Posts Tagged ‘Neuroscience’

When you were young part two, 2,

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From Neurodharma by Rick Hanson

So, like every young child, you needed external sources of soothing, comfort, and care. But early childhood is also a time when most parents are stressed and many are poorly supported and sometimes depressed.

And the hour-after-hour, day-after day events of your first few years were happening while your nervous system was especially vulnerable, and while the foundational layers of your psyche were being laid down.

The feelings, sensations, and longings in your younger experience were internalized into implicit memory stores but disconnected from explicit recollections of the situation in which they occurred. Today this buried material lives on.

And it can be activated by the type of cues that were also present way back then, such as feeling unheard, unseen or uncared for. In later childhood and then adulthood, something similar can occur during traumatic experiences.

The painful residues of events can get caught in the nets of emotional memory, but without context and perspective. The conscious mind may forget, but as Babette Rothschild wrote, the body remembers.

Suffering sinks deep. Thinking that mindfulness and meditation alone will remove buried material can lead to what John Welwood called spiritual bypass—and a failure to accomplaish the task of understanding suffering, including its deepest remains.

That material is embedded in physical memory systems designed to hold on to their contents.

To uncover and release it takes focused effort that certainly draws on mindfulnessa and self-compassion—-a steady mind and a warm heart–but also specific skillful means as appropriate. These include different kinds of psychotherapy and self-help practices.

There are good methods for bringing light down into the basement of the mind, and if we are to understand suffering fully, it is alright to use them.

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Neurodharma by Rick Hanson

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“Neurodharma is rare book, perhaps the most stunning marriage of ancient wisdom and modern science ever written. Only Rick Hanson could weave impeccable scholarship of core Buddhism texts together with the latest neuroscience to reveal an exciting, practical, and accessible path to human happiness that anyone can follow. The Dalai Lama once told me that he loves neuroscience, but that western psychology is still in kindergarten. With this brilliant synthesis psychology just took a giant leap forward.

Joan Z. Borysenko, PhD.author of “Minding the Body, Mending the Brain”

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“This is an ambitious book, and only a few people in the world could attempt it. Rick Hanson is one of them. A brilliant and practical synthesis of wisdom and science, a must-read for anyone who is interested in deep personal growth or making this a better world, which hopefully is everyone.”

Shawn Achor, Happiness Researcher and New York Times best selling author of “Big Potential”

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“Rick Hanson’s brilliance is the capacity to offer practical, powerful, scientifically grounded practices that lead to true happiness and a loving heart. This is an illuminating and transformational book.”

Tara Bach, PhD., author of Radical Acceptance and Radical Compassion

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There are 7 plus pages of praise in the beginning of this book just like these three. Hanson’s first book “Buddha’s Brain helped me heal, changed my life.

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If boredom is an issue, you are not using the mind properly!

tianya1223: Pixabay

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From the book Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Rick Hanson.

“The brain is the primary mover and shaper of the mind.

It’s so busy that, even though it’s only 2 percent of the body’s weight, it uses 20–25 percent of its oxygen and glucose.

Like a refrigerator, it’s always humming away, performing its functions; consequently, it uses about the same amount of energy whether you’re deep asleep or thinking hard.

The number of possible combinations of 100 billion neurons firing or not is approximately 10 to the millionth power, or 1 followed by a million zeros, in principle; this is the number of possible states of your brain.”

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My two cents: “1 followed by a million zeros”, possible states of our brain.

To me, it seems imperative we keep our minds focused, calm, aware.

That means the mind performs best going slow, focused, aware of where it is directing the mind or just being in the moment.

All those opportunities could be such a distraction, confusing, tiring, emotionally unnerving.

Be the captain of your mind, keep your ship calm and focused.
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Neuroscientists Have Followed a Thought as It Moves Through The Brain

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We didn’t think it was possible.
MIKE MCRAE 18 JAN 2018

 

A study using epilepsy patients undergoing surgery has given neuroscientists an opportunity to track in unprecedented detail the movement of a thought through the human brain, all the way from inspiration to response.

 

The findings confirm the role of the prefrontal cortex as the coordinator of complex interactions between different regions, linking our perception with action and serving as what can be considered the “glue of cognition”.

Previous efforts to measure the passing of information from one area to the other have relied on processes such as electroencephalography (EEG) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which, whilenon-invasive, offer less than perfect resolution.

The study led by researchers from the University of California, Berkley, recorded the electrical activity of neurons using a precise technique called electrocorticograhy (ECoG).

This required hundreds of tiny electrodes to be placed right up against the cortex, providing more spatial detail than EEG and improving the resolution in time of fMRI.

While this poses an unethical level of risk for your average volunteer, patients undergoing surgery for epilepsy have their brain activity monitored in this very way, giving the researchers a perfect chance to conduct a few tests.

Each of the 16 test subjects performed a number of tasks varied to suit their individual arrangement of electrodes, all while having their neural activity monitored and tracked.

Participants were required to listen to a stimulus and respond, or watch images of faces or animals on a screen and asked to perform an action.

Some tasks were more complex than others; for example, a simple action involved simply repeating a word, while a more complex version was to think of its antonym.

Researchers monitored the split-second movement of electrical activity from one area – such as areas associated with interpreting auditory stimuli – to the prefrontal cortex, to areas required to shape an action, such as the motor cortex.

 

While none of this threw up any surprises, the results clearly emphasised the role of the prefrontal cortex in directing activity.

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Davidson: — six dimensions!!!!

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Emotional Style comprises six dimensions. Neither conventional aspects of personality nor simple emotional traits or moods, let alone diagnostic criteria for mental illness, these six dimensions reflect the discoveries of modern neuroscientific research:
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-Resilience:
how slowly or quickly you recover from adversity.
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-Outlook:
how long you are able to sustain positive emotion.
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-Social Intuition:
how adept you are at picking up social signals from the people around you.
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-Self-Awareness:
how well you perceive bodily feelings that reflect emotions.
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-Sensitivity to Context:
how good you are at regulating your emotional responses to take into account the context you find yourself in.
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-Attention:
how sharp and clear your focus is.
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The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, andLive–and How You Can Change Them by Richard J. Davidson

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You know it’s a good book when you start highlighting the introduction.
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“The smallest, most fleeting unit of emotion is an emotional state.
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Typically lasting only a few seconds, it tends to be triggered by an experience—the spike of joy you feel at the macaroni collage your child made you for Mother’s Day, the sense of accomplishment you feel upon finishing a big project at work, the anger you feel over having to work all three days of a holiday weekend, the sadness you feel when your child is the only one in her class not invited to a party.
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Emotional states can also arise from purely mental activity, such as daydreaming, or introspection, or anticipating the future.
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But whether they are triggered by real-world experiences or mental ones, emotional states tend to dissipate, each giving way to the next?
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