How meditating may help your brain

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How meditating may help your brain

How meditating may help your brain

 

When you're under pressure from work and family and the emails don't stop coming, it's hard to stop your mind from jumping all over the place.

But scientists are finding that it may be worth it to train your brain to focus on something as simple as your breath, which is part of mindfulness meditation.

A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the latest in a hot emerging field of research examining how meditation relates to the brain. It shows that people who are experienced meditators show less activity in the brain's default mode network, when the brain is not engaged in focused thought.

The default mode network is associated with introspection and mind wandering. Typically, drifting thoughts tend to focus on negative subjects, creating more stress and anxiety. It has also been linked to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers looked at experienced meditators and trained novices. There were 12 in the "experienced" category, with an average of more than 10,000 hours of mindfulness meditation experience (Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" suggests that it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert at something), and 12 healthy volunteers who were novices in meditation.

Each volunteer was instructed to engage in three types of meditation: concentration (attention to the breath), love-kindness (wishing beings well) and choiceless awareness (focus on whatever comes up). Scientists looked at their brain activity during these meditations with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Across all of these types of meditation, the experienced meditators showed less activity in the default mode network than in the novices. The experienced participants also reported less mind wandering than the novices. Interestingly, experienced meditators also showed increased connectivity between certain brain networks during meditation and non-meditation.

"It doesn't matter what they're doing, they have an altered default mode network," said Dr. Judson Brewer, medical director of the Yale University Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic and lead author of the study. "We were pretty excited about that, because it suggests that these guys are paying attention a lot more."

--

Score one for Eastern Religions Eye-wink

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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That's interesting

 

 

I could use the ability to concentrate on writing boring electronics articles instead of bouncing over here every 10 minutes looking for giddy entertainments...

10,000 hours of mindfulness meditation. FFS. Given the demands of ordinary life, that's decades of homming, surely. 

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May have made it easier for

May have made it easier for the highly Buddhist population of Cambodia to switch off the outside world, and let Pol Pot wreak his havoc with less opposition....

I'm sure that's not the only way to achieve the benefits of such practices, and Sam Harris has been looking into the apparent benefits of Eastern mental disciplines for some time. He would agree that there seems to be something there, which it should be possible to empirically study, and maybe develop enhanced and more targeted techniques.

 

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BobSpence wrote:I'm sure

BobSpence wrote:

I'm sure that's not the only way to achieve the benefits of such practices...

It's not.

I share a lot in common with Sam Harris. I've done the TM, the Tai Chi, for years when I was younger and dabbling in spiritual stuff. Even did sensory deprivation tanks dozens of times; both on drugs and straight as a nun.

My wife is into yoga, and we do 'Couples Yoga' from time to time.

Here's what I've learned:

Breathing is important. Most people are shallow breathers. Babies are not. Neither are we when we sleep. We breathe from the abdomen then.

Muscle relaxation and stretching is very important. I learned about both that and breathing in music kinesiology during some Masterclass workshops in classical music.

 

Quiet time, is very important. We need it.

I demand quite time. It's not up for negotiation.

You can always find it, or a close approximation; even if it's a private bathroom where you can go and retreat from being engaged by others.

 

The average adult can adjust their busy lives enough to get the majority of the mental and emotional benefits of 'full on' meditation.

Some quiet time to unplug from others, a glass of wine, a good book, a relaxing hobby, music, art etc...

 

Why do people think some men love fishing?

Because of the fish?...

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

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redneF wrote:BobSpence

redneF wrote:

BobSpence wrote:

I'm sure that's not the only way to achieve the benefits of such practices...

It's not.

I share a lot in common with Sam Harris. I've done the TM, the Tai Chi, for years when I was younger and dabbling in spiritual stuff. Even did sensory deprivation tanks dozens of times; both on drugs and straight as a nun.

My wife is into yoga, and we do 'Couples Yoga' from time to time.

Here's what I've learned:

Breathing is important. Most people are shallow breathers. Babies are not. Neither are we when we sleep. We breathe from the abdomen then.

