More info on neuroplasticity — a reader favorite topic on this blog

Essentially every good habit you have will help rewire your brain for health!

From Medical Express:

Practices like physical exercise, certain forms of psychological counseling and meditation can all change brains for the better, and these changes can be measured with the tools of modern neuroscience, according to a review article now online at Nature Neuroscience.

The study reflects a major transition in the focus of neuroscience from disease to well being, says first author Richard Davidson, professor of psychology at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The brain is constantly changing in response to environmental factors, he says, and the article “reflects one of the first efforts to apply this conceptual framework to techniques to enhance qualities that we have not thought of as skills, like well-being. Modern neuroscience research leads to the inevitable conclusion that we can actually enhance well-being by training that induces neuroplastic changes in the brain.” read more

h/t Namaste Consulting Inc.

Another recent article here, featuring the same researcher: Training the Emotional Brain
An Interview with Richard J. Davidson:

One definition of the word “meditation’ in Sanskrit is “familiarization.” And in a key sense the family of mental practices that constitute meditation can be thought of as strategies to familiarize a person with her own mind. Meditation in this sense can help to cleanse the interior lenses of perception so that we can see our own minds with greater clarity. Particularly for those who are students of the mind, this practice can be enormously informative in providing an inner or phenomenological view that is different from that provided by the objective methods of science. In other senses, meditation refers to mental practices that can be used to cultivate attention and emotion regulation. For example, some practices involve focusing attention on breathing and returning the attention to breathing each time a person notices that her mind has wandered. In this way, gradually over time, selective attention can be improved. The term “mindfulness meditation” refers to a form of meditation during which practitioners are instructed to pay attention, on purpose and non-judgmentally. The process of learning to attend nonjudgmentally can gradually transform one’s emotional response to stimuli such that we can learn to simply observe our minds in response to stimuli that might provoke either negative or positive emotion without being swept up in these emotions. This does not mean that our emotional intensity diminishes. It simply means that our emotions do not perseverate. If we encounter an unpleasant situation, we might experience a transient increase in negative emotions but they do not persist beyond the situation.

Scientific research has now established that certain forms of meditation have the types of effects described and underscore their relevance for understanding the human mind. Such work establishes that the mind is more “plastic” than we had assumed in scientific research. By plastic we mean that it is capable of transformation. These findings invite the view that many qualities that we regarded as relatively fixed, such as one’s levels of happiness and well-being, are best regarded as the product of skills that can be enhanced through training. more here

This is the book that Richard Davidson is being interviewed about: The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live–and How You Can Change Them

There are enormous implications here for anyone who has ever been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness. We can change and heal our minds and brains and we need not do it in detrimental fashion with neurotoxic medications.

There is  an extensive list of posts from the archives that deal with neuroplasticity on Beyond Meds now. It is the inherent ability for our brains (and bodies) to heal and become resilient.  See: Neuroplasticity

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters