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Domingo, 17 / 11 / 19

Neuroscience Reveals How A 50-Year-Old Can Have The Brain Of A 25-Year-Old

Authored By Arjun Walia.

collective-evolution.com

Posted November 16, 2019 by Derek Knauss.

 
.

 

 

Science is revealing various mindfulness techniques that can literally change and restructure our brain. Neuroscientist Sara Lazar from Mass General and Harvard Medical School is one of the latest to illustrate this. After she sustained running injuries, she took up yoga. It had a tremendous effect on her, which inspired her to start researching the scientific literature that’s available on mindfulness meditation, which is one of the categories into which yoga falls into.
“The yoga teacher made all sorts of claims, that yoga would increase your compassion and open your heart,” said Lazar. “And I’d think, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m here to stretch.’ But I started noticing that I was calmer. I was better able to handle more difficult situations. I was more compassionate and open hearted, and able to see things from others’ points of view.”
In her research, she found a plethora of evidence showing that meditation can decrease stress,  depression, anxiety, and pain as well as increase one’s quality of life, among other things.
Obviously she was very curious at this point, and being a neuroscientist, she started doing her own research to find out what effect meditation could have on the brain.
In her first study, titled “Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness,” she found exactly that.Her research showed that meditation could spark structural changes “in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive and emotional processing. The data further suggest that meditation may impact age related declines in cortical structure.” (source)
That particular study used long-term meditators who had at least 7 years of experience with the practice compared to a control group with no experience. People with a strong meditation background had increased gray matter in several areas of the brain, including the auditory and sensory cortex as well as insula and sensory regions. An increase in gray matter was also found in the brain region linked to decision making and working memory, which would be the frontal cortex.
What’s interesting here is that the frontal cortex shrinks as we age, but in this particular study, the 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter as those half their age. How astonishing is that?
Lazar and her team of researchers went on to publish a second study titled “Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density.” (source)
This study demonstrates longitudinal changes in brain gray matter concentration following an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course compared to a control group. Hypothesized increases in gray matter concentration within the left hippocampus were confirmed. Exploratory whole brain analyses identified significant increases in gray matter concentration in the PCC, TPJ, and the cerebellum.
After just eight weeks of meditation, people’s brains changed in multiple ways. One was thickening in several regions of the brain, including the left hippocampus (involved in learning, memory, and emotional regulation); the TPJ (involved in empathy and the ability to take multiple perspectives); and a part of the brainstem called the pons (where regulatory neurotransmitters are generated).
What’s also interesting to note is that, in this study, new mediators experienced a shrinking of their amygdala,  a region of the brain associated with fear, anxiety, and aggression. This reduction in size of the amygdala correlated to reduced stress levels in these particular participants.
This type of discovery is nothing new. Since Lazar’s study, and even before it, a lot of research has been published.
One of the most recent studies found that different types of meditation can actually effect different areas of the brain.
As Alice G. Walton, a writer for Forbes, points out,
“Meditation and mindfulness training have accumulated some impressive evidence, suggesting that the practices can change not only the structure and function of the brain, but also our behaviour and moment-to-moment experience.”
This recent study found the same thing, and the following describes what they discovered when they scanned the participants’ brains at the end of each module and then compared the groups against one another:
“Training in Presence was linked to enhanced thickness in the anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which are known to be strongly involved in attention. Affect training was linked to increased thickness in regions known to be involved in socially driven emotions like empathy: and Perspective training associated with changes in areas involved in understanding the mental states of others, and, interestingly, inhibiting the perspective of oneself.”
These results further elaborate on a wealth of previous studies showing what meditation can do to the brain.
Walton goes on to emphasize,
“Lots of research has found that experienced meditators have significantly altered brain structure and function, but a growing number of studies has also found that relatively brief meditation training in novices (for instance, the well-known eight-week MBSR program) can also shift brain function, improve well-being, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.”

The Takeaway

Mediation clearly has health benefits for the brain, among other parts of the body. Not only can it be used to improve your brain, decrease anxiety, depression, fear, etc., but it’s a great way to increase empathy and feel love and compassion as well. These are qualities the world needs more of, so perhaps the world needs more meditators?
Meditation could be used for interventions in schools and in other places where children and people feel stressed. Furthermore, meditation can be used to reach different states of consciousness, and perhaps even altered states of consciousness.
There is still a lot we are learning about meditation, but one thing is for certain, and that’s the fact that it can help change an individual for the better in several different ways.

 



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No religious or political creed is advocated here.

Organised religion is unnecessary to spirituality.

Excellent teachings of the masters have been contaminated by the dogmatic control of these religions.

Discernment yes; judgement does not.
If you use discernment you are free to research with an open mind. 

With discernment it is possible to reach the spirit of the letter of any writing and it is also much easier to listen to the voice of the soul that comes from the heart.
Individually you can be helped to find your Truth that is different of everyone. 


Please respect all credits.

 
Discernment is recommended.
 

All articles are of the respective authors and/or publishers responsibility. 


 

 

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publicado por achama às 20:54
Domingo, 03 / 11 / 19

The Psychology of Nostalgia: Why Do We Feel a Longing for the Past?

Lottie Miles.

learning-mind.com

November 3rd, 2019.

 
psychology of nostalgia.

 

 
Should we dwell on the past? Until recently, psychologists would likely have argued not to. However, longing for the past, otherwise known as nostalgia, is now gaining recognition as a useful tool for people fighting anxiety and depression. As a result, nostalgia is a growing focus of global inquiry and research in psychology.
 
In this post, we will look at what nostalgia is, what causes nostalgia, and what some of the psychological benefits of nostalgia, and potential pitfalls, can be.
 