Muscle relaxation and stretching is very important. I learned about both that and breathing in music kinesiology during some Masterclass workshops in classical music.

 

Quiet time, is very important. We need it.

I demand quite time. It's not up for negotiation.

You can always find it, or a close approximation; even if it's a private bathroom where you can go and retreat from being engaged by others.

 

The average adult can adjust their busy lives enough to get the majority of the mental and emotional benefits of 'full on' meditation.

Some quiet time to unplug from others, a glass of wine, a good book, a relaxing hobby, music, art etc...

 

Why do people think some men love fishing?

Because of the fish?...

 

 


I like it! Not what you and your wife do, but I like the concept of it. 

My blog post and bibles for porn covers (I think) similar waters. edit; I used ragdish's remarks and an idiot posting on subforums he shouldn't be as the basis for my blogpost. Everyone else can ignore it.

 

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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redneF wrote:Quiet time, is

redneF wrote:

Quiet time, is very important. We need it.

I demand quite time. It's not up for negotiation.

You can always find it, or a close approximation; even if it's a private bathroom where you can go and retreat from being engaged by others.

 

You can also find it in-the-moment.  Stop, Be, Clear Your Brain.

I'm a very strong "intuiter" (lots of "N" on a Myers-Briggs ...) and used to teach various forms of creativity-as-a-process and out-of-the-box thinking.  My problem has been that training the mind to think out-of-the-box means the mind has also be trained to wander all over the damn place.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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BobSpence wrote:May have

BobSpence wrote:

May have made it easier for the highly Buddhist population of Cambodia to switch off the outside world, and let Pol Pot wreak his havoc with less opposition....

Pol Pot would have had a field day in many countries.  The Chinese are nominally atheists and Mao pulled the same "send the intelligensia to the fields!", which is what I understand were the bulk of the people he murdered.

Quote:
I'm sure that's not the only way to achieve the benefits of such practices, and Sam Harris has been looking into the apparent benefits of Eastern mental disciplines for some time. He would agree that there seems to be something there, which it should be possible to empirically study, and maybe develop enhanced and more targeted techniques.

My earliest studies into meditation weren't within any of the formal Eastern religions, they were from one of those 70's "Get in touch with your inner self!" groups that wanted to get in touch with my inner bank account.

The key ability is learning to clear the brain and let all the chatter pass through without engaging it.  That ability is worth the price of admission.  The rest of mediation, and other mental disciplines, are great, but being able to turn off the internal conversation and re-take control of your thoughts -- priceless.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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I have no issues with

I have no issues with meditation and I practice it regularly.  The fact that taking a thinking "break" has benefits shouldn't be mystical or involve any Woo.  It is the more complex equivalent of sitting down.  If you do not do it, you are exhausted and your ability to perform anything declines.  I try to aim for 5 to 10 minutes of mental stillness every day.  

 

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I have no issues with

Duplicate


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BobSpence wrote:May have

BobSpence wrote:

May have made it easier for the highly Buddhist population of Cambodia to switch off the outside world, and let Pol Pot wreak his havoc with less opposition....

I'm sure that's not the only way to achieve the benefits of such practices, and Sam Harris has been looking into the apparent benefits of Eastern mental disciplines for some time. He would agree that there seems to be something there, which it should be possible to empirically study, and maybe develop enhanced and more targeted techniques.

 

If Sam would simply call it "Mind over body disciplines" or "Eastern mental disciplines" I would have more respect for him. But even Victor Stinger blasted his incorporating Buddhism.

Basically whatever the people in that area have caught onto that there "may be something to it" does not make the label "Buddhism" credible. Anymore than the Egyptians owned the rights to triangles because they built pyramids, nor would it make the sun a god.

Buddhism carries the same superstitious incantations as any other religion. I am quite sure whatever tricks they have taught themselves throughout their eras, if given the chance many outside that region and many not holding that label, could learn to teach their bodies to endure the same types of things. So it is the study of the limits and stretching the limits of the human body that makes sense, the label is irrelevant.

