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