What is nostalgia?
 
“A feeling of sadness mixed with pleasure and affection when you think of happy times in the past” (Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries)
 
Coined by a 17th Century Swiss military doctor, the word itself is rooted in the Greek words nostos (meaning longing for a return home) and algos (the pain linked to this longing).
 
Similarly, in “Nostalgia: A Neuropsychiatric Understanding”, nostalgia psychologist Alan Hirsch links nostalgia to a yearning for the past. However, the past longed for is an idealized version of itself, with positive emotions existing in your memory with the accompanying “negative emotions filtered out”.
 
Nevertheless, whilst nostalgia is rooted in a somewhat rose-tinted version of the past, recent studies have shown that nostalgia can offer new perspectives on our present state of being, reminding us of our connectivity with others.
 
Indeed, Hepper et. al.’s study across 18 countries and 5 continents on ‘Pancultural nostalgia’ found nostalgia encouraged feelings of empathy and social connection and even worked as a form of antidote to feelings of loneliness and depression.
 
What causes nostalgia, according to psychology?
 
Whether we are going through tough times, or things are simply changing in our personal lives, memories of simpler times are a common refuge that can provide us solace.
 
Furthermore, research has shown that nostalgia is a common response to change. As such, when we are going through a transition in our lives, be it becoming an adult, reaching retirement age, moving to a new country or even struggling to cope with technological advances, we are driven to nostalgic yearning.
 
Interestingly then, nostalgia is typically caused by negative emotions but typically fosters an improved mood and increases positive emotions. However, this nostalgia comes with a bittersweet taste, since we can only experience the good times intangibly and fleetingly.
 
Moreover, a 1985 psychoanalytic paper on nostalgia found extreme cases of nostalgia could be debilitative due to this search for something that never truly was there.
 
Given this, should we view nostalgia as a malady to overcome or a useful tool to help guide us through turbulent waters?
 
The psychological benefits of nostalgia
 
Researchers into the psychology of nostalgia at the University of Southampton have found that nostalgia can act as a neurological defense system that helps us to overcome negative thoughts or experiences.
 
Nostalgia achieves this as it helps people to achieve a temporary change in how they perceive their current state. This enables them the strength to persevere through hard times. Moreover, by connecting people with their past in their own mind’s eye, it reminds them that their present state of being is temporary.
 
So even if they are feeling isolated in the present, nostalgia reminds them of intimacy they have achieved in the past and reminds them that positive times can lie ahead and that they are not alone.
 
Nostalgia also has benefits for the wider community, with people in nostalgic states having been found in the same study to be more likely to demonstrate altruistic traits and commit to volunteering.
 
Similarly, children who have been encouraged to think about the past more, making them more prone to feelings of nostalgia, were found to be less likely to demonstrate selfish traits.
 
Nostalgia has also been shown to have physiological as well as psychological effects. For example, Zhou et al.’s 2012 study on the psychology of nostalgia found that participants in their study who were left in a cold room were more likely to experience nostalgia.
 
Moreover, they found that those experiencing nostalgia perceived the ambient temperature to be higher and could tolerate colder conditions than participants not reporting feelings of nostalgia.
 
The great news is, a single positive memory last’s a lifetime so even for those with troubled pasts, nostalgia can be a useful psychological tool to draw upon to help people navigate troublesome waters.
 
A cautionary note
 
As already alluded to, nostalgia was previously seen as a malady rather than a potentially useful tool to fight against depression. Indeed, if we allow ourselves to retreat too much into the romanticized past we have created for ourselves, then it can have negative implications.
 
This relates to something Barbara B. Stern termed ‘Historical Nostalgia’, or the desire to escape from the present into an unreachable, imaginary, and idealized past. Therefore, it is important to take care to not rely too heavily on nostalgia as the major benefits are felt in its transitory effects.
 
Nostalgia can be a useful tool to help us overcome challenges in our lives, help us feel connected to others when we are feeling isolated or alone, and even foster improved connections with our community.
 
So next time you feel wistful about the past, enjoy it and let this natural response to life’s changes give you hope for a brighter tomorrow.
 
References:
 
Lottie Miles
 
 



 
About the Author: Lottie Miles


 
Lottie Miles is a professional researcher and writer with a passion for human rights. She has 4 years of experience working within the NGO sector and has a Masters Degree in Social Policy. She has a keen interest in exploring ways in which happiness habits can help to improve mental health and wellbeing. In her spare time, she likes doing crossword puzzles, painting and traveling.
 
Copyright © 2012-2019 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.
 



Compiled by http://violetflame.biz.ly from: 
 
Archives:



No religious or political creed is advocated here.

Organised religion is unnecessary to spirituality.

Excellent teachings of the masters have been contaminated by the dogmatic control of these religions.

Discernment yes; judgement does not.
If you use discernment you are free to research with an open mind. 

With discernment it is possible to reach the spirit of the letter of any writing and it is also much easier to listen to the voice of the soul that comes from the heart.
Individually you can be helped to find your Truth that is different of everyone. 


Please respect all credits.

 
Discernment is recommended.
 

All articles are of the respective authors and/or publishers responsibility. 


 

 

Like this! please bookmark. It is updated daily

 


 
 
 
Free counters!

  geoglobe1
 
 
publicado por achama às 21:50
A Luz está a revelar a Verdade, e esta libertar-nos-á! -Só é real o AMOR Incondicional. -Quando o Amor superar o amor pelo poder, o mundo conhecerá a Paz; Jimi Hendrix. -Somos almas a ter uma experiência humana!

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