Great study by Sara Lazar, et al., linking the practice of mindfulness meditation with increased thickness in certain cortical areas associated with greater cognitive capacity.
Neuroscientist, Sara Lazar, and her colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital continue to shed light on the positive effects that mindfulness meditation has on the brain. In their paper, Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness, they report that, ‘Our data indicate that regular practice of meditation is associated with increased thickness in a subset of cortical regions related to somatosensory, auditory, visual and interoceptive processing. Further, regular meditation practice may slow age-related thinning of the frontal cortex.”
Regular practice is associated with increased thickness and reduction of age-related decline? Sounds like exercise to me!!
Last November, John Tierney in the New York Times wrote a great piece titled, When the Mind Wanders, Happiness Also Strays. The article, without mentioning it, gave great support for the need to cultivate sustainably strong attention with methods such as mindfulness meditation.
In essence, a mind that wanders easily is open to stray thoughts, much like a wound is open to infection. The focused mind, however, is completely engaged with what one is doing, ie. fully present, and, in a sense, effectively guarded from intrusively negative thoughts that might dampen one’s mood.
Always inspiring to see the social sciences supporting the motivation for mindfulness.
Dan Ariely, of Duke University, is one of the leading behavioral economists at work today. His books and talks reveal humbling insights about the limits of our rationality. In the video below, “Are we in control of our decisions?”, Ariely explores the theme of perceptual illusions. Similar to optical illusions, perceptual illusions cloud our ability see a situation clearly, ultimately leading us towards unwise outcomes. If we care about the quality of our long-term decisions,it seems prudent to take into consideration these decision-influencing factors.