Information on this page & website is not medical advice and is intended for a Canadian audience. For medical advice speak to your physician.

 

NEUROSCIENCE

Mindfulness and the Brain

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"FLIP YOUR LID"

Dan Seigel's Hand Model of the Brain

Dan Seigel demonstrates a simple model of the brain (using his own hand to represent parts of the brain) and explains that when we "flip our lids" we are not accessing the prefrontal cortex (e.g. logic, empathy, mood regulation) but rather operating from a fight/flight response (amygdala, limbic system).

 

THE SCIENCE OF MINDFULNESS

What is the evidence?

Regular mindfulness and meditation practice can change the quality of your life, and also the structure and function of your brain.
This underlines the value of establishing a daily mindfulness & meditation practice.
Find more resources on this website to get started, or attend a group session or training course.

BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS

Research showing the benefits of mindfulness

WHAT COMPASSION DOES TO THE BRAIN

The Dalai Lama challenges neuroscientist

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION CHANGES THE BRAIN

Increased density of grey matter in key areas

MEDITATION CHANGES THE BRAIN

Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar studies brain changes related to meditation.

CHANGES BLOOD FLOW IN THE BRAIN

Increased blood flow to prefrontal cortex and insula

INCREASED BLOOD FLOW IN THE HEART

Meditation reversed coronary disease as assessed by PET scan (JourNucCardiol2019)

AMYGDALA & MINDFULNESS

Significant differences in amygdala with mindful disposition. Also good review of other brain changes.

REDUCED AMYGDALA ACTIVATION

After 8 weeks of mindfulness training, fMRI shows reduced activation in the amygdala (structure related to fight/flight)

 

FUNCTIONAL MRI

Gaele Desborde's work showing reduced activation in the amygdala after 8 weeks of mindfulness training. (Image published in The Harvard Gazette.)

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