Henry Ford invented the Model T, but he was not the first to use a wheel. Buddhists may simply have a monopoly on tricks they train themselves to endure, much like a magician wont tell you how the woman is sawed in half. But in both cases, whatever the reality, natural answers are the cause, and the labels have nothing to do with the study of "why" something happens or "how" it happens.

So every time Sam brings up Buddhism or spirituality he give me a severe lip twitch. Woo is woo, no matter who doth spew.

And Bob, spare me, you knew darned well I would respond to anything regarding Sam, much like I torture you with the Redskins. It's like a fish in water. I do it in my sleep.

YOU YOU YOU YOU, you you.........So there!

 

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The same issue, from the

The same issue, from the opposite side, shows up whenever some variety of theist gets involved with an Eastern philosophy that includes religious overtones.  The usual approach is "don't do those things".

Mediation is just meditation.  Don't let the "Woo" factor keep you from doing it.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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           Bio

           Bio feed back.  No woo needed.


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meditation has nothing to do with religion

 It has nothing to do with religion or what sect you belong... Just do it if you feel the need and benefit of it so.   


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Squady wrote: It has

Squady wrote:

 It has nothing to do with religion or what sect you belong... Just do it if you feel the need and benefit of it so.   

Ok, if that works, and no religion is needed, then why should "prayer" be any different? Prayer is merely a mythological word used to make excuses to talk to yourself.

Mind you, before you go off on me. I am talking about ALL prayer, be it the polytheists praying to a volcano god, or the modern monotheism today. M-kay.......merely a issue of logic, not hate. Simply suggesting that if the prayer to other gods makes no sense to you, then try adding your own claim to that reasoning.

At least using the word "meditation" you are stripping it of magical woo and accepting it as merely cognitively trying to control mind and body to calm oneself. Prayer is pretending to talk to fictional super heros that don't exist.

I don't meditate. I use beer and cigs and Redskins to shout at to release my stress. I'll die from a heart attack I am sure. I do wish however, my parents had done a better job kicking my ass when they caught me smoking. It really is an addiction.

And as an aside, one of my early thoughts of skepticism as a Catholic kid, was when I saw THE PRIEST of our Church smoking after the service. I thought "what happened to your body being a temple"? I look back at my childhood and really didn't realize that I had been a skeptic all my life. But because of my parents and society it never got fostered until my adulthood because "faith" was not something you questioned.

 

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Brian37 wrote:I don't

Brian37 wrote:

I don't meditate. I use beer and cigs and Redskins to shout at to release my stress.

Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol.  Three great drugs that go great together.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


Brian37
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FurryCatHerder wrote:Brian37

FurryCatHerder wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

I don't meditate. I use beer and cigs and Redskins to shout at to release my stress.

Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol.  Three great drugs that go great together.

Oh and for the kiddies reading this, smoking bad, I was too stupid to stop and now I am addicted. Booze? You don't need tickets or jailtime, wait till your 21 and even then don't drink and drive.

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Brian37 wrote:FurryCatHerder

Brian37 wrote:

FurryCatHerder wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

I don't meditate. I use beer and cigs and Redskins to shout at to release my stress.

Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol.  Three great drugs that go great together.

Oh and for the kiddies reading this, smoking bad, I was too stupid to stop and now I am addicted. Booze? You don't need tickets or jailtime, wait till your 21 and even then don't drink and drive.

I had a friend many years ago who was a former sex worker.  She said that quitting heroin was easier than quitting cigarettes.

The trick to quitting smoking is understanding what it does to you and why.  The really evil thing about nicotine is that as your body gets rid of it, the blood vessels inside your skull expand.  This causes a massive headache due to having more cerebro-spinal (sp) fluid than room for it.  But here's the trick -- all that fluid will go away in a couple of days, as it works its way out of your skull.

Then you're mostly done.  Nicotine is completely gone from the blood stream in something like 24 hours.  The majority of the habit is ... the habit.

The other thing about nicotine is that it upsets the dopamine / seratonin balance and can cause depression for a brief period after you quit until the balance restores itself.  That's why anti-depressants (Welbutrin ...) work.

