention-training regime with cascading benefits in cognitive control and affective processing. By controlling for motivation and social support, we found evidence that the constellation of mindfulness practices have particular roles to play in neuroplasticity and mental training. These findings suggest that applications of MT aimed at training attention may benefit from brief intervention, whereas alterations in affective processes require a more substantial commitment of time and motivation.
Cognitive-Affective Neural Plasticity following Active-Controlled Mindfulness Intervention
J. Neurosci. 2012 32 (44) 15601-15610
Well that has me motivated to go sit! Thank you for reading and make it a great moment.
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