Whenever I've quit, I stopped around noon on a Friday and just put up with being miserable for the weekend.

Then I get stupid and start again.

NEVER START SMOKING!  EVER!

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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FurryCatHerder wrote:The

FurryCatHerder wrote:


The other thing about nicotine is that it upsets the dopamine / seratonin balance and can cause depression for a brief period after you quit until the balance restores itself.  That's why anti-depressants (Welbutrin ...) work.

Factoid of which you may already be aware is that Wellbutrin is also marketed as the anti smoking drug Zyban.

www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/misanthropy

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ProzacDeathWish

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

FurryCatHerder wrote:

The other thing about nicotine is that it upsets the dopamine / seratonin balance and can cause depression for a brief period after you quit until the balance restores itself.  That's why anti-depressants (Welbutrin ...) work.

Factoid of which you may already be aware is that Wellbutrin is also marketed as the anti smoking drug Zyban.

Yup -- there are a lot of drugs that are re-purposed when the dose is either increased or decreased.

Sominex is the same chemical as some allergy med.  Back when I was still taking drugs to deal with allergies (Now I ask Jesus to make them all go away.  J/K!), I couldn't figure out why Benadryl kept making me want to go to sleep.  It's the same damned chemical!  No wonder I couldn't stay awake when I was taking it -- I was taking a freakin' sleeping pill!

Bastards.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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FurryCatHerder

FurryCatHerder wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

FurryCatHerder wrote:

The other thing about nicotine is that it upsets the dopamine / seratonin balance and can cause depression for a brief period after you quit until the balance restores itself.  That's why anti-depressants (Welbutrin ...) work.

Factoid of which you may already be aware is that Wellbutrin is also marketed as the anti smoking drug Zyban.

Yup -- there are a lot of drugs that are re-purposed when the dose is either increased or decreased.

Sominex is the same chemical as some allergy med.  Back when I was still taking drugs to deal with allergies (Now I ask Jesus to make them all go away.  J/K!), I couldn't figure out why Benadryl kept making me want to go to sleep.  It's the same damned chemical!  No wonder I couldn't stay awake when I was taking it -- I was taking a freakin' sleeping pill!

Bastards.

Now I know drugs either increased or decreased are re-purposed. I wonder what's a more potent and increased purpose of viagra. 


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Squady wrote:Now I know

Squady wrote:

Now I know drugs either increased or decreased are re-purposed. I wonder what's a more potent and increased purpose of viagra. 

Death By Snu-Snu.

(Obscure Futurama reference -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Women_in_the_Mood)

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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I actually do recall there

I actually do recall there was another use for viagra, but can't recall what it was.

For my part, I enjoy smoking. I've quit whenever I wasn't financially stable enough to support it, but I always come back when the money loosens up because I enjoy it. The benefits outweigh the problems for me. Significantly.

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 I must admit that

 I must admit that sometimes prayer alone cannot save you from all your worries and life difficulties.  


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There is

There is a book by Andrew Neuberg called, Why God Won't Go Away.

It talks about the neurological changes that take place in the human brain during such things as meditation, prayer and such. He explains that is one of the reasons that religious people (irregardless of the sect) feel like they are having such a powerful experience during worship,rituals, etc.

The chemical components of the brain that make a person focus on self are blocked during these things and the part of the brain that is stimulated actually gives a person that feeling of oneness.

I disagreed with his theory that religious people live better and more productive lives and pretty much had to skim through the second half of the book, but found the first half fascinating. So fascinating that I had to try it.

I went for a walk, stared up into the sky, and in my mind chanted "neurological stimulation" over and over. Damned if I didn't feel this transcendant connection to everything.

Neuberg's studies involved having people of different faiths meditate or pray under cat scans. It pointed to the shifts and changes in the brain were exactly the same, irregardless of the religion.

So, there are scientific reasons for why meditation helps. It is a question of brain chemistry.

For instance, think about the fact that my "prayer" was not to anything. It was just me repeating a mantra (I deliberately chose a scientific one to prove my point) and it still worked.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno